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From remarks by Joseph Esposito, a retired New York City police officer, during a wiretapped phone conversation with another former city employee. Esposito was accused in January of helping some thousand people file false Social Security disability claims over a period of more than twenty-five years, resulting in an estimated $400 million in fraudulent payouts.

Okay. When you get there, usually the first question they ask is, “How did you get here?” You’re gonna say, “My sister drove me.” The next question they generally ask is, “Who does the cooking, cleaning, shopping in your house?” You’re gonna say, “My mother.” When you get to see the doctor, he’s gonna ask you questions. He’s not trying to trick you. They just want to see if you can concentrate. They’ll say, “But what do you do with yourself all day? How do you spend your day?” You’re gonna tell ’em, “I don’t sleep well at night. I’m up three, four times. Usually I nap on and off during the day. I put the television on, you know, I keep changing channels ’cause I, I can’t concentrate on the television. Just, just to hear a voice in the house.” And they’re liable to say, “Spell the word ‘world,’ ” so you go, “W-R-L-D.” Then they’re gonna say, “Spell it backwards.” You think about it, and you can’t spell it backwards. Then they’re liable to say, “From a hundred, subtract seven.” You know, a hundred, ninety-three, and then you’re trying to concentrate, and make it eighty-six or eighty-five, you know. You’re not too sure. Then they might tell you, “I’m going to tell you three things to remember: a spoon, a fork, and a dish,” and they’re going to ask you later on in the conversation to remember them. You remember one of them. When you’re talking to the guy, don’t look directly at him. Put your head down now and then. Don’t answer right away. Pause for a second. You’re just trying to show that, you know, you’re depressed. Can you pretend you have panic attacks?

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March 2014

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