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LI’s banana mogul sentence postponed for father’s testimony

Thomas Hoey Jr. seen in Garden City on

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

A federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday postponed the sentencing of one-time Long Island banana mogul Thomas Hoey Jr. for stealing worker retirement money, saying he wants to hear testimony from Hoey’s father, a participant in the retirement plan.

Hoey was convicted of taking $763,000 from profit-sharing accounts at now-defunct Long Island Banana Co. Prosecutors want him to do 7 years in prison, on top of a 12-1/2 year federal term he is serving for drug distribution and a 1-1/3 to 4 year state sentence for assaulting his girlfriend.

U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer said federal sentencing guidelines would be affected by Hoey’s claim that former owner Thomas Hoey Sr., whose vested portion was $286,000, okayed withdrawal of his funds, but said the father must testify under oath.

Hoey Sr. left the company years ago for health reasons, and said in a letter to the judge that he had suffered a stroke and needed triple-bypass heart surgery. Engelmayer scheduled his testimony, followed by the sentencing, for July 25.

Hoey’s lawyer Dominic Amorosa has asked for a sentence to run concurrent with existing sentences, so that Hoey doesn’t have to do additional time.

He has argued Hoey’s judgment was impaired by the death of a woman who overdosed on cocaine during a sex party he hosted, that led to Hoey’s drug conviction. Amorosa also says the money was used to try to rescue Long Island Banana.

Prosecutors say Hoey deserves no sympathy for his role in a woman’s death, and that the worker money he took subsidized a flashy lifestyle for him, his family and his girlfriend.

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