Richard Rufo Charged in a Federal Criminal Complaint Alleging Disability Fraud

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of New Jersey on August 11, 2011 released the following:

“MINT POLICE OFFICER ARRESTED, CHARGED IN NEW JERSEY FOR ALLEGED DISABILITY FRAUD

CAMDEN, N.J. – A police officer employed by the U.S. Treasury at the Philadelphia Mint was arrested this morning at his Mt. Laurel, N.J., residence for allegedly defrauding the government by collecting disability benefits to which he was not entitled, U.S. Attorney Fishman announced.

Richard Rufo, 49, was taken into custody by special agents of the U.S. Treasury Department’s and Department of Labor’s Offices of Inspector General, and is expected to make an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio in Camden federal court.

Rufo is charged by Complaint with one count of fraud against the United States, filed in connection with his alleged receipt of approximately $173,000 in federal workers’ compensation benefits while making hundreds of thousands in unreported income running a memorabilia business on the side.

According to the Complaint unsealed today:

In September 2008, Rufo reported that he injured his back closing a gate at the mint, and was unable to perform his duties as a result. He also declined an offer to take a sedentary job at the mint, claiming it would be too strenuous. From September 2008 through August 2011, Rufo received compensation benefits of more than $173,000.

On three separate occasions since the reported injury, Rufo completed forms to obtain federal workers’ compensation benefits on which he fraudulently claimed that he had not worked for any employer in the past 15 months, been self-employed, nor received any income or actual earnings outside of the disability payments.

In reality, Rufo operated United Safety Supply Co. (“USS”) – which sells law enforcement badges, pins, patches, coins, t-shirts, and hats – out of his residence. In telephone calls monitored during the investigation, Rufo stated that he has been so busy that trucks had routinely been at his house twice a day for deliveries and boasted that USS had a long list of federal clients.

Rufo was also observed by law enforcement selling memorabilia from a booth at the annual Police Week in Washington, D.C., in May 2010, and setting up tables and selling at the same event in May 2011.

Between September 2008 and November 2010, Rufo made more than $1.1 million in gross receipts and netted approximately $318,000 through his company.

The count with which Rufo is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Department of Treasury Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John L. Phillips; and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Panella, with the investigation leading to the arrest.

The government is represented by V. Grady O’Malley, Senior Litigation Counsel, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime\Gangs Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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