NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city firefighter who was facing more than 30 criminal counts, from drug distribution to collecting disability paychecks while working, has copped a plea deal with prosecutors that could land him eight years in prison.
Dell Walker pleaded guilty late last month to official misconduct, insurance fraud, possession of cocaine and shoplifting, according to documents obtained from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop a number of charges related to heroin, theft by deception and forgery.
If a judge accepts the plea agreement, Walker would serve eight years in prison. He would not be eligible for parole for the first two years.
He would also surrender his job as a New Brunswick firefighter, be barred from future public employment and pay $53,265 in restitution to Aflac for a disability insurance scam.
“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute corruption and official misconduct,” Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said in a statement to TAPinto New Brunswick. “Furthermore, we encourage those with knowledge of such activities to do the right thing and report such crimes.”
Sentencing is scheduled for April 7 before state Superior Court Judge Joseph Paone. He may choose to reject the plea agreement, which could lead to Walker spending decades in prison or taking his case before a jury.
Walker, a 55-year-old former San Diego Charger football player, has been a city firefighter for roughly 20 years. He has been suspended without pay since late 2015.
Police most recently arrested Walker for cocaine possession in October 2016, according to documents from the prosecutor’s office.
He pleaded guilty to that charge, agreeing to serve three years in prison.
Walker was also arrested in August 2016 on heroin charges, including possession, possession with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute near Redshaw Elementary School, and conspiring with others to get and sell heroin.
All of those charges will be dropped under the terms of the plea agreement, according to court documents.
Police arrested Walker, his son of the same name and two other men during that August 2016 raid. It’s unclear if the elder Walker agreed to testify against any of his alleged co-conspirators.
In December 2015, Walker was booked for shoplifting from a Toys ‘R’ Us in East Brunswick, according to the documents.
He pleaded guilty to shoplifting. That earned him another three years behind bars, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The indictment that levied the most charges against Walker stemmed from an insurance fraud scheme that he pulled off for more than two years, from May 2013 through November 2015.
Walker forged a number of signatures, including that of New Brunswick’s personnel manager and several doctors, to illegally obtain disability insurance, according to the prosecutor’s office. But he continued to work for the fire department during that time.
Once revealed, the scheme led cops to slap him with two counts of official misconduct, pattern of official misconduct, insurance fraud, theft by deception and 24 separate counts of forgery, according to the documents.
As a result of the plea deal, Walker admitted to insurance fraud and one count of official misconduct.
The prosecution dismissed the rest of the charges in that indictment.
Repeated attempts to reach Walker’s attorney, public defender Jacqueline Boulos, were unsuccessful. A home phone number registered in his name has been disconnected.