NYC corrections officers charged with faking medical documents to stay on leave for over a year, write a comic book

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Riker’s Island, NY: Three New York City corrections officer’s have been charged with feigning illnesses and faking ailments to remain on leave for more than a year while their department is suffering from critical staffing shortages.

The three corrections officers defrauded the sick leave program, which is unlimited, by providing false medical documents and faked appointments. They fraudulently obtained full salaries, in one of the cases for well over a year, while their peers were forced to work in understaffed conditions.

Officers Steven Cange, 49, Eduardo Trinidad, 42, and Monica Coaxum, 36, were booked on last week, November 10, and are set to appear in federal court.

Officer Cange

Officer Cange was the senior of the three officers. His sick leave hinged on Covid related issues. According to New York Post column covering the story, it stated:

Cange, who was pulling in more than $160,000 per year, went out on sick leave in March 2021, claiming he suffered debilitating side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, according to his criminal complaint.”

He continued his sick leave racket by acquiring and allegedly provided over 100 fake medical slips issued to him by a physical therapy center. He also reported numerous doctor’s appointments over the course of his sick leave. Investigators however stated that medical records from providers showed no appointments ever took place.

NYC corrections officers charged with faking medical documents to stay on leave for over a year, write a comic book
An overhead view of Rikers Island. Image screenshot of NBC News YouTube channel

The complain filed also stated that Cange used the sick leave time to produce and publish a comic book.

According to the NY Post column, it stated:

“He even boasted about it on Instagram, writing ‘just had an amazing meeting for [his] book’ and later announced the release on the social network, the complaints say.”

It continued:

“The comic, ‘Cure for Utopia,’ is set in a dystopian future in which crime and disease have nearly been eliminated while its protagonist is driven to kill without remorse.”

He’s been on sick leave since March 2021, the longest of the three.

NYC corrections officers charged with faking medical documents to stay on leave for over a year, write a comic book

Officer Coaxum

Coaxum, with an annual salary of $80,000 was on sick leave for approximately 14 months. Investigators claim they have caught her out and about partying when she should have been home.

Although, some law enforcement officers everywhere have taken ‘mental health days’ to go about their business to enjoy themselves, Coaxum admitted to officials that she forged 50 fake medical documents to justify her medical issues.

Officer Trinidad

Trinidad, also Coaxum’s fiancée, was on sick leave since June 2021. The sick leave type he was under required him to report to medical appointments overseen by the Department of Corrections officials.

So he got creative.

According to the NY Post column:

NYC corrections officers charged with faking medical documents to stay on leave for over a year, write a comic book

Rikers officers. Image courtesy of the DOJ.“Trinidad, Coaxum’s fiancee, faked injuries to stay out between June 2021 and November 2022 by showing up to medical appointments with the city Department of Correction ‘wearing some combination of a sling, cane, and/or boot,’ according to the couple’s indictment.”

It continued:

“Investigators, though, captured Trinidad at home doing work on his house and even going bowling while out on leave, officials said.”

The couple were also caught traveling both internationally and throughout the states.

Staffing Crisis

The Department of Corrections officials have reported a staffing crisis since the onset of Covid. They were forced to shut down housing units within Riker’s Island to consolidate staff within the prison.

Actions like these greatly contribute to the safety of all the officer’s who are reporting for duty. By closing housing units, you are increasing the ratio of inmates to staff members, creating deplorable and unsafe conditions.

Not only are officer’s even more outnumbered but closing the proximity between inmates could add to their overall stress and lead to violent encounters that jeopardize everyone’s safety.

Rikers Island Inmate
Video captured a brawl between a Rikers Island corrections officer and an inmate. (Screenshots New York Post video)

The overall lesson here is that abusing sick leave has consequences. It’s one thing to take a rare sick day every now again to get yourself together or attend a child’s function.

But it is something entirely different to add to the stress and pressures almost every correctional officer goes through on a regular basis. Dealing with inmates with mental health issues, violent tendencies and unpredictable behavior wreaks havoc on correctional officers.

The last thing they need is another stressor from co-workers abusing the system. Especially from those who are willing to fake medical documents to further their own personal agendas.

If you ever consider abusing a sick leave program, think about your brothers and sisters in blue first.

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NYC corrections officers charged with faking medical documents to stay on leave for over a year, write a comic book

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