As reported by NJ.com, on August 7, 2013, Governor Christie signed an executive order creating a new investigatory unit to uncover alleged pension fraud and disability fraud perpetrated by public employees across the State of New Jersey. The Governor’s Office stated that the new unit would work side by side with the Attorney General’s Office to undertake investigations of pension and disability fraud and ineligibility. Additionally, the unit will attempt to develop new ways to curb alleged wrongdoing by individuals who commit pension disability fraud. Christie made it a point to state that if wrongdoing is found, cases will be referred for Civil and/or Criminal prosecution.
Since the decision in Richardson v PFRS, 192 N.J 189 (2007), public officials across the State of New Jersey have complained that the award of accidental and ordinary disability pensions have been on the rise. As a result of the rise in claims, and/or awards, there has been more notice and investigation of alleged pension and disability fraud. Based on the creation of this new unit, all public employees who are considering filing for accidental and/or ordinary disability benefits must be aware that the reasons behind their alleged disability will be scrutinized by a separate investigatory body if there is any possibility that their claims are being made in a fraudulent manner.