Today’s news:

Manager at LIRR’s Hillside Facility in Hollis arrested in pension scandal

A Long Island Rail Road official who worked in Hollis has been arrested and charged in an investigation into whether some LIRR employees retired on questionable federal disability pensions.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office said Frederic Kreuder was arrested by agents of Cuomo’s office at Kreuder’s home in Bellmore, L.I., early Monday.

The attorney general’s office said Kreuder was charged with receiving reward for official misconduct and one count of official misconduct before Queens Criminal Court Judge Ira Margulies.

Kreuder pleaded not guilty to both charges and was released on his own recognizance.

The state prosecutor’s office said Kreuder allegedly accepted payments from LIRR employees in exchange for helping them to obtain federal disability benefits, including referring them to private physicians and filling out federal disability documents.

Kreuder, who has been with the LIRR for 23 years, was suspended last month by LIRR President Helena Williams, who had not identified him at the time of his suspension.

When Kreuder was suspended from his $95,000-a-year job, he had been working out of the LIRR Hillside Support Facility in Hollis.

Kreuder had previously served as LIRR manager of budget development and analysis.

His arrest “was the first time someone is being held accountable for the culture of entitlement and systemic abuse that plagued the LIRR and Railroad Retirement Board,” Cuomo said. “Moving forward, this office will continue to pursue criminal charges against any individual who facilitated such unchecked abuse and will continue working to correct the systemic abuse in the disability benefits program.”

The legal complaint from Cuomo’s office said Kreuder accepted $100 from one employee in the form of a contribution to Kreuder’s baseball team andhe  agreed to accept $900 more once that employee’s application for Railroad  Retirement Board occupational disability benefits was approved.

In exchange for these payments, Kreuder allegedly agreed to assist the employers with his application for Railroad Retirement Board benefits, including referring him to a doctor, who Kreuder knew would provide supporting documentation.

The Railroad Retirement Board, a federal agency, acknowledged approving more than 90 percent of disability pension applications, but has since pledged to undertake a program of changes and reforms to scrutinize such applications.

 

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