On Friday, an Anchorage U.S. Postal Service worker was indicted for $334,000 in disability fraud after investigators say the man allegedly went fishing several times despite claiming “unbearable” pain.
Amancio Zamora Agcaoili Jr. was indicted by a federal grand jury on 18 counts, including wire fraud, Social Security and Federal Employees Compensation Act fraud, and theft of government funds. Prosecutors say Agacoili claimed lower back pain from 2009 to the present.
“He was arrested yesterday, he was arraigned today, and a continuance hearing is set for Tuesday,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Yvonne Lamoreaux.
Officials say disability fraud is an affront to taxpayers and those truly in need.
“Each time someone intentionally defrauds the United states in order to receive federal benefits, such as workers’ compensation and disability payments, it undermines the integrity of those federal programs, and harms all law-abiding citizens,” said Criminal Division for the District of Alaska Kevin Feldis.
Disability fraud has exploded in recent years. In January, over 100 former New York City cops and firefighters were charged in one of the biggest disability scams in U.S. history, a scheme that cost taxpayers an estimated $400 million. Last year, federal agents busted up a massive disability fraud scam in Puerto Rico.
Disability spending has skyrocketed over the last decade. In 2003, 7.6 million received disability benefits. In 2012, 10.9 million individuals received a total $136.7 billion in taxpayer-funded disability checks. When the costs of health care are included, taxpayer-funded spending on disability totals $260 billion – a sum over three times as much as taxpayers spend on food stamps.