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80 from New York police and fire forces are charged in Social Security fraud

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NEW YORK — The retired New York City police officers and firefighters showed up to their psychiatric exams disheveled and disoriented, most following a nearly identical script.

They had been coached on how to fail memory tests, feign panic attacks and, if they had worked during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to talk about their fear of airplanes and entering skyscrapers, prosecutors said. And they were told to make it clear they could not leave the house, much less find a job.

But their Facebook pages told investigators a starkly different story, according to an indictment and other court papers.

Scores of those charged in the case essentially stole in plain sight, according to a 205-count indictment and a bail letter, collecting between $30,000 and $50,000 a year based on fabricated claims that they were completely incapacitated by serious psychiatric disorders. Many said their actions in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were responsible for their psychiatric conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression.

But their Facebook pages and other websites, according to the court papers, tell a starkly different story.

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