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Weinstein Law Blog

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Retired Officers Sue NYC For Malicious Prosecution

Wrongly Accused in 9/11 Social Security Scam,

Three Former Cops Sue DA for $30 Million

NEW YORK, NY – January 4, 2017 -- Two former New York City police officers and a retired Nassau County cop have filed a $30 million federal law suit against New York City, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and five assistant district attorneys, including the Chief of the Rackets Bureau, alleging the retired officers’ civil rights were violated by the DA’s abuse of process and gross negligence, when they were wrongly accused in a Social Security disability scam in a frenzy for public attention.

The three, Philip Blessinger, 66, Scott Greco, 52, and John Byrne, 50, were arrested in 2014 as part of an indictment of 106 defendants, many police and firefighters, for alleged massive fraud against the federal Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits program. The three were each charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and one count of Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree. Nearly three years later, the three were cleared of all wrong doing and all charges filed against them were dropped, but not before they had suffered public humiliation, exacerbated health issues and economic hardship. Rather than pursue justice, the suit alleges the Manhattan DA acted in an overzealous matter, bringing criminal charges that were unfounded and without any reasonable basis.

The suit, brought by Manhattan attorney Jacob Z. Weinstein, argues that any reasonable prosecutor conducting an investigation would have realized their innocence. Instead, the three were included in the case for maximum publicity effect, without a proper investigation, and with malicious intent.

 “This case will show how these public servants, officers of the court, abused their power and collectively and individually, and denied my clients their rights under the Constitution and the laws of the State of New York by negligently, wantonly and knowingly pursuing these claims,” said Jacob Z. Weinstein. “We will further show that the District Attorney and his office were not only negligent in training, hiring, and supervising Assistant District Attorneys and staff, but deliberately indifferent as well. These men suffered under a shadow while prosecutors overlooked the actual innocence of my clients until they were cleared nearly three long years later.”

Weinstein said the defendants suffered physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as economic injury. They lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the DA’s freezing of their bank accounts, assets, and legal fees. This was because they were swept up in the indictment with bad apples who turned out to be ringleaders in an alleged fraud.

 “These men, who are actually disabled, have suffered greatly from the DA’s actions – from being arrested and exacerbated mental health issues, to economic hardship, and the public humiliation of being paraded in front of the media for the DA’s gains,” Weinstein said.

The case is Blessinger et. al. v. City of New York et. al.,  17-cv-00047 filed in the US District Court Southern District of New York 

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News Coverage: 

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ex-cops-cleared-disability-fraud-file-30m-suit-article-1.2934874

http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/ex-nassau-cop-2-others-suing-manhattan-district-attorney-1.12866212

http://nypost.com/2017/01/05/ex-cops-who-say-they-were-falsely-charged-in-911-scam-sue-for-30m/

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170105/civic-center/police-officer-sue-manhattan-da-911-scam

http://courthousenews.com/officers-skewer-da-for-social-security-dragnet/

Call the Law Office of Jacob Z. Weinstein, PLLC for experienced Civil Rights counsel at 646-450-3484.


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As a former prosecutor, I fully understand the power law enforcement has. As a trial attorney, I know the law seems very scary.