A retired Buffalo police officer has pleaded guilty to defrauding his Injured On Duty status.
Patrick O’Mara, 52, was placed on IOD with the department back in 2004 for injuries he sustained on the job. He was ordered to return to light duty months later.
He claimed another injury the following year while doing office work and remained on IOD until he retired in 2012. During that time, O'Mara was witnessed using a cane at times, but walking without a limp other times. He was also found to be working as a church organist, despite claiming an arm injury.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Trini Ross says O’Mara received his full pay from the time he was told to return to work on light duty until his retirement.
"The reasons that he gave for not going back to light duty was the lack of use of his right hand, that he could not lift the telephone, he couldn't do the light duty requirements that were asked of him, including reviewing computer films from the cameras around the city, things that would require use of his right hand," Ross said Monday.
At his administrative hearing, O'Mara called the light duty desk work "demeaning" and said he considered it a punishment. U.S Attorney William Hochul says the former officer abused the program and defrauded taxpayers.
"He admitted that even though he collected what, in our view, is over $100,000 in Injured On Duty funds, that he was, in fact, able to work and not be depriving the system of those monies," Hochul said.
O'Mara will be sentenced in July. His wire fraud plea carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.