Jersey City Cop Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

NEWARK, N.J. – A Jersey City police officer was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for participating in a conspiracy to defraud Jersey City by obtaining compensation for off-duty work that they did not perform, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

James Cardinali, 38, of Jersey City, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Cardinali’s duties included serving as the “pick coordinator” for Jersey City’s South District, responsible for assigning police officers to off-duty details. On multiple occasions, Cardinali asked representatives of certain vendors who were performing work in the South District to sign Jersey City off-duty vouchers indicating that a police officer had completed an off-duty assignment for that vendor, even though no officer had in fact completed any assignment.

Cardinali then falsely represented on these vouchers that a particular police officer had completed an off-duty assignment. These officers were paid for work they did not perform. Cardinali personally obtained from the officers some of the money that they were paid as a result of the fraudulent conduct.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Cardinali to three years of supervised release and ordered restitution of $166,255 and forfeiture of $39,587.

U.S. Attorney Cardinali credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. The Jersey City Police Department is cooperating with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.