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A New York bodybuilder allegedly spent years collecting disability benefits by claiming he was in no shape to work – all while running a limousine business and pumping iron, the state’s top prosecutor announced Thursday.
Attorney General Letitia James said investigators caught onto the ruse after seeing Anthony Ragusa’s fit form on the Instagram account of his wife, International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness pro Loly Ragusa. She even tagged his business in some of the posts.
“Disability benefits exist to help those who need a safety net when their bodies cannot fulfill day-to-day obligations,” James said in a statement. “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.”
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Photos show the barrel-chested Ragusa, of Huntington, N.Y., posing with his wife in the gym, at the beach and elsewhere.
In one November 2019 image, she describes him as her “partner in crime.” If only she knew.
Prosecutors said Ragusa initially filed for disability benefits in 2013, when he said he fell while working as an electrician and suffered severe injuries that made it difficult to put on shoes, walk for more than 15 minutes or even sit for more than a half-hour at a time.
He also said he suffered from severe pain that made working in any capacity impossible. But he allegedly continued to own and operate the White Star Limousine company, based in New Hyde Park.
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Between 2015 and 2020, he reiterated his claims of disability, prosecutors alleged.
Then in 2017 he “began a physical transformation into a bodybuilder,” according to the attorney general’s office, citing “extensive video and photographic evidence” on his wife’s Instagram.
For his efforts, he now faces felony charges of grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. He was released on his own recognizance, or without bail.
Ragusa’s attorney did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.