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Former private detective gets 23 months in federal prison for Social Security disability scam

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A private detective from Saddle Brook was sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison today for collecting more than $144,000 in Social Security disability payments while continuing to do work that he claimed he couldn’t.

David Disney, 46, the former owner of DM Disney & Associates, previously pleaded guilty a day into his trial for stealing government funds.

Disney applied for disability insurance payments in the fall of 2003 as a result of a head injury he suffered in January of that year, records show. In his application, Disney claimed an inability to work,v take care of himself or his finances, or even to concentrate for more than five minutes.

Based on that application, Disney and his two dependent children were deemed eligible for monthly disability benefit payments to replace his lost income, U.S. Attorney Paul S. Fishman said.

“By signing the application, Disney agreed to notify the Social Security Administration if there was any improvement in his medical condition or if he regained the ability to work and earn income,” the U.S. attorney said.

For five years, Disney nonetheless “continued to perform surveillance for clients of DM Disney & Associates, marketed his business through personal appearances on ‘The Maury Povich Show,’ testified before the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board on behalf of clients and even applied to renew his New Jersey Private Detective License and purchase a handgun,” Fishman said.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Faith S. Hochberg sentenced Disney to serve two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine and $144,000 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.

Fishman credited special agents of the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General with making the case, handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle Alfonzo Walsman and Osmar J. Benvenuto of his Criminal Division in Newark.

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