NJ firefighter gets prison after collecting disability while practicing jiu jitsu
CAMDEN – A retired city firefighter who taught and practiced martial arts even though he collected a public disability pension has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Shane B. Streater, 41, also was ordered to repay $82,488 to the state pension system and has been barred from public employment in the state following his conviction by a Camden County jury in April on a second-degree theft by deception charge.
“This was one of the most egregious cases of pension fraud in recent memory,” Acting Attorney General Christopher Porrino said Friday. “Streater added insult to feigned injury by competing in mixed martial arts while his former colleagues risked their lives fighting fires in Camden.”
Streater applied for an accidental disability pension in 2009, claiming back and neck injuries from a 2008 accident in which a car hit his firetruck and a 2007 accident in which his firetruck hit a pothole.
Although an independent doctor concluded he was disabled, the doctor said it was a result of a preexisting condition and he was awarded an ordinary disability pension in January 2010.
Not satisfied, Streater appealed so that he could obtain the untaxed accidental disability pension that would equal two thirds of his salary rather than the taxable amount totaling 40 percent of his salary.
Investigators, however, found that Streater was teaching jiu jitsu two or more times a week at a mixed martial arts academy, won a bronze medal in a martial arts tournament in June 2010, and was awarded a black belt in jiu jitsu while collecting the disability pension, prosecutors said.
State officials say the public can report fraud and corruption to 1-866-TIPS-4CJ or at www.njdcj.org.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.