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United States of America v. Richard Cundari
Eastern District of Pennsylvania Federal Courthouse - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Case Number: 2:12-cv-05149-CDJ
Judge: C. Darrell Jones, II
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia County
Plaintiff's Attorney: David A. Degnan and Charlene Keller Fullmer
Defendant's Attorney: Joseph Centeno and Kevin Kotch
Description: Philadelphia, PA - Doylestown Man to Pay $307,500 to Resolve Civil False Claims Allegations That He Illegally Received Federal Disability Benefits While Concealing Substantial Other Income
Richard Cundari, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, has agreed to pay $307,500 to resolve civil fraud claims under the False Claims Act. The government’s claims concern allegations that Cundari applied for and received occupational disability annuities that he was ineligible to receive due to income earnings in excess of the applicable limits.
The Railroad Retirement Act provides benefits, in the form of occupational disability annuities, for railroad workers whose permanent physical or mental condition is such that they are unable to engage in any regular employment. The occupational disability annuity program is administered by the United States Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) and is financed by taxes paid by railroad employees. To qualify for these federal benefits, a worker’s income may not exceed certain limits established by the RRB. Benefits cannot be claimed or paid for any month in which a claimant earns income in excess of these limits. Disabled railroad workers who meet the requirements of the program must disclose to the RRB any employment and income that might affect their entitlement to benefits. Prior to 2007, the monthly earnings limit was $400 after deduction of disability-related work expenses. Beginning in 2007, the monthly earnings cap for disability annuitants increased as follows: 2007 – $700; 2008 – $730; 2009 – $770.
The government alleges that defendant Richard Cundari applied for and received disability benefits for approximately nine years – from 2001 through 2009 – during which time his income vastly exceeded the limit for disability benefit eligibility. For each year during that time period, Cundari received monthly benefit checks and deposited each check into his personal bank account. Due to his substantial other income, the government alleges that Cundari was not eligible to receive disability benefits and that Cundari knew he was not eligible to receive these benefits.
The claims resolved by this settlement agreement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.
The allegations arose from an investigation led by Special Agent Stephen Naudasher of the Railroad Retirement Board Office of Inspector General.
Outcome: Settled for $307,500.