Former officer convicted in fraud case wants pension back

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -A former Metro police officer who plead guilty in a benefits fraud case now wants his pension reinstated.

James Cooper Jr. worked as a Metro officer for 18 years, until he went out on an in-line-of-duty disability pension in 1981. He continued to collect his benefits even after he moved to California and got a job working as a patrol officer with the San Jacinto Police Department.

Cooper passed a rigorous physical exam to prove he was fit for police work, even though Metro had considered him unable to work. Cooper collected $897 per month for ten years for a back injury he suffered on duty with the Metro Police Department.

After a Channel 4 I-Team investigation in 1996, Cooper plead guilty to four counts of misdemeanor theft and paid back $73,000.

Cooper broke a city law when he lied to Metro on annual questionnaires that ask if a pensioner is working any other jobs. For at least three years, Cooper said no.

“I did falsify that. But I didn’t steal money from them. There’s a difference,” Cooper told Channel 4.

Now he wants Metro to give him a service pension for the 18 years he spent on the force before he started collecting disability payments.


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