Investigation of Toms River man leads to plea from Hoboken parking official

Investigation of Toms River man leads to plea from Hoboken parking official

Publication: Asbury park Press
Date: December 14, 2009

The former head of the Hoboken Parking Utility, who authorities say conspired with a Toms River man to steal coins from meters, has been indicted by a state grand jury.

John P. Corea, 45, used his position as head of the municipal parking authority in Hudson County to skim more than $600,000 from meters over the course of nearly three years beginning in June 2005, according to authorities. The indictment, handed up Friday, charges him with first-degree counts of conspiracy and money laundering as well as official misconduct, theft and misapplication of government property.

According to the indictment, Corea handed out no-bid contracts worth $27,000 to United Textile Fabricators, a Toms River-based company whose owner and president pleaded guilty in September to stealing more than $1 million from Hoboken parking meters.

In pleading guilty to an accusation charging him with second-degree theft before Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson, Brian A. Petaccio, 49, said he split more than half of what he took with an unnamed municipal official who told him how much to set aside for their personal take.

The indictment alleges that unnamed official is Corea.

Petaccio's principal's business, authorities said, is the manufacture, sale and leasing of arcade games and coin-operated machines with a crane claw used to grab toys. In its investigation, the state found coins from Hoboken parking meters were being commingled with coins from arcade machines and dumped in a lump sum into a United Textile bank account.

The money, authorities said, was then used to pay for Petaccio's personal expenses, which included Porsche and Mercedes payments.

In 1991, Petaccio was convicted of taking part in an illegal video poker operation that authorities said had direct ties to organized crime groups. His company, Grayhound Electronics, was fined $500,000 for its role in manufacturing the machines that generated revenue ultimately funneled to mob bosses as tribute.

Petaccio ultimately was sentenced to 18 months of probation after prosecutors dropped racketeering charges against he and a business partner after he pleaded guilty to gambling offenses.

As part of his plea agreement, Petaccio was ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to the city of Hoboken. He faces up to seven years in state prison and must cooperate with an ongoing State Police investigation into Hoboken's parking funds.

That investigation led to the indictment of Corea, who arranged for Petaccio's company to receive the annual parking contracts without competition by keeping the contract amount below the $29,000 threshold requiring public bidding.

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