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NJ Police Officer’s Widow Kept Collecting Survivor Payout After Remarrying, Indictment Charges

Mercer County Criminal Courthouse, Trenton
Mercer County Criminal Courthouse, Trenton Photo Credit: GoogleMaps

The widow of a New Jersey police officer continued collecting more than $268,000 in pension benefits for nearly a decade after she remarried, state authorities charged.

Sandra VonScheven, 44, of Hamilton began collecting spousal survivor benefits in 2001 from the pension of her deceased husband, who’d been a retired municipal police officer, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.

Surviving spouses are entitled to the benefit under the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System. Survivor benefits continue for life or until that person remarries.

The state Division of Pensions and Benefits notified authorities in 2019 that VonScheven had continued to collect the money from her late husband’s pension despite the fact that she remarried on Jan. 15, 2010, an indictment returned by a grand jury in Trenton says.

VonScheven was charged with theft following an investigation by the state Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and the Pension and Fraud Abuse Unit of the New Jersey Department of the Treasury’s Division of Pension and Benefits, Grewal said Thursday.

Detective Sonya Carney was lead detective for OPIA, assisted by Deputy Attorney General Mallory Shanahan, the attorney general said.

Deputy Attorneys General John Nicodemo and Adam Gerken presented the case via teleconference to the state grand jury, he said.

Grewal also thanked the Pension and Fraud Abuse Unit of the state Department of the Treasury’s Division of Pension and Benefits for its investigation and referral.

VonScheven remained free while an arraignment was being scheduled.

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