TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie today signed an executive order creating an investigative unit tasked with rooting out public employee pension and disability benefit fraud.
Jim Scott, a former criminal investigator with the Internal Revenue Service, will leave the state Attorney General’s Office to head the new unit, according to the governor’s office.
“We’ve taken historic, bipartisan action to fix a broken public pension system that would have been insolvent in a matter of years without bold intervention. This is a serious and significant new step to protect the integrity of the system and guard every taxpayer dollar and employee contribution from fraud and abuse,” Christie in a statement. “Siphoning of pension and disability benefits by fraud or ineligibility hurts everyone, including honest current and future pensioners and, above all, New Jersey taxpayers who support the system and expect it to be fair and free of fraud.”
“Governor Christie’s aggressive Pension Fraud and Abuse Unit is a vital component to ensuring the recovery and solvency of New Jersey’s pension and benefits systems, which are constantly under attack by those who defraud and steal from the people in the most despicable way,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr.
The Pension Fraud and Abuse Unit will work closely and coordinate with the Division of Pensions and Benefits in the Treasury Department and the Attorney General’s Office and will also take referrals from the Office of the State Comptroller, under Matt Boxer. The unit will recommend all civil and criminal remedies available under the law and petition the appropriate boards as needed for denial of a pension or disability application or revocation of an improperly granted benefit. The agencies will meet regularly to coordinate and ensure maximum cooperation in their work, according to the governor’s office.
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