FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Former New York City Subway Conductor Charged for Allegedly
Stealing $114,000 from New York City Transit
Defendant Allegedly Falsely Certified He was Unemployed While Holding
Law Enforcement Positions in Pennsylvania and Florida
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny and New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg, today announced that a former New York City Transit subway conductor has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with grand larceny and other crimes for allegedly stealing approximately $114,000 in Workers’ Compensation payments from NYC Transit.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly stole more than $100,000 in taxpayer money by claiming he was disabled while simultaneously – and outrageously – holding down a series of law enforcement jobs in other states. We will now seek to bring him to justice and recover the funds that he fraudulently received.”
MTA Inspector General Pokorny said, “This scam artist suddenly suffered a convenient ‘injury,’ when faced with imminent termination as an MTA subway conductor yet was fit enough to relocate to other states and hold a series of law enforcement jobs. All the while he was double-dipping — collecting a salary as a corrections officer and other positions of authority, while lining his pockets with disability payments funded by New York’s taxpayers, as alleged in the indictment.”
NYCT Interim President Feinberg said, “NYC Transit has zero tolerance for fraud and will seek full restitution in this and any case where it is perpetrated.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Giovanni Seminerio, 48, of Alva, Florida. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dena Douglas on a 22-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, first-degree falsifying business records and related charges. The defendant was released and ordered to return to court on November 17, 2020.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant, then a subway conductor for NYC Transit, received notification that he would be terminated on December 8, 2015 for disciplinary charges related to his operation of the trains. That same day, the defendant claimed he had been injured during his shift the day before and sought Workers’ Compensation benefits.
The defendant began receiving Workers’ Compensation payments on May 18, 2016. It is alleged that between October 2016 and August 2019 the defendant periodically signed documents, as required by NYC Transit, falsely certifying that he was not employed in any capacity, including a Daily Activity Questionnaire submitted with his medical exams, and an endorsement on the Workers’ Compensation checks he received.
In fact, from October 2016 to January 2020, the defendant allegedly held a succession of salaried law enforcement positions, including work as a corrections officer for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, the Florida Department of Corrections and the Glades County, Florida Sheriff’s Office and as an Enforcement Specialist for the Lee County, Florida Board of County Commissioners.
It is alleged that the defendant stole approximately $114,000 as a result of his fraud. NYC Transit’s Special Investigation Unit alerted the MTA Inspector General to the fraud during an internal review of Workers’ Compensation cases and suspended his payments in August 2019.
The District Attorney thanked Senior Investigative Attorney Maureen McCormack-MacDougall, Senior Principal Investigator Lawrence McGugins, and other members of the OIG’s Legal and Investigative Unit for their work on this case.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Abigail Rosen, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, with assistance from Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Laura Neubauer, Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau, Greg Pavlides, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and Michael Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, and the overall supervision of Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.