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Former Scotch Plains PAL Treasurer Admits Taking 18K in Nonprofit Funds for Personal Use

Scotch Plains New Jersey

A Scotch Plains police officer has admitted to taking approximately $18,000 from the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Police Athletic League (PAL) for his own personal use a little more than a year ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.

James Denman, 50, on Wednesday entered a guilty plea before state Superior Court Judge William Daniel to a single charge of third-degree attempted misapplication of trust funds.

A months-long investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit revealed that Denman, the former treasurer of the local PAL chapter, took the funds sometime in December 2013, while he was off-duty from his police work, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor John Esmerado, who is prosecuting the case. The funds were allegedly taken without the permission of any executive or board member of the PAL, which is a private nonprofit organization with a focus on youth sports.  

Denman then repaid the sum total of the previously taken funds back into the PAL account by April 2014, Esmerado said.

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for April 24, 2015 before state Superior Court Judge Robert Mega. At that time Denman is expected to forfeit his job, be permanently barred from again holding public office in New Jersey, and be sentenced to a term of probation.