The sentence of seven years in state prison also carries three years of parole ineligibility in the judgement by Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hogdson. The penalty also includes an order to pay $300,000 in restitution to Hoboken.
NJ Attorney General Jeff Chiesa said, “Government officials have a duty to act with complete honesty, integrity and care in dealing with public funds, but Corea corruptly betrayed that duty and the public’s trust, permitting a crooked contractor to literally make off with bags of cash belonging to the City of Hoboken. This lengthy prison sentence reflects a policy of zero tolerance when it comes to public officials who abuse their positions and break the law in New Jersey.”
“This was a very costly breach of public trust,” said Stephen J. Taylor, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The Division of Criminal Justice will continue to work with the State Police and other agencies to expose and convict those who engage in official misconduct.”
The Office of then Attorney General Paula Dow had recommended an eight year sentence.
Talking Ed Note: If you see Councilwoman Terry Castellano today, be sure to fill her in on the news and that now with John Corea's sentencing, "It's been cleared up." Or has it?
Many believe this is not the end of the story of looting from 2005-2008 but it is the end for John Corea's role in the crime.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2011
The Office of the Attorney General Paula Dow of NJ announces:
Ex-Director of Hoboken Parking Utility Pleads Guilty to Official Misconduct for His Role in $600,000 Theft of Parking Meter Funds
Contractor from Toms River previously pleaded guilty to theft
Contractor from Toms River previously pleaded guilty to theft
TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that John P. Corea, the former director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, has pleaded guilty to official misconduct for his role in the theft of $600,000 by a Toms River contractor whose company was hired by the City of Hoboken to collect coins from city parking meters.
According to Director Taylor, Corea, 47, of Hoboken, pleaded guilty on Friday afternoon (Dec. 16), to a second-degree charge of official misconduct before Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson Jr. in Ocean County. The state will recommend under the plea agreement that Corea be sentenced to eight years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility. He must pay $300,000 in restitution to the City of Hoboken and will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. The charge against Corea was contained in an indictment obtained as a result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police.
“This defendant corruptly exploited his public office, at a high cost to the City of Hoboken,” said Attorney General Dow. “We are seeking a lengthy prison sentence for this flagrant betrayal of trust.”
“In this difficult fiscal climate, taxpayers need to have confidence that government officials will act as honest and vigilant stewards of all public revenues,” said Director Taylor. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute corrupt public officials such as Corea.”
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey J. Manis took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Judge Hodgson will schedule Corea to be sentenced in February 2012.
In pleading guilty, Corea admitted, among other things, that, while director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, he steered three separate no-bid contracts to United Textile Fabricators to collect, count and manage the coins from the city’s parking meters. He admitted that he made false statements to the city council about the qualifications and experience of the company, which is a coin-operated arcade game manufacturer. He further admitted that he came to believe that United Textile and its owner, Brian A. Petaccio, 51, of Toms River, had stolen a substantial amount of the city’s parking revenues, but did not take any steps to stop the thefts or notify the city.
Petaccio pleaded guilty on Sept. 30, 2009 to an accusation charging him with second-degree theft by unlawful taking for stealing more than $1.1 million in coins from Hoboken’s parking meters between June 2005 and April 2008. Petaccio faces up to seven years in prison under his plea agreement and also must pay $300,000 in restitution to the City of Hoboken. After an audit in 2007 uncovered parking revenue shortfalls, Petaccio and his company returned approximately $575,000 to the city. However, Petaccio admitted, in pleading guilty, that he diverted an additional $600,000 that was not reported to the city. Petaccio will also be scheduled for sentencing in February 2012.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey J. Manis of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The investigation was conducted by Detective Peter Layng of the State Police Official Corruption Bureau North Unit and Sgt. Lisa Shea of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, with additional assistance from Deputy Attorney General Perry Primavera and Administrative Analyst Kathleen Ratliff, also of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.
Attorney General Dow and Director Taylor noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free Corruption Tipline for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities: 1-866-TIPS-4CJ. Additionally, the public can log on to the Division website atwww.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing. All information received through the tipline or webpage will remain confidential.
Talking Ed Note: This brings to a close one of the most notorious recent public corruption cases in Hoboken. MSV finds the portion detailing interest in continuing to investigate corruption among public officials especially endearing.
Thank you Madam Attorney General.
This is not the last Hoboken will be hearing from the NJ Office of the Attorney General nor the Federal Attorneys Office and FBI in Newark.
January is going to be a great start to 2012.