EDISON – A Middlesex County Grand Jury returned a 24-count indictment charging four suspended Edison police officers with racketeering, bribery, theft, money laundering and witness tampering, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Thomas Bryan of the Edison Police Department.
A lengthy internal affairs investigation determined that from 2016 to 2018, the officers – Police Sgt. Ioannis (John) Mpletsakis, 43, of Edison Township, Ptl. James Panagoulakos, 36, of Jackson Township, Ptl. Gregory Makras, 38, of Cranford and Sgt. Brian Rossmeyer, 45, of Bridgewater – were allegedly involved in a scheme designed to exploit the Edison Police
Department’s extra duty job assignments, by getting paid for extra-duty jobs
for which they did not appear, according to a press release through the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office on Oct. 14.
These officers, who volunteered to take these extra assignments, had full police responsibilities while assigned to the extra-duty jobs. These assignments included directing traffic for utility companies as well as providing security services for local businesses and residential communities, according to the press release.
Mpletsakis, Panagoulakos, Makras, and Rossmeyer were charged in the indictment with racketeering, conspiracy, bribery, theft, money laundering, official misconduct, pattern of official misconduct, hindering apprehension, fabricating evidence, falsifying documents, failure to pay income tax, filing fraudulent tax returns, witness tampering, retaliating against a witness and retaliation for past official action, according to the press release.
The investigation further revealed that Mpletsakis allegedly stole from the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) by using a PBA debit card to make unauthorized purchases for personal items and used his executive position on the Edison PBA Local 75 to defraud Edison Township and the PBA, according to the press release.
The latest indictment comes two years after Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez, sitting in New Brunswick, through an order, dismissed the case against the officers. The order allowed the state to re-present the case to the grand jury when grand jury proceedings reconvened.
The officers were initially indicted in October 2018. That indictment included 11-counts with two counts of official misconduct in the second degree; participation in a pattern of official misconduct in the second degree; financial facilitation of criminal activity in the second degree; conspiracy to commit the crime of financial facilitation of criminal activity in the second degree; theft by unlawful taking in the second degree; and theft by deception in the second degree, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The officers have been suspended without pay since their arrests June 1, 2018 and have remained suspended without pay, according to township officials.
The initial indictment included another officer Paul Pappas, who had pled guilty to one of the related charges of indictment in 2019, according to court papers.
Mpletsakis, Panagoulakos, Makras, and Rossmeyer had pled not guilty to the charges against them.