As a result of a spike in government unemployment programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some Americans are being paid more to stay home than work. It’s been an ongoing problem that’s devastated the U.S. workforce.
While in a sense it’s hard to blame someone for taking more money not to work than to drudge the daily routine, there are those who cheat the system. Some even used the pandemic to “take a little free time” at their employers’ expense.
Nevertheless, it may not be the best strategy to try to cheat your employer, especially if you work for the government. Three New York City corrections officers found that out the hard way. The trio apparently faked sicknesses for over a year while still collecting a paycheck.
However, instead of honestly being sick, these three NYC corrections officers allegedly traveled, partied, and, in one instance, worked on his comic book. Corrections officers Steven Cange, 49; Eduardo Trinidad, 42; and Monica Coaxum, 36, were all arrested.
They were released on bond pending their appearance in federal court. The three worked as officers for Riker’s Island. The report alleges that each officer claimed their full salaries while defrauding the State of New York by faking their illnesses.
Steven Cange said he suffered from serious side effects after being forced to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He used over 100 fake physical therapy appointments. Cange never had an appointment because he never had a single side effect.
Instead of being at home recuperating, Cange was promoting his own comic book. Part of the evidence against him is his bragging his about “amazing meeting for book” on social media. Monica Coaxum took sick leave for over a year.
During the period from March 2021 to May 2022, she collected over $80,000 of her annual salary. Instead of being at home recuperating from her ailments, Coaxum was caught out partying. She has since admitted to faking over 50 medical documents to justify her leave.
Trinidad is Coaxum’s fiancé. Likewise, he is accused of faking injuries to secure paid sick leave. Trinidad would show up at medical appointments with full props. He allegedly wore a walking boot and used a cane, neither of which he needed.
Ironically, without his boot and cane, investigators caught Trinidad at a bowling alley. Coaxum and Trinidad also traveled to the Dominican Republic while supposedly on sick leave. Perhaps the city’s policy of unlimited sick leave should be reconsidered.
The Union president for corrections officials, Benny Boscio, denounced the actions. Boscio told reporters that “These are obviously extremely serious allegations, and if true, do not represent the 99 percent of our officers.”
The union president said officers are being forced to work excessive amounts of overtime, often skipping meals. He said, “COBA does not in any way encourage our members to call out sick without a valid reason, and this type of behavior is a gross disservice to their fellow officers.”