Man who faked blindness to collect disability benefits caught on camera living a full life with sight
John Caltabiano, 49, from upstate New York faked blindness to collect workman’s comp
He was caught on camera driving, shopping and going to the gym by investigators
Sentenced 5 years for disability and mail fraud, girlfriend Colleen McCarten, 3 years probation for assisting in the fraud
Addtn’l 3 years post-imprisonment supervised release, $27,784 in restitution
“extremely disturbing” criminal history
Many prior convictions, including 4 convictions for sexual assault or attempted abduction of teenage girls.
The incriminating photos were snapped just days before his girlfriend led him into a courthouse for a hearing in his fraud trial to fool people into thinking he was completely blind.
Caltabiano, a 49-year-old Catskill native, was convicted in October along with his girlfriend, Colleen J. McCarten, 43, for faking an on-the-job-injury that he claimed left him totally vision impaired in order to cash in on more social security and workman’s compensation between 2008 and 2010. Caltabiano did lose sight in one eye in a workplace incident, but according to the records, there was no indication that his other eye was affected
The fraudster could have raked in more than a half million dollars had investigators not caught him in his lie, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“If Caltabiano had not been stopped, he would have been able to steal more than one-half a million dollars based on his life expectancy,” U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said following the pair’s sentencing.
Caltabiano, who was previously convicted of sexual assault charges for attempting to abduct teenage girls, was slapped with a five-year sentence for disability and mail fraud in February. His girlfriend was given three years probation for helping with the conspiracy.
He was on his way to steal nearly $1 million in tax dollars over the course of almost a decade of stealing money that was set aside for workers who had become disabled on the job. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said “It costs the county a lot of money — a lot of money”
This is Caltabiano moving around without assistance
Caltabiano’s girlfriend helped him play the part of a helpless blind man by leading him by the
arm when he appeared publicly for court hearings in his case.
But, unbeknownst to the conning couple, investigators caught on to Caltabiano’s ruse by capturing on camera the con artist engaging in everyday activities without any help—like driving, working out at the gym, and shopping—proving his vision was intact.
“And then if you start thinking about having to hire all these investigators to investigate it – paying their salary and benefits – people wonder why their taxes are so high. Well, here you go.” Apple said.
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