Report Found NJ Has No Disability Fraud Investigators

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Hamilton, New Jersey police officer who retired on permanent disability was caught red-handed.

Joseph Derrico, a former Hamilton, N.J. police officer has been working as a repo man on a truTV reality show.

The retired officer was seen on “Bear Swamp Recovery” pulling a driver out of a truck and tackling him to the ground.

An investigation by the group New Jersey Watchdog looked into the retired cop and discovered Derrico earned $70,000 a year from the state of New Jersey in a disability pension.

Mark Lagerkvist with New Jersey Watchdog said Derrico is on disability for a leg injury.

“The state considered him to be totally and permanently disabled. But if somebody is able to run, wrestle, move like that, the question is are they really disabled?” Lagerkvist told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot.

Lagerkvist added the state pension is tax-free money.

“And that’s just the first part of it. At the point in time that he retired, he was under indictment,” Lagerkvist told Cabot. “For some reason, the information didn’t get to the pension people. The pension board approved his pension not knowing that he was under indictment or that he was under suspension from his job.”

Lagerkvist said cases like this are likely not isolated, one-off incidents. He noted that with 5,400 police officers on disability in the state of New Jersey.

“Many of them are legitimately disabled and some, they don’t know. Because the state has no investigators to look into disability fraud,” Lagerkvist told Cabot. “You have an $80 billion pension system and not a single investigator who into disability fraud.”

New Jersey Watchdog also recently uncovered widespread and costly double-dipping among retired New Jersey police officers.

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