Boston Firefighter Caught Bodybuilding on Disability

BOSTON --

 

A Boston firefighter who was caught bodybuilding while out on disability is one of two Boston firefighters charged with fraud by federal prosecutors.

Albert Arroyo, 46, was charged in federal court with fraud involving his applications for accidental disability pensions, the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston said Wednesday.

 

Former firefighter James Famolare, 65, of Billerica, was also charged.

A clerk in the Boston Fire Department, Erika Boylan, 31, was charged with perjuring herself and obstructing the grand jury investigation.

The mail fraud indictments allege that the city was defrauded by both firefighters when they sought accidental disability retirement pensions after allegedly suffering injuries while on the job.

In Arroyo's case, the indictment alleges that he claimed he fell while walking in a fire station in Jamaica Plain. According to the indictment, Arroyo falsely claimed that this fall left him totally and permanently disabled from the performance of his duties.

"Arroyo failed to disclose his repeated visits to gyms where he trained for a May 2008 body building competition," federal prosecutors said in a statement.

 

In Famolare's case, the indictment alleges while working for one day in an acting capacity for the absent deputy chief of personnel in the Boston Fire Department, Famolare falsely claimed he suffered a career-ending injury while moving a box of files.

Boylan is charged with lying under oath while testifying before a grand jury.

"We're trying to root out those bad firefighters. There's a lot of good firefighters in Boston, but a few have taken advantage of the system," Mayor Tom Menino said.

Beacon Hill recently passed a bill to curb some of the abuses in these cases. But Menino claims firefighters won't sign a contract because they won't accept reforms without additional pay. The union has endorsed Menino's mayoral race opponent, Michael Flaherty.

"Under a Flaherty administration, we will address these issues because they haven't been addressed over the last 16 years," Flaherty said. "They should expect I will be very firm and very fair."

Flaherty claims he'll settle the dispute within 100 days, offering no more than 14 percent in the next five years. But Menino said that's not the only money issue.

"They want to get paid for wellness; they want to get paid for haz mat. That's all on top of percentage we give them. It's extras that they want as part of their contractual agreement," he said.

Arroyo will return to court on Oct. 29.

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