An MBTA trolley operator has been charged with staging a fake assault in order to fraudulently collect workers' compensation and disability insurance.
Thomas Lucey, 46, of Saugus, Massachusetts, was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury Wednesday on two counts of insurance fraud and one count apiece of workers' compensation fraud, misleading a police investigation and perjury.
Prosecutors said Lucey paid an associate to attack him on the job on Oct. 30, 2016. The phony assault allegedly occurred shortly after midnight at Cedar Grove Station on the Mattapan Trolley Line.
A man in dark coveralls wearing a "Michael Myers" Halloween mask and carrying a plastic pumpkin boarded the trolley and allegedly attacked Lucey, the operator. Lucey told MBTA Transit Police that the assailant pulled him out of the trolley and punched him repeatedly as he lay on the ground before fleeing the area. Lucey was taken to Carney Hospital after the assault and released later that morning.
Gov. Charlie Baker publicly condemned the attack at the time, calling it "senseless" and offering thoughts and prayers for Lucey.
MBTA Transit Police officers collected the plastic pumpkin left behind by the alleged assailant as he fled. Fingerprints lifted from the pumpkin led to an acquaintance of Lucey, who cooperated with the investigation, saying that Lucey paid him $2,000 for his part in the planned attack. Bank and phone records also confirmed that the two had communicated before and after the assault.
In the aftermath of the assault, Lucey filed paperwork to receive workers' compensation. That paperwork allegedly included false statements about the assault. He also received long-term disability insurance, citing post-traumatic stress resulting from the incident.
"Effective investigators follow the evidence wherever it leads," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said. "Here, it led us away from first appearances and toward a staged assault for financial gain. We allege that this was a deliberate deception and a crime. Every dollar spent on a fraudulent claim is a dollar that can’t go to someone who deserved it."
Lucey is scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on March 20. His attorney, Steven Borelli, could not immediately be reached for comment.