According to a news report in the Courier-Post, the Pension Fraud and Abuse Unit will work with state agencies to limit fraud and abuse, as well as identify cases for prosecution. The unit will also encourage the public to report fraudulent pension and benefit claims and payments.
“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,” said Christie in the news report. “Siphoning of pension and disability benefits by fraud or ineligibility hurts everyone.”
A report this May revealed more than $23 million in benefits were illegally paid to incarcerated individuals from 2009 to 2011. A similar review in 2012 found that a majority of local governments failed to comply with 2007 state pension laws. In total, 202 attorneys, engineers and other professionals received improper pension credits.
The unit will be housed under the state’s Department of Treasury. Christie has named Jim Scott, a former criminal investigator with the Internal Revenue Service, to head the unit.