3 NYC corrections officers held for faking sick leave 'over a year' to write comic book, party, go bowling

The arrests came amid a staffing crisis in NYC, and these officers managed to get a full salary while being on sick leave

3 NYC corrections officers held for faking sick leave 'over a year' to write comic book, party, go bowling
Eduardo Trinidad was seen doing home repairs and bowling during the time that he was on sick leave (DOJ)
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NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: The authorities have nabbed three NYC corrections officers after they confessed to faking their ailments for pursuing their respective interests. As per city and federal officials, officers Steven Cange, 49, Eduardo Trinidad, 42, and Monica Coaxum, 36, were booked on Thursday morning, November 10, and were set to appear in federal court.

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The arrests came amid a staffing crisis in the city, and while the department battled with the challenge, these officers managed to get a full salary while being on sick leave. “As alleged, in the midst of an ongoing staffing crisis at Rikers Island, the defendants defrauded New Yorkers by fraudulently obtaining their full salaries while taking over a year of sick leave,” United States Attorney Breon Peace revealed in a statement. The most senior of the three officers, Cange, was on sick leave since March 2021, and as per the criminal complaint, he claimed to be experiencing incapacitating Covid-19 vaccine side effects.

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Steven Cange, Eduardo Trinidad and Monica Coaxum (DOJ)
Steven Cange, Eduardo Trinidad and Monica Coaxum confessed to faking their ailments (DOJ)

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At the same time, he was costing the department $160,000 per year in salary, and pulled up the conspiracy by submitting over 100 fake slips from physical therapy and other doctors for appointments. However, Cange got busted when the records were summoned from the medical providers, and it was found that the actual appointments never took place. The complaint further revealed that Cange during this period pursued "his interest in comic books."

The 49-year-old didn’t stop himself from boasting about it on Instagram, where he wrote, “just had an amazing meeting for [his] book.” The complaint also mentioned that he announced the release of his comic book ‘Cure for Utopia’ on the social network later, which is based on a future dystopian society with nearly no crime and disease. The protagonist in the story is a remorseless killer, as per the New York Post.

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The other accused Monica Coaxum was on official leave from March 2021 to May 2022 using her fake injuries, during which she received $80,000 salary on an annual basis. The correctional staffer was found to be outside her house at parties when she should have been at home. During the questioning, she confessed to having presented around 50 fake medical documents. Coaxum used these to support her claim about injury leave and revealed another criminal complaint.

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Coaxum’s fiancee and the third officer, Eduardo Trinidad also faked injuries to stay away from work between June 2021 and November 2022 with the assistance of medical appointments with the city Department of Correction. He had been doing repairs to his home around the time that he was on leave, and was also seen bowling. The couple’s indictment revealed he wore, "a combination of a sling, cane, and or boot,” when he showed up for his medical appointments.

“As charged, these New York City Correction Officers feigned illness and submitted false medical documentation to take sick leave during a staffing crisis, defrauding the City of New York of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said city DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber. “Today’s arrests hold these Correction Officers accountable for the shameful dereliction of duty alleged in the Complaints,” she added.

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According to the report, as part of their contract, city correctional officers are entitled to unlimited sick leave.

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