A Long Island man’s plan to collect disability benefits while training for bodybuilding competitions and owning and operating a limo business has been foiled by a series of social media posts, state officials said.
Instagram posts chronicling Anthony Ragusa’s physical transformation as a bodybuilder helped the state attorney general’s office nab the fraudster for illegally collecting benefits totaling more than $200,000.
Ragusa, 52, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery last week before a state Supreme Court judge.
Between 2015 and 2020, Ragusa had been accused of collecting benefits for injuries he allegedly suffered in 2013 following a fall at work. At the time, he was working as an electrician, according to benefits documents.
Attorney General Letitia James said Ragusa’s benefit claim claimed the injuries he sustained prevented him from bending, walking for more than 15 minutes and sitting for a man over 30. . His injuries would have prevented him from doing any type of work, Ragusa said.
But that wasn’t exactly the case, according to social media posts and working papers that showed Ragusa kept his business going after his fall.
James said his investigators reviewed records showing the bodybuilder ran his business for the six years he claimed disability benefits. They also reviewed Instagram posts from his wife’s account from 2017 showing the 52-year-old lifting weights at a gym, known as a “mecca” for bodybuilders, in Syosset.
“His unlawful and shameful actions are an insult to those who truly live with disabilities, and I will always take action to bring fraudsters like Ragusa to justice on behalf of the people,” James said.
Following his guilty plea, Ragusa is due to pay the Social Security Administration compensation of $200,000 and will be on probation for five years, according to James’ office.