Fraud Arrest of Dozens of Retired NYPD Officers Only the Beginning

Hundreds of first responders may end up being prosecuted for faking illnesses to receive disability.
3:00 | 01/07/14

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Transcript for Fraud Arrest of Dozens of Retired NYPD Officers Only the Beginning
This is a special room. I'm Dan -- -- New York where this ABC news digital special report New York's finest once hailed as heroes. Now charged with lying about disabilities stemming from 9/11 so they could claim bigger Social Security checks. After a two year investigation scores of new York city police officers and firefighters were arrested today for taking benefits. For disabilities they didn't have some of them turning themselves in just about an hour ago. Prosecutors say they cost taxpayers millions of dollars and so for more on the story Elena bringing ABC's earned her -- in New York. -- how did they pull this off. Well it's -- it's an old fashioned -- where they found lawyers to file the claims and doctors to sign off on disabilities that were entirely fake made up and they were severe incapacitated. Severe psychological disorders that many -- the retired police officers and firefighters and correction officers said stemmed from their work. In and around September 11 taking advantage of the good game earned -- that the cops and firefighters that day for their. Heroic work and who was going to question them. But the Social Security Administration started to notice over the years. Some of the same disorders signed off on by some of the same doctors and filed by some of the same lawyers and finally they figured out this was a scam this was a colluded efforts clearly on this so who -- the ringleaders of this operate well this involved a couple of different lawyers one of -- allegedly was the former chief of the rackets bureau. At the district attorney's office in Nassau County out on Long Island and also somebody who is familiar with. The disability pension system from the detectives endowment association. There among those that turn themselves in but scores of retired officers were arrested early this morning before dawn as planned. Many of them here and in New York City others just outside the metro area some even in Florida or other places. Where they had retired do we have any idea how expansive how many people were actually involved in this scheme there are about a hundred arrests today and we're told there may be you know hundred or two more coming in the coming months this was a widespread fraud -- told. And it was perpetrated over a number of years costing. Upwards of tens of millions of dollars to two taxpayers. Cold feet into the Social Security system and this went on for for so long that the money just. Racked up and and racked up and were told this is not the end but but the beginning. This scheme not only -- those that did legitimately filed with legitimate claims but. Also the big question is being asked did this take -- support from any of those officers that did actually suffer disabilities you know it's it's a good question -- a Manhattan district attorney's office is going to have more on this later today when it -- when he outlined some of the charges but. And there were undoubtedly some legitimate pensions that these retired workers were entitled to. But -- allegations involved trying to inflate their monthly payments. By claiming they had -- and other psychological disorders that they -- didn't have. And -- where ailments that were supposed to be so severe they really couldn't function in society and yet according to prosecutors they caught some of them. Gambling in Las Vegas and blackjack tables selling colonel -- in little Italy and doing other things that would certainly not indicate they had any kind of a problem. You had mentioned that obviously some of these -- -- -- involves the upside of just the New York metropolitan area but also. Across the country. There are a lot of the police and fire houses and surrounding areas that helped in the aftermath of 9/11 so. Was this fraud is limited to NYPD and FDNY we believe that it's -- it's limited to retired New York City. The fire police and correction officers -- but many of whom retired to Florida and so that's why there's federal agents that are involved there. There are some veteran called out on Long Island Nassau counties Suffolk County work. The couple were arrested but for the most part this really does involved. New York city's finest and bravest and that as part of what makes this case such an egregious violation of the good name. And heroic status rightfully earned. By the police and fire departments after 9/11 of those that were arrested we know where they even part of the response efforts from the 9/11 attacks we don't know yet that we haven't seen all the names and and it would be almost impossible to know whether they had a direct impact but we. We should be able to find that out. How long they worked on the -- if they worked on the pile. -- but in many cases the allegation is it didn't matter it was just they made up. That they had some kind of a psychological disorder stemming from their work on nine elevenths. And they found -- A pension expert who knew how to game the system they found a lawyer prosecutors say. Who was willing to sign the paperwork and doctors also willing to sign off that these disorders existed. When in fact court records suggest they did not an air -- also be attending evening news conference at noon today at how little more information about this but. It is forces disability fraud it went through Social Security benefits explain how that process works well this was. Aid in conjunction with -- legitimate pensions that these guys earned and the Social Security Administration started to notice so over the years that -- number of these similar ailments. And and the same names kept cropping up the same lawyers the same doctors. And they they finally figured out. That this was indeed some kind of a scam and and when they took -- prosecutors. That's when -- -- it it was you know thoroughly investigated and they were able to catch some of these guys. Either working or doing some other activities that certainly would not comport with having the kind of debilitating. Ailments that they -- -- -- so what will happen then today for for for the prosecution and also for the new police commissioner well police commissioner Bill Bratton is going to be attending the news conference along with the Manhattan DA side -- this is his first week on the job he was just sworn in. Late last week and so -- First Act almost as police commissioner. Is to announce the arrests of of some of his own undoubtedly. Given the agent of some of the retirees. And that he may have known from his last stint as police commissioner this cannot get comfortable time. For the new new York city police commissioner to stand there and announced these arrests and yet. Bratton has been involved in and making some reforms to the internal affairs division over the years and so maybe he's going to want to to hail this crack down. As a success story and routing out dirty cops and and sadly this is not the first scam that has been related to 9/11 -- there's been a lot of scams related to 9/11 some of them recently uncovered as yesterday when a couple of folks driving around in a truck with a -- Twin Towers the burning Twin Towers painted on soliciting donations and not giving a penny on it to any 9/11 related charity. And it certainly is not likely to be the last -- 9/11 through so many intense feelings and and the goodwill of Americans was really. -- that there was an outpouring and and and it didn't just involve firefighters and police officers but but really the entire. New York community. Here this one seems particularly egregious they were 343. Firefighters killed in New York. On 9/11 -- -- a couple of dozen police officers that were killed. And correction officers were certainly involved in the effort and and date date rightly burn the term hero after that day. At this seems to trade on that good name for of for nothing but -- and. -- -- -- with scores more yet still to be arrested ABC's -- interest if on the latest on this and of course following that news -- which will be live streaming as well Aaron thank you for that. A complete recap right here on And as we did say. That news conference will be live stream here when it does take place this afternoon -- now I'm down Cutler in New York with the CBC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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