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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Coxsackie Woman Sentenced to Probation for Benefits Fraud

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Colleen J. McCarten, age 43, of Coxsackie, New York, was sentenced today to serve 3 years of probation after a jury found her guilty in October of fraudulently obtaining federal and state disability benefits.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Edward J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge for the Social Security Administration ("SSA") Office of the Inspector General.

On October 16, 2015, following a two-week trial, a jury found McCarten and co-defendant John W. Caltabiano, Jr. guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, five counts of mail fraud, and theft of government property.

Between April 2008 and October 2010, Caltabiano and McCarten conspired to steal Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation benefits by falsely representing to the SSA, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, and Travelers Insurance that an on-the-job injury had left Caltabiano almost completely blind. The evidence at trial established that McCarten guided Caltabiano into medical examinations and Workers’ Compensation hearings as if he could not see. She also completed and submitted forms claiming that he could not drive, or manage his own money or move without assistance. Finally, she collected Social Security benefit payments on his behalf.

As demonstrated in videos taken during the investigation and presented at trial, Caltabiano was able to drive, shop, go to the gym, and otherwise move about without the assistance that a blind person would need. McCarten knew Caltabiano was not blind because videos showed her accompanying Caltabiano during some of these outings.

U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also sentenced McCarten to pay $27,784 in restitution to the SSA.

On April 15, Judge D’Agostino sentenced Caltabiano, age 49, of Catskill, New York, to serve 57 months in prison and 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release, and to pay $27,784 in restitution to the SSA.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Coffman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason W. White.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated April 21, 2016