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Press Release

Former Owner Of New Jersey Private Detective Firm Sentenced To Prison For Social Security Disability Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. - A Hunterdon County, N.J., man was sentenced today to 23 months in prison for fraudulently collecting Social Security disability payments while continuing to do work he claimed he was unable to do for his private detective firm, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. 

David Disney, 46, of Alexandria Township and Saddle Brook Township, N.J. – and the former owner of DM Disney & Associates – previously pleaded guilty after one day of trial to one count of theft of government funds contained in the indictment against him. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Faith S. Hochberg, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

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. In his application, Disney claimed an inability to work, 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. 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.

During the time that Disney was receiving disability benefits, he 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. 

Between 2003 and 2008, Disney collected more than $144,000 in monthly disability payments to which he was not entitled by continuing to make false statements to the Social Security Administration and underreporting the income he was earning.

Disney admitted he took the benefits knowing he was not entitled to them.

In addition to the prison term, Judge 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.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Ryan of the New York Field Division, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle Alfonzo Walsman and Osmar J. Benvenuto of the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: James Patton Esq., Livingston, N.J.

Updated March 18, 2015