press release from Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG):
A 91-year-old ex-cop at the heart of a massive Social Security scam involving more than 120 retired NYPD cops and FDNY firefighters who raked in millions agreed to a plea deal Friday that could land him behind bars for up to nine years, prosecutors said.
Thomas Hale copped to grand larceny and agreed to pay $2 million in restitution in exchange for three to nine years in prison during a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.
“In essence, he was the epicenter of the scheme,” said Assistant DA Christopher Santora. “Even with respect to the other ring leaders, it was Mr. Hale who was the hub through which everything and everybody went right up until this case was taken down and Mr. Hale surrendered for arrest.”
The nearly $22 million scam that spanned 25 years was orchestrated by Hale, who coached applicants to lie on their Social Security disability applications, authorities said.
About half of the defendants exploited 9/11 by falsely claiming they suffered post-traumatic stress by responding to the attacks.