By: Najla Alexander
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A Wall Township Police Department Sergeant has been criminally charged with stealing more than $75,000 from his local Police Benevolent Association (PBA) chapter, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Monday, reported Wall Township officials.
According to authorities, James R. Cadigan, 40, is charged with second-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking.
The MCPO Professional Responsibility & Bias Crime Bureau initiated an investigation into this matter upon receipt of a referral by the Wall Township PBA Local No. 234, which discovered that a significant amount of cash proceeds was missing following an annual fundraising event held earlier this year, officials say.
Sergeant Cadigan was solely responsible for orchestrating and running the event in 2022 and many preceding years. According to officials, the PBA annually donates proceeds from the event to various charitable organizations.
In addition to confirming that a significant amount of cash was missing from the event proceeds, the investigation revealed that starting at least in 2018 and in each year after that, Cadigan made numerous unauthorized cash withdrawals from multiple PBA bank accounts and wrote checks to himself and to cash from these accounts officials said.
This investigation remains ongoing as to the extent of the theft and how Cadigan used the PBA’s funds.
Authorities say Cadigan was served the charges against him via summons on Friday, pending future proceedings in Monmouth County Superior Court.
Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the MCPO Professional Responsibility & Bias Crime Bureau, is being prosecuted in this case. Cadigan is being represented by Mitchell A. Ansell, Esq., with an office in Ocean Township, officials say.
“Local police unions are often the drivers of philanthropic and charitable endeavors, especially at this time of year, so it is deeply disheartening when any member of law enforcement leverages access to their funds to achieve personal financial gains,” Prosecutor Santiago said.
“We hope that the charges being announced today send a clear message that any such conduct is wholly unacceptable and will be thoroughly and dutifully investigated and prosecuted.”
“The criminal charge against Sgt. Cadigan is not reflective of the honor, integrity, and fidelity routinely exhibited by the sworn members of this Police Department, as they are about protecting and serving the public in the execution of their daily duties,” Wall Township Police Chief Sean O’Halloran added.
Anyone with information about this or related matters is urged to contact MCPO Detective Brian Hammarstrom at 800-533-7443.