A Long Island man's yearslong scheme to collect disability insurance benefits all the while he trained for bodybuilding competitions and owned and operated a limousine business was foiled by a series of social media posts, state officials said.
Instagram posts chronicling Anthony Ragusa's physical transformation as a bodybuilder helped the state attorney general's office catch the fraudster for illegally collecting benefits totaling more than $200,000.
Ragusa, 52, pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny last week in front of a State Supreme Court judge.
For the years between 2015 and 2020, Ragusa had been accused of collecting benefits on injuries he reportedly sustained back in 2013 from an on-the-job fall. At the time he worked as an electrician, according to benefits paperwork he filed.
Attorney General Letitia James said Ragusa's benefits application claimed the injuries he suffered prevented him from bending over, walking for more than 15 minutes, and sitting for man than 30. His injuries allegedly prevented him from doing any kind of work, Ragusa said.
But that wasn't exactly the case, according to social media posts and work documents that showed Ragusa maintained his business in the aftermath of his fall.
James said her investigators reviewed files that proved the bodybuilder ran his business the duration of the six years he claimed disability benefits. They also examined Instagram posts from his wife's account dating back to 2017, showing the 52-year-old lifting weights at a gym, known as "the mecca" for bodybuilders, in Syosset.
"His illegal and shameful actions are an insult to those who actually live with disabilities, and I will always take action to bring fraudsters like Ragusa to justice on behalf of the people," James said.
Following his guilty plea, Ragusa must pay restitution to the Social Security Administration to the tune of $200,000 and will be on probation for five years, according to James' office.