TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A New York man was arrested for allegedly fraudulently taking disability benefits after his bodybuilder wife posted pictures of him lifting weights on her Instagram page, Attorney General Letitia James said in a news release Friday.
From at least 2013 up until 2020, Anthony Ragusa received more than $200,000 in disability benefits from the Social Security Administration while owning a limousine business in New Hyde Park on Long Island, James said.
On his disability application form, James said Ragusa falsely claimed he could not work because of injuries he had suffered during a fall while working as an electrician in 2013. Ragusa alleged that the pain prevented him from bending over to put on shoes, walking for more than 15 minutes and sitting for more than 30 minutes.
“Extensive video and photographic evidence from Ragusa’s wife’s Instagram account show that beginning in 2017, Ragusa began a physical transformation into a bodybuilder,” James noted. “Additionally, from January 2015 to 2020, in hearings and written reports to determine his eligibility, Ragusa maintained his eligibility despite continuing to run a business and lift weights.”
Ragusa, 50, of Huntington, Florida, was arraigned on Thursday and charged with second-degree larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.
“Disability benefits exist to help those who need a safety net when their bodies cannot fulfill day-to-day obligations,” said James. “While cheating the state out of thousands of dollars, Anthony Ragusa was simultaneously running a business and posing for pictures of his bodybuilding on the internet. Fraudulently collecting these benefits was not only a shameful slap in the face to those who actually live with disabilities, but a vast waste of taxpayer dollars. My office will not hesitate to pursue those who defraud our system and saddle our state with debt.”