Details of Fraud Scheme by FDNY, NYPD Emerging
Scheming siblings and a married couple were allegedly in on the sickening Social Security scam in which retired cops and firefighters faked Sept. 11 trauma to score disability benefits, The Post has learned.
Brothers Vincent and Darrin LaMantia, siblings Karen, Kevin and Thomas Galimi and spouses John Kellett and Arlene Mellett claimed psychiatric ailments kept them from earning a living, according to court papers.
Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said they were part of a $400 million scheme in which 106 fraudsters exploited the system to score unwarranted disability pensions.
Some of the scammers bilked the system since the 1980s. Many others feigned 9/11 nightmares — while continuing to live fun-packed lives of leisure.
Vincent LaMantia, 43, is the most brazen. Though he claims to have suffered crippling mental problems, he can be seen in a YouTube video giving a motivational speech on, of all subjects, getting rich quick.
“Your positive mental attitude will make you a ton of money . . . Your smile will make you a fortune!” he tells the cheering audience. The clip was posted last year, but it was not clear when it was made.
Vincent has been accused of wrongly taking $148,000 in benefits from May 2010 to June 2013. Officials have not given details of why he claimed to be a mental wreck.
He wasn’t always feeling blue. In 1996, Vincent appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine’s “Bachelor of the Month” calendar.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I like the attention,” Vincent, who was a cop in the Brooklyn South Precinct, said at the time.
There was no answer at his Staten Island home in an attempt to reach him for comment.
His brother Darrin, 46, is a deep-sea fisherman and charter-boat captain who’s run tournaments in which anglers hooked massive blue sharks. The ex-cop didn’t return phone messages.
The Galimi siblings, who all worked for the NYPD, are accused of stealing more than $596,000, with more than $287,000 going to Thomas, who began collecting benefits in 2002.
A young woman who answered the phone at Karen’s house insisted, “Nobody is guilty,” while Kevin’s lawyer, Lou La Pietra, said: “My client is one of the few who did nothing wrong.”
Husband-and-wife, ex-cops John Kellett and Arlene Mellett — who have homes in Long Island and Florida — are charged with ripping off more than $300,000. They didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Additional reporting by Lorena Mongelli, Erin Calabrese, Jeane MacIntosh
Republished with permission of the New York Post