FREEHOLD – Additional criminal charges have been filed against the Wall Township Police Department Sergeant accused of stealing more than $75,000 from his local Police Benevolent Association (PBA) chapter, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Friday.
James R. Cadigan, 41, is charged with second-degree Official Misconduct, third-degree Theft by Deception, third-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking, and fourth-degree Falsifying Records, in addition to the original charge of second-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking.
An investigation into Cadigan’s activities was initiated last year 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 the PBA’s “Pignic,” an annual summertime barbecue fundraiser. Sgt. Cadigan was solely responsible for orchestrating and running the event in 2022 and in many preceding years. 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 Pignic 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. It was determined that Cadigan would make these withdrawals both while on and off duty, sometimes in street clothes and other times in his full police uniform.
As the investigation continued, it revealed that from February 2020 to November 2022, in his capacity as President of the Wall American Youth Football (AYF) nonprofit organization, Cadigan also used a debit card intended for purchases to benefit the organization to purchase approximately $20,000 worth of items for his own personal use. Such items included 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, backyard and holiday decorations, and accessories for tapping and serving draft beer.
The investigation also revealed facts constituting the basis of two additional criminal charges: first, Cadigan did not apply for a required license for a 50/50 raffle held for the 2022 Pignic, instead falsifying the license number for the raffle tickets; and second, he organized a powderpuff football game involving mothers of AYF football players, with approximately $3,000 in proceeds earmarked for donation to a breast cancer awareness and prevention charity, but instead pocketed the money for himself.
Cadigan was served the new charges against him via summons through his attorney on Wednesday, 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 J. Ansell, Esq., with an office in Ocean Township.
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, while third-degree charges are commonly punishable by terms of up to 5 years. A conviction for Official Misconduct carries a mandatory five-year period of parole ineligibility.
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.