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Long IslandCrime

Court affirms conviction of LI banana mogul

Thomas Hoey in Garden City in January 2009.

Thomas Hoey in Garden City in January 2009. Credit: Victor Alcorn

A federal appeals court in Manhattan has affirmed the conviction of one-time Long Island banana wholesaling mogul Thomas Hoey for stealing $750,000 from an employee retirement plan.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the former banana kingpin’s claim that evidence of lavish spending on travel, strip clubs and a girlfriend while raiding worker funds had unduly prejudiced jurors, noting that the judge kept out evidence of spending on cocaine and prostitutes.

The evidence, the appeals panel said, was “highly probative of Hoey’s motive for taking money from the Plan and was used to rebut Hoey’s defense that he had a good faith belief that the money he took was being used for the benefit of the Plan beneficiaries.”

Hoey, 50, of Garden City, who owned Long Island Banana Co., was sentenced to 5-1/2 years in prison for embezzlement, to be served after a 12-1/2 year sentence he received for distributing cocaine during a sex party that ended in a woman’s death and obstruction of justice in that case.

He was also convicted in New York State Court of assaulting his girlfriend, but a state appeals court reversed. Because that conviction may have played a role in the 5-1/2 year federal sentence Hoey got for embezzlement, prosecutors consented to the 2nd Circuit ordering a resentencing.

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