Corrections officers allegedly abused paid sick leave to vacation, party: report

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Three city corrections officers allegedly faked illnesses and took sick leave for over a year while collecting full salary, traveling and partying, prosecutors said.

Steven Cange, 49; Eduardo Trinidad, 42, and Monica Coaxum, 36, were arrested Thursday morning and are expected to appear in federal court.

Cange was put on sick leave in March 2021, claiming he suffered from debilitating side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, prosecutors allege. Cange had a salary of over $160,000.

In addition, Cange had sent in more than 100 fake documents from physical therapy and other doctors, the New York Post reported. A criminal complaint alleges that Cange spent the free time pursuing his interest in comic books.

Coaxum was out on leave from March 2021 to May 2022 stemming from fake injuries, according to complaint obtained by the Post. She was making $80,000 annually and officials allegedly caught her outside of her house parties.

Coaxum admitted to investigators she’d forged 50 fake medical documents justifying her injury leave, The New York Post reported.

Trinidad, Coaxum’s fiance, also faked injuries to stay out of work between June 2021 and November 2022. He allegedly showed up to medical appointments “wearing some combination of a sling, cane, and/or boot,” according to the complaint.

The couple was also caught traveling to the Dominican Republic, Florida and West Virginia.

“As alleged, in the midst of an ongoing staffing crisis at Rikers Island, the defendants defrauded New Yorkers by fraudulently obtaining their full salaries while taking over a year of sick leave,” United States Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

City corrections officers have unlimited sick time as part of their contract.

Union president Benny Boscio condemned the alleged actions.

These are obviously extremely serious allegations and, if true, do not represent the 99% of our officers who are working excessive amounts of overtime without meals to keep our city safe every day,” he said. “COBA does not in any way encourage our members to call out sick without a valid reason and this type of behavior is a gross disservice to their fellow officers.”

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