Former New York Police Department Sergeant Pleads Guilty to 9/11 Benefits Fraud

Fire engines at Fresh Kills Landfill
Ruined fire trucks and equipment from 9/11 at Fresh Kills Landfill. Getty

Sally Spinosa falsely claimed she worked long hours in rescue and recovery efforts after 9/11, prosecutors said.

A former NYPD sergeant has pleaded guilty in federal court to 9/11 benefits fraud.

Sally Spinosa, 55, lied about toiling long hours at the Fresh Kills Landfill, where workers sifted through tons of debris looking for human remains, prosecutors said. She also submitted false documents that said she was there for two hours each day, for 62 straight days, from September through November of  2001, authorities said.

“As she has now admitted, Sally Spinosa stole money for programs intended to benefit the brave men and women of the NYPD, and first responders across the city, who were injured in the rescue and recovery efforts following September 11, 2001,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. "She did so by repeatedly lying about the time she spent in the rescue and recovery effort, and will now face the consequences of such brazen lies.”

Spinosa pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of theft of public money. Her sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 1.

In 2014, Spinosa also applied for a monetary award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, prosecutors said.  In support of her application, she submitted false proof-of-presence documents, authorities said. She also filed a false claim with the World Trade Center Health Program, which was granted in 2017, according to prosecutors.

In reality, Spinosa was pregnant at the time and on limited duties, Strauss said.

Spinosa "spent little to no time at the landfill," Strauss said, and for some of that period she "was out of the office entirely on parental leave."  

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