A Wall police sergeant has been accused of stealing more than $75,000 from his local union chapter.

James R. Cadigan, 40, was charged with second-degree theft by unlawful taking.

Wall Township Police Benevolent Association Local No. 234 discovered that a "significant amount of cash" was missing following an annual fundraising event earlier this year, which Cadigan had been solely responsible for running, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Santiago on Monday.

MCPO Professional Responsibility & Bias Crime Bureau investigators discovered that since at least 2018, Cadigan made numerous unauthorized cash withdrawals from multiple PBA bank accounts while also writing checks to himself and to cash.

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

Extent of theft?

Cadigan had been in charge of the same event in prior years, after which the PBA donates proceeds to various charitable organizations.

The extent of the theft and how Cadigan used the funds remained under investigation.

A Linkedin profile for Cadigan listed his time as union chapter president from 2013 to 2015, and a post on the union’s Facebook page shows Cadigan as president in 2014.

“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 said in a written statement on Monday.

Preventing further theft

The local union also issued a statement, adding that steps had been taken to ensure that such theft cannot happen in the future.

“We have implemented measures to ensure strict oversight of the PBA’s finances to ensure that your donations are safeguarded and used for the purposes intended,” Wall Township PBA 234 said in a statement posted to its Facebook page.

“We appreciate the support that the residents of Wall Township have provided the PBA throughout the years. We will continue to work hard to protect and serve the residents. We will strive to maintain the public’s trust.”

Anyone with information about this or related matters was asked to contact MCPO Detective Brian Hammarstrom at 800-533-7443.

Prosecutor calls it 'disheartening'

“Local police unions are so 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 in order to achieve personal financial gains,” Santiago said in a written release.

“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.”

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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