NEW BRUNSWICK — A 23-year member of the city Fire Department was charged this week with filing bogus disability claims and trying to defraud a drug test.

This is the second time in as many years that a city firefighter has been charged in a disability scam.

Richard Patterson, 45, was charged with two counts of insurance fraud, two counts of theft by deception, 14 counts of forgery, 14 counts of uttering a fraudulent insurance claim form, unlawful possession of prescription pills and attempting to defraud a drug test.

Patterson filed false insurance disability claims, forging the signatures of his doctor and superior officer, several times between Aug. 3, 2010 and Oct. 15, 2015, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said Friday.

He collected a total of $5,500, authorities said.

Patterson was collecting a base salary of $64,155, not including overtime.

Last year, the prosecutor charged firefighter Dell Walker with stealing $42,000 since 2013 by filing a phony disability claim even though he continued to work for the city.

Patterson's arrest, meanwhile, comes the same week as the arrest of four employees of the city's Parking Authority. Those workers were charged with bribery and taking money from people to illegally park their cars.

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