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Pasco karate instructor among dozens arrested for disability fraud

11:37 PM, Jan 7, 2014   |    comments
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Screenshot of Facebook photo of Louis Hurtado, a Tampa area man among many September 11, 2001 first responders accused of disability fraud.


St. Petersburg, Florida - Louis Hurtado, the owner of VIP Karate in Odessa, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with Social Security fraud.

"It's having an effect on me as his student, as a man, as a father, as a human being. It's tremendously devastating at this moment," said Joseph Mentor, a chief instructor at VIP Karate.

Hurtado, a retired New York City police officer, claimed to be disabled while collecting $470,395.20 between 1989 and 2013, even though he can be seen in instructional videos as a 6th degree black belt.

Hurtado is one of the 106 people indicted by Manhattan's district attorney in the fraud scheme.

STORY: NYC ex-first responders charged with disability fraud

Seventy-two of them, like Hurtado, were New York City police officers.

"As a New Yorker and a U.S. citizen, I can only express disgust. These officers have disgraced themselves and their families," said New York City Commissioner William Bratton.

Some of those indicted claimed that their disabilities were the results of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

"The idea many chose the events of 9/11 to claim as the basis of their disability brings further dishonor on themselves," said Commissioner Bratton.

It apparently wasn't that hard to figure out that some of the suspects were faking the symptoms. Photos posted on the Internet showed one man who claimed he was housebound on a personalized watercraft. Another video posted online showed a man reeling in a marlin while out on a fishing trip, but he was receiving benefits because he claimed to be too depressed to go outside.

Another person who now lives in the Bay area was on the list of those indicted. James Matamoros, who has an address listed in Seffner, allegedly bilked SSDI out of $79,561.00 between Sept. 2010 and June 13, 2014.

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