NY police officer who sang with metal band pleads guilty to disability fraud

NEW YORK Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:40pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former New York police officer accused of performing on tour with his heavy metal band "Cousin Sleaze" during the two years he claimed disability benefits pleaded guilty on Tuesday to mail fraud, a federal prosecutor said.

Christopher Inserra, 32, who served for five years with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced on August 5 at U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, said U.S. Attorney Robert Nardoza.

He claimed he was unable to perform his police duties because of a work-related injury from June 2010 until March 2012, filing for disability while continuing to collect his $90,000 annual salary, according to court documents.

The officer claimed he hurt his right arm in an on-the-job injury that caused excruciating pain and loss of mobility, according to the documents.

During the same time period, Inserra was the lead singer with the Brooklyn band "Cousin Sleaze," whose "Sick Maniacs" album features such songs as "Infection" and "Walk of Shame," according to court documents.

Video footage of his band performing in Northeast bars and on an East Coast "Miles of Mayhem" show the muscular lead singer in a tank top slashing the air with his well-toned right arm while gripping a microphone, court documents said.

Inserra's lawyer, federal defender Michelle Gelernt, was not immediately available for comment.

The former officer was ordered to forfeit the $30,466 in disability payments he received, and as of Tuesday had paid back $7,500 of it, Nardoza said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Cynthai Osterman)

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