FREEHOLD — Michael Palmer, Jr. of Wall Township pleaded guilty Friday to the theft of more than $700 from the police union in Brielle, where he was serving as a police officer until July, according to an announcement by the Monmouth County Prosecutor.
Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said that Mr. Palmer, 33, had entered a guilty plea to one count of third-degree Theft before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregossa-O’Connor.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. Palmer acknowledged that while serving as treasurer for the Police Benevolent Association in Brielle, he made cash withdrawals totaling $734.25 and kept the money for his own use.
The announcement issued by Mr. Gramiccioni’s office stated that Mr. Palmer has been ordered to forfeit his position as a Brielle police officer and would also forfeit the right to hold public office in New Jersey in the future. He has also agreed to repay the Brielle PBA the amount taken.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. Palmer had been employed as a Brielle police officer since Dec. 1, 2018 and was earning an annual salary of $105,383 before being suspended in July, when the charges were brought.
The investigation, by the prosecutor’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crimes Unit revealed that Mr. Palmer made several ATM cash withdrawals in Wall Township, Ocean Township and Neptune City from the PBA expense account between Feb. 20 and March 25 of this year. The withdrawals were unrelated to PBA business, the prosecutor said.
“We will continue to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their actions and will prosecute those who violate the law,” Mr. Gramiccioni said. “Police officers who betray their oaths fail our citizens, their fellow officers, and make it harder for the law enforcement community to obtain the public’s trust.”
Mr. Gramiccioni said the court has set an Oct. 22 sentencing appearance for Mr. Palmer but indicated that his office would not be recommending imprisonment.
Brielle Police Chief Gary J. Olsen said, “I can’t stress this enough; Mr. Palmer’s behavior was inexcusable and is by no means a representation of the high level of professionalism and integrity of every Brielle police officer. As a department, and as an association, we are very pleased with the outcome of this case and we look forward to moving on and recovering from this.”
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