Criminal Justice

Former judge with too-perfect performance reviews admits faking anxiety to get pension

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A former New Hampshire judge who blamed his faked performance reviews on panic attacks compounded the problem when he cited mental health issues to receive a disability pension.

Paul Moore, who had presided in Nashua Circuit Court, pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempting to defraud the state retirement system, according to a press release, WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader. He was not charged in connection with the phony evaluations.

Moore received a suspended sentence of one year in jail and was fined $4,000. He also agreed to repay $3,900 to the state retirement system.

Prosecutors said suspicions were first aroused when Moore submitted perfect-score performance evaluations said to have been filled out by lawyers and the public, according to the Union Leader. The evaluations from 2008, 2011 and 2014 had a higher return rate than those of other judges, according to Associate Attorney General Jane Young. The evaluations also had wording and frequent exclamation points that were similar to Moore’s writing style, she said.

When he was confronted with the suspect evaluations, Moore allegedly said he had chronic pain, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Filling out the evaluations with high marks helped dissipate his panic attacks, he said. Moore then cited those same problems when he sought a disability pension in January, Young said.

Moore claimed in his disability application that his mental health had been deteriorating for 15 months, but he made no mention of any problems nine months before when he sought to be considered for the state supreme court, Young said.

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