Hudson Valley High School Coach, Bus Driver Admits Workers’ Fraud
A Hudson Valley high school girls basketball coach working as a bus driver admitted to collecting almost $17,000 for false injuries.
Tyrone Searight, 49, of Peekskill was charged recently with two counts of workers’ compensation fraudulent practices and one count of grand larceny, felonies.
Searight, the Haldane High School's varsity girls basketball coach, was employed as a bus driver for the MTA Bus Company when he reported a work injury to his left knee on Nov. 7, 2016. After filing paperwork certifying he was unable to work due to the injury, he collected workers’ compensation wage indemnity benefits from December 2016 to May 2017, officials say.
However, the Inspector General’s investigation found while Searight was claiming he was not working and unable to work, he was actually still working as the girls’ varsity basketball coach for the Haldane Central School District in Cold Spring, the Inspector General’s claims.
Between November 2016 and March 2017, Searight was observed coaching the team at games and running practices. Video surveillance showed Searight bending, squatting, pacing, waving his arms and abruptly standing up from the sidelines at several games, officials say.
Searight was terminated from the MTA Bus Company based upon Searight’s work activity while receiving wage replacement benefits.
Searight pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct last week in Ramapo Justice Court. He was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and has paid full restitution of $16,912.92 to the MTA Bus Company, officials say.
“This individual claimed an injury left him unable to work, but was actually coaching on the basketball court,” New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro said. “As this case shows, we continue to fight fraud and abuse of the worker’s compensation system.