Doctor pleads guilty in New York rail disability scam

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An orthopedist accused of taking cash payments and billing health insurance companies for fake diagnoses in a widespread disability scam involving suburban New York railroad workers has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.

Dr. Peter Ajemian entered the plea Friday in federal court in Manhattan.

He was among dozens of people arrested in the past two years amid a probe targeting the Long Island Rail Road, which serves Long Island and has 81 million riders a year. Several defendants have pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors accused the doctor of making phony diagnoses so retired rail workers would qualify for more than $90 million in disability benefits. He admits between the late 1990s and 2008 he invented "narratives" about otherwise healthy people. The fraud included collecting health insurance payments for unnecessary treatments.

The doctor's sentencing is set for May 24.