TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a former teacher in the Piscataway School District was sentenced to prison today for stealing nearly $249,000 by fraudulently collecting a disability pension from the State of New Jersey while he was teaching in other states.
John A. Brishcar, 59, of Front Royal, Virginia, was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Timothy P. Lydon in Mercer County. Brishcar pleaded guilty on Feb. 3 to a charge of second-degree theft by deception. He must pay full restitution of $248,960 and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. Brishcar was charged in an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, which resulted from a referral by the Pension Fraud & Abuse Unit in the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits.
Deputy Attorney General Mallory Shanahan prosecuted Brischar and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.
In pleading guilty, Brischar admitted that he deliberately deceived the Division of Pensions and Benefits by submitting an application for disability retirement that created the false impression that he was incapacitated for further service as a teacher, when in fact he was working as a substitute teacher in West Virginia and later worked as a full-time teacher in Virginia.
“Brishcar fraudulently collected nearly a quarter of a million dollars from a disability pension over the course of a decade, but his only real disability was a complete lack of honesty and ethics,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “We’re issuing fair warning with this sentence that anyone who feigns a disability to steal funds intended for legitimate pensioners will end up in prison.”
“Brishcar demonstrated just how costly fraud can be to public pension systems,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’ll continue to work with the Division of Pensions and Benefits to send these scammers to prison, and we urge anyone with information about such fraud to contact us confidentially.”
Acting Attorney General Hoffman and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free tip line 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to confidentially report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities. The public also can log on to the Division’s webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing.
Brishcar formerly was employed as a middle school science teacher by the Piscataway Board of Education. In 2003, he submitted an application for disability retirement claiming that he was incapacitated for further service as a teacher due to “prolonged stress and chronic back pain.” The application was approved in 2004, with an effective date of Sept. 1, 2003, based on medical records submitted by Brishcar and an independent medical examination. As a result of the application, Brishcar received monthly disability payments from the State of New Jersey totaling $248,960.
The state investigation began when the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits learned that Brishcar was working full-time as a teacher in Virginia while collecting his disability pension. Brishcar began substitute teaching in West Virginia prior to his application for disability benefits in New Jersey, working 105 days during the 2003-2004 school year. He continued to substitute teach until September 2005, when he accepted a full-time teaching position in Virginia, which he continues to hold. Brishcar currently is suspended from his job in Virginia. By concealing his employment, Brischar fraudulently collected disability pension payments from the State of New Jersey that he was not entitled to receive.
The case was investigated for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau by Detective Matthew Burd, Detective Kiersten Pentony and Sgt. Jim Scott. Acting Attorney General Hoffman thanked the Division of Pensions and Benefits for their referral and valuable assistance. The case was investigated for the Division of Pensions and Benefits by Timothy McMullen, Chief of Budget & Compliance; Michael Czyzyk and Sunanda Rana of the Office of External Audit; and Marc Greenfield of the Pension Fraud & Abuse Unit.