New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro and Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. today announced the arrest of a Sing Sing Correctional Facility correction officer who allegedly submitted fake medical documentation over the course of 16 months to obtain more than 100 days in Workers’ Compensation leave and at least $16,000 in wages.
Darquis Wright, 39, of Staten Island, was arraigned today in Ossining Town Court before Hon. Michael Tawil on nine counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree (E Felony).
If injured on the job, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) employees may go on leave and collect Workers’ Compensation benefits by submitting appropriate medical documentation to their facility and the Workers’ Compensation Board on an ongoing basis. Between March 2018 and September 2019, Wright claimed multiple separate injuries while on duty and submitted applications for Workers’ Compensation leave benefits. The injuries included:
Left shoulder and lower back on March 24, 2018.
Right hand and right wrist on February 12, 2019.
Right knee, back, right hand and left shoulder on August 4, 2019.
To support the claims, Wright repeatedly submitted medical documentation to Sing Sing purportedly from a Staten Island-based orthopedic surgeon and another Staten Island-based physician. The documentation falsely stated, based upon medical examinations allegedly performed by the physicians, that Wright was unable to work. This enabled Wright to obtain Workers’ Compensation leave and collect wage benefits for multiple periods. In fact, the examinations were never performed. Both the orthopedic surgeon and the physician later confirmed to the Inspector General that the documentation was fraudulent.
In total, Wright received more than 100 days of Workers’ Compensation leave and at least $16,000 in wages to which he was not entitled.
“This individual’s repeated fraudulent acts were an attempt to take advantage of the Workers’ Compensation system and rip off taxpayers,” said Inspector General Tagliafierro. “He brazenly kept up his scheme for more than a year and illegally obtained more than 3-months’ worth of leave from his job. He will now pay for his crimes.”
“When a public employee is charged with cheating the State, especially one in law enforcement, it hurts the people of New York,” said District Attorney Scarpino. “We are proud to work closely with New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro to root out such corruption. We will prosecute this case based on the facts and bring this defendant to justice.”
Inspector General Tagliafierro thanked DOCCS for their cooperation and assistance in the matter, as well as the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. She also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney for prosecuting the case and conducting the arrest.
The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.