FREEHOLD – 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.

James R. Cadigan, 40, is charged with second-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking.

An investigation into this matter was initiated by the MCPO Professional Responsibility & Bias Crime Bureau, upon receipt of a referral by the Wall Township PBA Local No. 234, which had discovered that a significant amount of cash proceeds was missing following an annual fundraising event held earlier this year.Sgt. Cadigan was solely responsible for orchestrating and running the event in 2022 and in many preceding years, and 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 thereafter, Cadigan made numerous unauthorized cash withdrawals from multiple PBA bank accounts and wrote checks to himself and to cash from these accounts. This investigation remains ongoing as to both the extent of the theft and how Cadigan used the PBA’s funds.

Cadigan was served the charges against him via summons on Friday, pending future proceedings to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court.

This case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the MCPO Professional Responsibility & Bias Crime Bureau. Cadigan is being represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq., with an office in Ocean Township.

“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,” 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.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges can be punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.  

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.