A New York bodybuilder got disability insurance for seven years, even though he said he couldn’t sit for more than 30 minutes or walk for more than 15 minutes. During that time, he worked out and ran a business. Authorities say that the bodybuilder has to now pay back the money he stole.
Anthony Ragusa, who is 52 years old, pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court to a single count of second-degree theft. The New York Attorney General’s Office said Ragusa must pay the Social Security Administration $200,000 in restitution.
The clueless muscleman’s scheme began in 2013 when he fell while working as an electrician and said he was hurt so badly he couldn’t work at all.
“From January 2015 to 2020, Ragusa kept his disability status through hearings and written reports,” the attorney general’s office said. This was true even though he continued to run a business and lift weights.
Ragusa also ran WhiteStar Limousine and was its president and owner while he was getting benefits.
In a statement, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James said Ragusa also said he couldn’t sit for more than 30 minutes or walk for more than 15.
Investigators became suspicious in 2017 when Ragusa, who had rippling muscles, tattoos, and a buzz cut, was said to have been seen power-lifting on social media.
Prosecutors say that investigators were able to look at photos and videos on Ragusa’s wife’s Instagram account of him getting in shape for bodybuilding competitions. The pictures were later deleted from the social media profile.
Later, the photos were taken down from the account, but investigators had already seen them.
James said in a statement, “His illegal and shameful actions are an insult to people with disabilities, and I will always work with the police to bring fraudsters like Ragusa to justice.”
Loly Ragusa, Ragusa’s wife, is a member of the International Federation of Bodybuilders. Ragusa went to the Bev Francis gym in Syosset, which is known as a “mecca” for bodybuilders. It seems like he went there often.
Prosecutors say Ragusa got benefits from January 2015 to 2020, even though he still ran a business and lifted weights.
Ragusa, who didn’t respond to messages asking for her opinion, has to go on probation for five years and pay the Social Security Administration $200,000 in restitution. If he doesn’t do what’s asked of him, he could go to jail for three years.