🔷NJ officer admits stealing from police funds, youth group

🔷Stolen money totaled $115K

🔷 Facing prison, term could be less with restitution

A Wall Township Police Department sergeant has admitted to stealing a combined total of $115,000 — a large majority from his local Police Benevolent Association chapter, while also taking thousands from a youth football group and two charitable campaigns, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Santiago.

James R. Cadigan pleaded guilty in Monmouth County Superior Court to charges of second- and third-degree theft by unlawful taking on Wednesday.

Monmouth County

Wall Township PBA ripped off

The investigation into the 41-year-old Cadigan’s activities was launched last year when the Wall Township PBA Local No. 234 found “a significant amount of cash proceeds” was missing following an annual summer BBQ fundraiser dubbed the “Pignic.”

Proceeds from the event were then intended for donation to various charitable organizations.

Cadigan was the sole organizer for the event in 2022 and for many earlier.

Investigators soon found that starting at least in 2018, Cadigan made numerous, unauthorized cash withdrawals from multiple PBA bank accounts and wrote checks to himself and to cash from these accounts.

He stole the PBA funds both while on- and off-duty, sometimes in street clothes and other times in full police uniform.

Wall Township Police Department (Google Maps) Sgt. accused of stealing from Wall Police PBA
Wall Township Police Department (Google Maps)

Youth football bank account raided

Between February 2020 and November 2022, while president of the Wall American Youth Football nonprofit organization, Cadigan used a debit card linked to the group’s bank account, draining about $20,000 in personal items.

That included lots of backyard and home equipment — pool pumps and chemicals, a quilted hammock, a truck hitch, a karaoke machine, a weight sled trainer, a boot warmer, an inflatable movie screen, grill tools and accessories, a pressure washer, yard and holiday decorations and accessories for tapping and serving draft beer.

american football macro

Adding to his theft — at least twice, Cadigan told donors that he was raising money for charitable purposes, but then pocketed the cash.

In fall 2020, Cadigan organized a powderpuff football game involving the mothers of Wall AYF football players, raising about $3,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Cadigan never donated the money, but kept it for himself.

Over a year later in December 2021, Cadigan started a campaign to raise money for a friend who had suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm.

Cadigan stole about $3,000 of those funds — then stole money from the PBA to pay the man back.

Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office courtroom (MCPO,Canva)

Cadigan sentencing, involves paying back money

Cadigan has been banned from ever again holding public office in New Jersey.

At his sentencing, set for March 2024, prosecutors plan to recommend eight years in state prison.

There was the possibility of a reduction to five years, only if Cadigan pays back all the money he stole — $91,500 to the PBA and $24,200 to the AYF.

“We strongly feel that this is an appropriate resolution of a genuinely troubling case in which an officer willfully and repeatedly violated the trust of both the public and his own colleagues for the sole purpose of obtaining personal benefit,” Santiago said.

He added, “There is no place within the ranks of law enforcement for such conduct.”

“James Cadigan’s actions do not reflect the integrity, commitment, and professionalism of the women and men of the Wall Township Police Department,” Wall Township Police Chief Sean O’Halloran said in the same written release.

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