9/11 victim compensation fund

Former NYPD Sergeant Pleads Guilty to 9/11 Benefits Fraud

For most of the time Sally Spinosa claimed she was working at the landfill, she was actually pregnant and doing limited work outside the Staten Island Investigations Unit’s offices, or was out on parental leave, according to prosecutors citing court documents

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What to Know

  • A former NYPD sergeant has pled guilty to 9/11 benefits fraud in Manhattan federal court, according to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss.
  • Sally Spinosa pled guilty to one count of theft of public money related to her false application for benefits related to the attack on New York on Sept. 11, 2001, according to Strauss.
  • The crime to which Spinosa, 55 and of Freehold, New Jersey, pled guilty to carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

A former NYPD sergeant has pled guilty to 9/11 benefits fraud in Manhattan federal court.

Sally Spinosa pled guilty to one count of theft of public money related to her false application for benefits related to the attack on New York on Sept. 11, 2001, according to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss.

The crime to which Spinosa, 55 and of Freehold, New Jersey, pled guilty to carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Spinosa's sentencing is scheduled to take place Dec. 1.

According to court documents, Spinosa, who served as an NYPD officer from July 1986 until July 2019, and was a sergeant in the investigations unit of the NYPD’s Patrol Services Bureau of Staten Island on Sept. 11, 2001, participated in a screening interview in 2010 with the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) in which she falsely stated that she worked for hundreds of hours at the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, New York, from September 2001 to June 2002.

According to prosecutors, citing court documents, in 2014, Spinosa also applied for a monetary award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), falsely claiming that she was at the landfill for two hours each day for 62 straight days from Sept. 20, 2001, to Nov. 20, 2001. In support of her application, she allegedly submitted proof-of-presence documents, including an affidavit purportedly signed by a supervisor at the Staten Island Investigations Unit stating they frequently visited the landfill with Spinosa to supervise subordinates.

However, in reality, according to prosecutors, Spinosa spent little to no time at the landfill, since, for most of the time she claimed she was working at the landfill, she was actually pregnant and doing limited work outside the Staten Island Investigations Unit’s offices, or was out of the office entirely on parental leave. Additionally, the affidavit that Spinosa allegedly submitted in support of her VCF application was fraudulent and was never signed by her supervisor, the supervisor said. 

Despite her claims being fraudulent, according to prosecutors, she was granted benefits in 2017. The WTCHP has since paid for certain medical visits and prescription drugs for Spinosa. 

According to prosecutors, city court documents, Spinosa’s original fraudulent application to the VCF was denied in 2014. However, she reapplied in 2017 and 2018 relying on the same false and fraudulent information. Spinosa’s VCF claim remains pending.

“As she has now admitted, Sally Spinosa stole money for programs intended to benefit the brave men and women of the NYPD, and first-responders across the city, who were injured in the rescue and recovery efforts following Sept.11, 2001," Strauss said in a statement. "She did so by repeatedly lying about the time she spent in the rescue and recovery effort, and will now face the consequences of such brazen lies.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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