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New York letter carrier and her husband admit to workers comp fraud

Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, announced today that TRACEY RAPONI, age 41, and GALE RAPONI, age 56, of Martville, New York entered guilty pleas Monday, April 30, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Syracuse, New York before the Hon. Norman A. Mordue, U.S. District Court Judge.

TRACEY RAPONI, a letter carrier with the U.S. Post Office in Fulton, N.Y., admitted to defrauding the U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Department of Labor of $326,467.88 by making false statements and representations to obtain federal workers compensation benefits. The offense carries a maximum sentence of 5 years incarceration, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of three years, and a special assessment of $100.

GALE RAPONI, husband of TRACEY RAPONI, admitted to making a false statement in connection with his wife’s receipt of federal workers compensation benefits. The offense carries a maximum sentence of 5 years incarceration, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of three years, and a special assessment of $100.

In entering her guilty plea, TRACEY RAPONI admitted in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1920, that she falsely represented that she was not employed, self-employed, or involved in a business enterprise during a period that she was collecting workers compensation benefits. In fact, TRACEY RAPONI, worked for Tuff-N-Uff Kennels, a dog breeding, boarding, and training business owned by her husband GALE RAPONI.

GALE RAPONI admitted in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, that he told a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Labor that his wife had nothing to do with Tuff-N-Uff Kennels, when in truth, as GALE RAPONI well knew, TRACEY RAPONI worked for and at Tuff-N-Uff Kennels breeding dogs, exercising dogs, receiving fees for kennel services, registering dogs, vaccinating dogs, administering medications to dogs, transporting dogs to and from veterinary offices, and writing
checks for goods and services utilized in the kennel’s business.

Sentencing has been set for September 12, 2012, in Syracuse, New York.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.