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Attorneys Weigh Philadelphia’s Pension Obligation to Former Cop Convicted of Murder

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(Former Philadelphia police officer Frank Tepper, prior to his conviction, in family photo.)

(Former Philadelphia police officer Frank Tepper, prior to his conviction, in family photo.)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Philadelphia’s law department is now studying whether former Philadelphia police officer Frank Tepper — convicted last week of first-degree murder — will forfeit his city pension or be allowed to keep it.

State regulations spell out a long list of crimes — including murder — for which a former city employee would have to forfeit his or her pension.

But Francis Bielli, executive director of the city’s Board of Pensions, says forfeiture comes only if the crime happened on the job:  “Only if (the crime) was committed in relation to your employment.”

But in the case of Frank Tepper, convicted last week in the 2009 shooting death of a neighbor (see related story), the crime took place while Tepper was off duty.

Bielli says top city attorneys are now examining those circumstances.

“The conviction will be reviewed by the Law Department, and they will offer an opinion to the Board of Pensions as to whether or not this offense constitutes a forfeitable offense under the state act and the city act,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

Bielli expects to have that opinion when the Pension Board meets on March 22nd.

He says the pension board would be expected to follow the legal opinion regarding whether or not Tepper’s pension is forfeited.

Tepper is vested in the pension plan and would be eligible for monthly payments of nearly $1,800 in 2016.

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