Ex-NJ cop admits stealing $321,000 by going on disability, then working as an officer
A former Waldwick police officer has admitted stealing more than more than $321,000 by collecting a disability pension — while he was still working full-time as an officer in Georgia.
John Robert Marion, 44, of Valdosta, Ga., pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of third-degree theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw in Mercer County.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Marion be sentenced to up to 364 days in the county jail as a condition of a term of probation. He must pay full restitution of $321,008 and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.
Hoffman said Marion was employed as a police officer in Waldwick from 1998 through March 2008, when he retired on a disability pension, claiming medical and stress-related conditions. His disability pension was approved in August 2008, but made effective as of April 1, 2008.
Until his pension was terminated earlier this year, Marion collected approximately $3,614 per month in disability pension benefits from the New Jersey Police and Fire Retirement System, Hoffman said.
But officials say that since August 2009, Marion has held successive positions as a law enforcement officer in Georgia with the Clinch County, Echols County and Lowndes County Sheriffs’ Offices. He applied for a Special Agent position with the South Georgia Drug Task Force just four days after his disability pension was approved in New Jersey, Hoffman said.
With the exception of about five months in 2010, he has been continuously employed since August 2009 without any restrictions on his duties, Hoffman said. He currently is employed as an investigator for the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s reprehensible that this officer, who took an oath to uphold the law, fraudulently collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from a disability pension on top of the full-time salary he received in Georgia,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “He selfishly drained away assets that are needed to pay the legitimate pensions of officers who courageously continue to serve the people of New Jersey.”
Marion lied to the Division of Pensions after it learned of his employment in Georgia, saying he hadn't worked except as a store clerk and delivering furniture for a relative, Hoffman said.