Attorney General James Announces Felony Guilty Plea of Former NYPD Detective for Fraudulently Obtaining Disability Benefits

Andrew Albate Fraudulently Collected Disability Payments for Years While Managing a Motorsports Business

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the guilty plea of former New York City Police Department (NYPD) detective Andrew Albate, 53, of Holbrook, Suffolk County, for fraudulently collecting more than $156,000 in disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged that from 2019 to 2022, Albate falsely represented to the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) that he was unable to work and perform daily activities because of injuries sustained in 2003 while he was working for the NYPD. However, while he was collecting disability benefits and purportedly disabled, Albate worked as the general manager of Formula One Motorsports, a motorcycle dealership in Oakdale, New York. 

“Disability benefits are a critical lifeline and source of independence for New Yorkers who cannot otherwise earn a living wage,” said Attorney General James. “Andrew Albate falsely claimed a debilitating injury to cheat the system and steal from taxpayers and those who actually need financial support. His fraudulent scheme is an insult to those living with disabilities, and I am grateful to our partners at SSA for working with us to bring him to justice.” 

“Mr. Albate’s felony guilty plea and agreement to pay full restitution to SSA resulted from the combined work of SSA and the Office of the Inspector General’s Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Unit and partners,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General, Social Security Administration. “The CDI program saves taxpayers’ funds by ensuring that only those who are eligible for Social Security disability benefits receive them. I thank our law enforcement partners for working with us to investigate this fraud and the New York Office of the Attorney General for prosecuting this case.” 

Albate pled guilty yesterday before Judge Steven Pilewski in Suffolk County Supreme Court to one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, in violation of Penal Law §175.35(1). Albate will pay $156,000 in restitution to the SSA. If he fails to complete his restitution on the sentencing date, he faces one year of incarceration. 

According to OAG’s filings and statements made by prosecutors, Albate applied for disability benefits in 2004 due to an on-the-job injury and began receiving disability payments in 2007. Extensive investigative evidence shows that, beginning in 2019, Albate began working full-time as the general manager at a motorcycle dealership. Despite claiming in numerous statements to OTDA and SSA that he was not working and was physically unable to work, Albate did in fact work at Formula One Motorsports five days a week and was paid for his work in cash. As general manager, Albate operated the finance office, managed employees, and handled payroll, all while collecting disability payments based on his alleged inability to work. 

The OAG thanks CDI for their assistance and partnership in this matter, as well as Special Agent in Charge of SSA-OIG Eastern CDI Division Conor Washington and Special Agent Raysa Reynoso. 

The case was investigated for OAG by Detectives Brian Metz and Joseph Buffolino, under the direction of Detective Supervisor Mike Leahy of the Major Investigations Unit. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Oliver Pu-Folkes. Deputy Chief Auditor Sandy Bizzaro oversaw the forensic analysis during this investigation. 

Senior Counsel General Russell Satin is handling the prosecution in this matter, under the supervision of the Public Integrity Bureau Chief Gerard Murphy and Deputy Bureau Chief Kiran Heer, with assistance by Legal Support Analyst Grace Koh. Both the Investigations Bureau and the Public Integrity Bureau are part of the Division for Criminal Justice. The Division for Criminal Justice is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General Jose Maldonado and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.