The Fraud Files: Trick and Treat
As if those of us residing in the Boston area don't have enough problems with public transportation, we now have the bizarre case of MBTA "motorperson" Thomas Lucey. Around midnight on October 30, 2016 - right around Halloween - he was beaten while his trolley was stopped at the Cedar Grove station in Dorchester. The assailant wore a "Michael Myers" mask, which is actually pretty terrifying.
Lucey immediately filed for workers comp, along with a long-term disability claim related to his post-traumatic stress syndrome. It appears that he collected benefits for well over a year before his claim unravelled. He apparently had paid a friend $2,000 to perform the assault. The scheme fell apart when investigators interviewed the friend, whose fingerprints were found on a plastic pumpkin left behind at the scene. (Surely he did not assault Lucey with a plastic pumpkin: it must have been a prop to enhance the Halloween theme.)
While MBTA employees are often in the news for their generous salaries and overtime, Lucey was not among those making six figures. His annual salary as of 2016 was a modest $42K. But when you combine workers' comp indemnity (60 percent of his average weekly wage) with a disability income, he was probably making more by not working than he did while on the job.
When it comes to fraud, Lucey is a rank amateur, albeit with a bit of theatrical flair. The real action is with the pros: employers understating payrolls, unscrupulous doctors and attorneys and even an occasional agent. I'm not sure what lies ahead for Mr. Lucey, but it does appear that his days as an MBTA motorperson are over.