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Long IslandCrime

Banana mogul should get 7 years for pension theft, prosecutors say

Thomas Hoey is seen in Garden City on

Thomas Hoey is seen in Garden City on Jan. 11, 2009. Credit: Victor Alcorn

One-time Long Island banana mogul Thomas Hoey should do 7 years in prison for stealing worker pensions on top of more than 13 years he faces for drug, assault and obstruction charges, federal prosecutors say in a scathing new sentencing memorandum.

The letter followed a plea for leniency in which Hoey’s lawyer argued that he tapped worker funds to help the company and exercised bad judgment because he was depressed about Long Islander Kim Calo’s overdose death at a drugs-and-sex hotel party he hosted.

Prosecutors compared that claim to the plea of a child who kills his parents and asks leniency because he’s an orphan, arguing that Hoey provided the cocaine that killed Calo, blocked efforts to get her medical help, and suborned perjury in a probe of the death.

“The defendant cannot now claim that the emotional effect on him, from his criminal conduct, which resulted in the death of Ms. Calo, in any way excuses, explains, justifies or mitigates the years-long criminal conduct in this case,” the government wrote.

Hoey, 48, of Garden City, is currently doing a 12-1/2 year federal prison sentence in the Calo case, and faces a consecutive 1-1/3-to-4-year state sentence for assaulting his girlfriend and evidence tampering.

He was convicted in March of stealing $750,000 in profit-sharing retirement money at the now-defunct Long Island Banana Co. His lawyer, Dominic Amorosa, has asked U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer for a concurrent sentence.

Prosecutors, who want a sentence of at least 87 months to run consecutive to the others, rejected Hoey’s claim that he dipped into worker money to help save jobs at the company during hard times, saying he was using company money to underwrite lavish living and vacations for himself, his family and his girlfriend.

“He gave himself extraordinarily generous raises and bragged to his employees about his lavish lifestyle — even referring to himself as ‘Mr. Big’ and the ‘Banana King’ — all while he embezzled money that his employees had earned and were counting on for their retirements,” prosecutors said.

Hoey’s sentencing is scheduled for July 19.

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