Prosecutor: Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Theft from PBA

A Brielle police officer pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing more than $700 from the expense account of the local police union, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced on Friday.

Michael W. Palmer, Jr., 33, of Wall Township, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree theft in connection with the winter incident. Palmer admitted during the plea hearing before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregossa-O’Connor that between February 20 and March 25, 2020, while treasurer for the PBA, he took $734.25 in cash withdrawals from the PBA bank account for personal purposes, without authorization.

The sentencing recommendation will be non-custodial probation; however, Palmer is allowed to apply for PreTrial Intervention (PTI). An order forfeiting his position as a Brielle police officer and permanently forfeiting public office in New Jersey was also entered today and was a condition of the plea. Palmer also agreed to pay the victim, the Brielle PBA, $734.25 in restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 22.

“We will continue to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their actions and will prosecute those who violate the law. 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.  We will not tolerate this conduct and the added burden that it places on the work of honorable law enforcement officers who are working tirelessly to serve their communities.”

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni

Palmer was charged in July after an internal affairs review by the Brielle Police Department and follow-up investigation by this Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crimes Unit revealed that he had made several ATM cash withdrawals in Wall Township, Ocean Township and Neptune City from the expense account of the Brielle Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 395. At the time, he was serving as their treasurer between January and June of this year. The withdrawals were unrelated to PBA business and were made for personal reasons.

Palmer was employed as a Brielle Borough police officer on Dec. 1, 2018 earning a $105,383 annual salary. Prior to today’s forfeiture order, Palmer was suspended without pay.