After being caught and recorded working in various flea markets across Manhattan and Brooklyn, a former USPS driver has now been arrested for fraud after claiming over $160,000 in disability benefits. Despite his claims of neck and back pain, Joseph Penatello was seen carrying heavy objects on multiple occasions. After being arrested, Penatello was taken into custody, and the case will now be processed in the coming months.
The story begins in 2001 where Penatello injured his neck and back while working for the USPS; the details in the complaint weren’t clear of how the injury occurred. While the benefits were justified in the early stages, Penatello continued to interact with the Department of Labor by sending documents and suggesting he was unable to work. Between March 2014 and April 2018, he claimed full disability; something the prosecutors say was entirely false.
During this same period, Penatello was recorded on numerous occasions working across Manhattan and Brooklyn in various flea markets. Not only did the USPS special agents catch him carrying heavy objects, but they also obtained footage of him driving, standing for long periods, and more. One undercover agent even filmed Penatello talking about his strenuous five-day working week where some days would see him work up to 12 hours.
If convicted for fraudulently claiming $160,000 in disability benefits, Penatello could be imprisoned for around five years.