The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Illinois has indicted six former railroad employees for allegedly fraudulently obtaining federal disability benefits.
Federal prosecutors allege that the six were working other jobs while providing false information to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board’s (RRB) Disability Benefits Division.
The defendants will be arraigned in federal court in Chicago, the attorney’s office said.
They include Scott Carlberg, a former engineer at Soo Line Railroad; Ronald Lee Cribbs, a former employee at Chessie Seaboard Consolidated; Robie Vonderhaar, a former foreman for Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad; Richard W. Browner Jr., a former assistant line engineer at New Jersey Transit; James Bonner, a former engineer for BNSF (NYSE: BRK.B); and King Bradley Jr., a former conductor for Illinois Central Railroad.
The indictments are part of wider federal efforts to investigate alleged fraud against benefits programs administered by the RRB. The RRB Office of Inspector General, FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General have been conducting these investigations.
The attorney’s office said that according to the indictments, Carlberg operated and managed a tanning salon in Wisconsin for six years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; Cribbs worked in the construction and landscaping trades for various companies in Florida for six years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; Vonderhaar managed a construction company in Iowa for three years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; Browner co-owned and managed a doughnut shop in New Jersey for six years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; Bonner captained a chartered fishing boat in Florida for three years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; and Bradley worked for a construction company for six years while simultaneously receiving total and permanent disability benefits.
Carlberg, Cribbs, Vonderhaar and Browner face multiple counts of wire fraud, each of which is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, the attorney’s office said. Bonner and Bradley are charged with making materially false statements to the FBI and RRB, which is punishable by up to five years.
“The fraud alleged in these indictments is appalling,” said RRB IG Dickman. “My office will continue to pursue individuals who attempt to defraud the USRRB and the actors who may help perpetuate the fraud, whether they be medical professionals, contractors, private employers, or government employees.”