Ex-TSA worker must repay $21K in workers comp scheme

Ex-TSA worker must repay $21K in workers comp scheme

By ROBERT GAVIN Staff Writer
Published: 05:01 p.m., Monday, September 13, 2010

ALBANY — A former Transportation Security Administration worker at Albany International Airport was ordered Monday to pay back nearly $22,000 in workers compensation benefits he collected while secretly running an auto repair business.
Richard Scepkowski, 49, of Schenectady, who worked as a TSA safety technician at the airport, also received 5 years probation during his appearance in U.S. District Court before Senior Judge Thomas McAvoy.
Scepkowski was injured on July 4, 2004. He filed for federal workers compensation benefits, which he received between September 2004 and Aug. 1, 2009. To get the benefits through the U.S. Department of Labor, Scepkowski informed the agency he was not employed nor had ownership or involvement with any businesses.
But federal prosecutors in Albany said that was a lie.
Between the spring of 2008 and August 2009, they said, Scepkowski was employed at an auto repair business in Schenectady. He bought the business, DiCarlo’s Service station, in May 2009 and renamed it “QuickServe.”
Scepkowski received a total $21,897 in benefits while secretly holding the second job — money he must now pay back in restitution.
He pleaded guilty in April to making false statements to obtain federal workers compensation benefits.
He faced maximum of 5 years in prison and, under federal sentencing guidelines, up to six months behind bars.
In a pre-sentencing memo to the judge on Aug. 30, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Storch asked for the defendant to be sentenced within the guidelines. He stated while the scheme “lasted for a significant period of time,” Scepkowski admitted his crime and agreed to pay full restitution. Storch asked that it be paid back within 60 days of sentencing.
Scepkowski’s attorney, Albert Braccini, told the judge his client, who is married and has a 4-year-old stepdaughter, is now employed.
“Mr. Scepkowski’s current arrest for illegally obtaining workers compensation benefits stems from his financial hardships and not from simple greed,” the attorney wrote in a Sept. 3 memo. “While his behavior was wrong and illegal, it is understandable. He accepts full responsibility for his conduct. He has expressed his regrets and is remorseful for his actions. He is especially sorry for the position in which he has placed his wife and daughter.”
The case included the U.S. Attorney’s office, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and Office of Inspection of the Transportation Security Administration.
Robert Gavin can be reached at 434-2403 or rgavin@timesunion.com.

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