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Long Island Banana mogul to go to trial in embezzlement, money laundering case in February

Thomas Hoey is shown on Jan. 11, 2009

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

Imprisoned Long Island Banana mogul Thomas Hoey Jr. will go to trial on Feb. 22 on charges that he ripped off $800,000 in employee retirement funds from his family-owned produce distributor, a federal judge ordered Friday.

Hoey, 47, of Garden City, is already serving a 151-month federal sentence for obstruction of justice and distributing drugs at a 2009 sex party to a woman who died of an overdose. He also faces a consecutive 1 1/3- to 4-year state sentence for assaulting his girlfriend.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan told Hoey the scheduled trial next year was "a firm date."

Hoey, wearing a prison smock, did not speak at the hearing except to ask his lawyer to tell the judge that he was teaching a class at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan when marshals came to get him, and he didn't have time to freshen up for court.

"He wants me to tell you that the fact he is unshaven today is no sign of disrespect," defense lawyer Michael Tremonte told Furman.

The current charges alleged that from 2009 to 2012 Hoey took worker pension money from Long Island Banana, which is in bankruptcy proceedings, and spent it to pay company bills as well as personal expenses.

The spending included his son's tuition bills, travel to hot spots such as Las Vegas and Cancun, and payments for department stores, home furnishings, hotels and limousines.

He is charged with embezzlement, interstate transportation of stolen money, money laundering and wire fraud.

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