A Long Island bodybuilder collecting disability insurance for years for a supposedly devastating injury was later caught pumping iron online, and now the dumbbell has to pay the ill-gotten cash back, authorities said.
Anthony Ragusa, 52, pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court to one count of second-degree grand larceny.
The clueless muscleman’s scheme started when he took a spill back in 2013 and claimed his injuries from his fall as an electrician were so severe that he couldn’t work. Ragusa was also the president and owner of WhiteStar Limousine at the time he was collecting benefits.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that Ragusa also claimed he could not sit for longer than 30 minutes or walk for more than 15.
Suspicion rose among investigators in 2017 when Ragusa — all rippling muscles, tattoos and buzz cut — was allegedly seen power-lifting on social media.
Investigators were able to look at photos and video of the ripped Ragusa training for bodybuilding competitions on his wife’s Instagram account, according to the prosecutors. The photos were later deleted.
“His illegal and shameful actions are an insult to those who actually live with disabilities, and I will always take action to bring fraudsters like Ragusa to justice on behalf of the police,” James said in a statement.
Ragusa’s wife, Loly Ragusa, is part of the International Federation of Bodybuilders. Ragusa was an apparent regular at Bev Francis gym in Syosset, which is said to be a “mecca” for bodybuilders.
Prosecutors said Ragusa took benefits from January 2015 until 2020, despite continuing to run a business and pump iron.
Ragusa, who did not return messages seeking comment, must complete five years of probation and pay the Social Security Administration $200,000 in restitution. If he doesn’t comply, he could be benching behind bars for three years.