On September 8, 2017, a former Transportation Security Officer pleaded guilty and was sentenced in federal court in Boston to fraudulently obtaining over $38,000 in workers’ compensation benefits.
Transportation Security Officer out on workers’ compensation since 2011
Richard A. Mariani, 76, of West Dennis, pleaded guilty to one count information alleging a violation of 18 United States Code § 1920. The information charged Mr. Mariani did:
knowingly and willfully make and use a false statement in connection with the application for and receipt of compensation and other benefit and payment from the United States Department of Labor…obtaining thereby benefits that did not exceed $1,000.
Mr. Mariani was employed as a Transportation Security Officer at Barnstable Municipal Airport from February 2002 to February 2011.
After a workplace injury in 2011, he claimed that he could not work because his injury imposed severe limitations on his physical activities. Based on his inability to work, Mr. Mariani began collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
Lawn service for cash under the table
Beginning in August 2015, while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, Mr. Mariani began providing lawn irrigation services to various clients who paid him in cash for his work. In providing these services, Mr. Mariani was engaged in many of the physical activities he claimed to be unable to do because of the injury for which he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits. To continue receiving benefits, Mr. Mariani made a false statement on a form to the U.S. Department of Labor stating that he earned no income other than his disability benefits. For August 2015 to August 2016. During that period, Mr. Mariani fraudulently received $38,052 in workers’ compensation benefits.
Plea agreement to misdemeanor
The workers’ compensation benefits Mr. Mariani fraudulently received, $38,052.00, made his crime a felony that carried up to five years in prison. However, the Acting United States Attorney entered into a plea agreement allowing Mr. Mariani to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of “obtaining benefits that did not exceed $1,000.” This lesser charge carried a maximum of one year in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of $100,000, or twice the gross gain/loss, whichever is greater, and restitution.
Under the plea agreement, Mr. Mariani agreed to make restitution and the U.S. Attorney agreed to recommend 6 months’ probation with a fine, as determined by the court, under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Magistrate Judge accepts recommendation and waives fine
Mr. Mariani’s guilty plea was heard by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelly. Judge Page Kelly accepted the recommendation of the United States attorney for six months of probation and ordered Mr. Mariani to pay $38,052 in restitution to the Department of Labor. The Magistrate Judge waived a fine based upon Mr. Mariani’s inability to pay.
U.S. Attorney’s Office and Investigations Division of TSA investigated and prosecuted Mr. Mariani
Mr. Mariani’s guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Thomas E. Williams, Special Agent in Charge of the Transportation Security Authority, Office of Inspection, Investigations Division, Philadelphia Field Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris of Acting United States Attorney Weinreb’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted the case against Mr. Mariani.