Controversial Community Board (CB) 9 member Sam Esposito was arrested Tuesday in conjunction with an insurance fraud bust, said authorities and sources close to the board.
Thirty-two people were arrested for their participation in a “massive fraud” against the federal Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) program, Esposito included, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
The longtime board member, a former cop, is accused of applying for and receiving SSDI benefits after claiming to suffer from a psychiatric condition that prevented him from working, according to the district attorney.
Vance said a handful of those arrested attributed their psychiatric problems to association with the September 11 attacks. A source said Esposito’s NYPD career ended because of a September 11-related trauma.
He was additionally collecting pension as an NYPD retiree. Although Esposito may have had limited physical disabilities that entitled him to state disability pension, this did not call for SSDI benefits, Vance said.
These benefits offer about $30,000 to $50,000 for each recipient.
Esposito is charged with grand larceny, a felony, and criminal facilitation, a misdemeanor. His father, Joseph Esposito, was also arrested as a “principal defendant,” according to Vance.
The CB 9 member was under fire after fellow board members accused him of being anti-Semitic in November. A vote was held to remove him from the board, but never came to fruition.
Esposito did not return request for comment.