Attorney General Tong Moves to Revoke or Reduce Pensions of Former Bridgeport Police Chief and Personnel Director(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong has moved to revoke or reduce the pensions of former Bridgeport Police Chief Armando “A.J.” Perez and Personnel Director David Dunn following federal guilty pleas involving the scheme to award Perez the Chief of Police position under false and fraudulent pretenses. Both men have pleaded guilty to federal Wire Fraud and False Statements charges.
Perez currently receives a $102,072.36 annual pension through the Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS). Dunn receives a $80,769.24 pension through MERS.
“Perez and Dunn abused their positions for personal gain. As a police officer, A.J. Perez had the highest ethical duty to obey and respect the law, making his misconduct particularly unconscionable. State law requires that my office take action to revoke or reduce the pension of state or municipal officials convicted of corruption-related charges. Taxpayers should not pay for the pensions of public employees who violate the public trust,” said Attorney General Tong.
Under state statute enacted in 2008, the Attorney General is required to initiate a civil action seeking reduction or revocation of the pension of any state or municipal official who, in state or federal court, is convicted of or pleads guilty to a crime related to their state or municipal office on or after October 1, 2008.
Any state or municipal official convicted on corruption-related charges – defined specifically in the law as embezzling public funds; committing felony theft from the state; bribery in connection with one's service as a state or municipal employee; or committing a felony with intent to defraud in order to obtain a profit, gain or advantage for themselves or someone else – could face court action to reduce or revoke their pension.
In determining whether to revoke or reduce a pension, the court is required to consider the following factors: (1) the severity of the crime; (2) the amount of monetary loss; (3) the degree of public trust reposed in the defendant; (4) if the crime was part of a fraudulent scheme, the role of the defendant in the scheme; and (5) any such other factors as, in the judgment of the court, justice may require.
Assistant Attorneys General Gregory O’Connell, and Michael Cole, chief of the Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department, are assisting the Attorney General with this matter.