OGDENSBURG A St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. employee has admitted in federal court that he defrauded the U.S. Department of Labor of nearly $85,000 by collecting disability benefits while running his own company.
Thomas Schneller, 53, a millwright with the U.S. Department of Transportation working for the Seaway corporation, pleaded guilty July 3 in U.S. District Court, Utica, to workers compensation fraud. He admitted receiving $84,987 in benefits by making false statements and representations to obtain the benefits, according to the U.S. attorneys office.
The office said Mr. Schneller admitted he falsely represented that he was not employed, self-employed or involved in any business enterprise between August 2006 and November 2008 when he was collecting federal workers compensation benefits. At the time, Mr. Schneller worked for his own company, AKJ Marine, a marine contracting firm that specialized in docks, boat lifts, seawalls and pile-driving along the St. Lawrence River.
Mr. Schneller faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing Nov. 16. He remains free on his own recognizance.