September 3, 2013

Pittston man ordered to pay back railroad retirement money

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

BANGOR — After retiring from a career of working on the railroad and starting his pension, Gerald E. “Beetle” Bailey returned to railway work, a career choice that landed him in federal court.

Bailey, 69, of Pittston, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to three years’ probation and ordered to pay restitution of almost $83,400 in railroad retirement funds he received after he went back to working on a railroad.

Bailey had pleaded guilty April 23 in the same court to a complaint charging him with theft of federal pension funds.

According to court documents, Bailey retired from Springfield Terminal Railway on July 31, 2004, and applied for his pension under the Railroad Retirement Act.

The application noted that a condition for receipt of the pension barred him from receiving income for railroad work and made him ineligible for the pension in any months he worked for a railroad, according to the prosecution’s version of events.

The same document says Bailey returned to work by Sept. 27, 2007, for Maine Eastern Railroad using someone else’s name and Social Security number on his time cards and received almost $60,000.

“Defendant’s railroad work rendered him ineligible for the $83,398.80 in (railroad) annuity payments he received while he was working for Maine Eastern,” wrote the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Fisk Malone.   

Bailey’s attorney, Charles W. Hodsdon, said Bailey was encouraged to return to work by Gordon Fuller, who is facing fraud charges in New Jersey and that Bailey worked under his wife’s name.

“He did it for four years. Then he quit,” Hodsdon said. “His conscience got the better of him, and he quit.”

Bailey had no prior criminal record.

“He worked hard and took care of his family,” Hodsdon said on Tuesday. “The problem was he went back to work at the one job he couldn’t go back to.”

Hodsdon said Bailey used the money to pay medical bills for his wife.

Hodsdon said one of Bailey’s former supervisors at the railroad, Tom Hall, spoke at the sentencing hearing in support of Bailey and spoke about his good work ethic.

“Obviously we’re pleased with sentence, because it’s probation,” Hodsdon said.

Malone said Tuesday the judge told Bailey to make a good-faith effort to repay the money.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. ordered Bailey to see a credit counselor and to work out a monthly payment plan for restitution with his probation officer.

Malone said Bailey did not address the judge on Tuesday.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
badams@mainetoday.com

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