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November 12, 10

NEWS / Donald R. Codey Jr., Ex-General Manager of Freehold Raceway, Sentenced for Stealing Vouchers and Pas


Raceway patron who passed $654,000 in bad checks also sentenced

TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that Donald R. Codey Jr., former president and general manager of Freehold Raceway Park, was sentenced today for stealing $3,045 in raceway promotional vouchers and assisting two patrons to cash more than $1.3 million in bad checks at the track.

According to Director Taylor, Codey, 65, of Orange, was sentenced to a five-year term of probation by Superior Court Judge Thomas F. Scully in Monmouth County. Codey is jointly and severally liable with two co-defendants for paying a total of $902,749 in restitution to the corporate owner of Freehold Raceway related to the bad checks. Judge Scully ordered that, as a condition of the probation, Codey must not engage in any gambling activities and must be professionally evaluated to determine whether he has a gambling problem.

Codey pleaded guilty on Aug. 20 to third-degree theft by unlawful taking for the theft of vouchers. Codey admitted that he stole 16 “Mystery Vouchers” worth a total of $3,045. Mystery Vouchers were sent by Freehold Raceway to track patrons and patrons of the Favorites off-track wagering site in Toms River. Each voucher was issued to be redeemable for a “mystery” amount, ranging from $2 to $5,000, if taken to the Favorites site on President’s Day, Feb. 16, 2009, and used to gamble. Codey used the vouchers to gamble at Favorites that day.

Codey also pleaded guilty to two counts of fourth-degree issuing bad checks, one for each of the two patrons he assisted in cashing bad checks. The charges were contained in accusations filed by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police.

One of the two patrons Codey assisted, Joseph A. Siragusa, 43, of Marlboro, was also sentenced today. Judge Scully sentenced Siragusa to a five-year term of probation. The second patron, Darryl Thomas, 50, of Newark, was sentenced on Oct. 8 to five years of probation. Siragusa was ordered to pay $553,660 and Thomas was ordered to pay $349,089 in restitution to FR Park Racing, L.P., the owner of Freehold Raceway, representing the total bad checks each man cashed, less amounts previously paid or credited against the debts. Codey is jointly and severally liable with the two men for those amounts. Both Siragusa and Thomas were ordered to continue receiving counseling through Gamblers Anonymous. They were ordered to make weekly payments against the restitution amounts of $1,000 for Thomas and $500 for Siragusa.

Siragusa and Thomas pleaded guilty before Judge Scully on Aug. 10 to accusations charging each of them with third-degree issuing bad checks. Thomas admitted that between May 2007 and January 2009, he cashed 218 bad checks at Freehold Raceway. Siragusa admitted that between July and December 2008, he cashed 131 bad checks at the raceway.

Thomas’ checks totaled $664,560, and Siragusa’s checks totaled $654,000. All of those checks were returned for insufficient funds. Codey had authorized cash advances and check cashing privileges for the two patrons. In pleading guilty, Codey admitted that he authorized the two men to cash the checks at the raceway, even though he knew they were issuing checks against bank accounts that were closed or had insufficient funds.

As a result of the investigation, a third man, Darren A. DeLucia, 43, of Hallendale Beach, Fla., also pleaded guilty on Aug. 10 to third-degree issuing bad checks for cashing $38,000 in bad checks at Freehold Raceway in July and August 2008. Judge Scully sentenced him to three years of probation and ordered him to pay full restitution.

Regarding the theft of vouchers, the investigation revealed that Codey was present when a track employee printed 1,000 Mystery Vouchers. Codey took possession of the stacks of vouchers in his office before they were mailed to patrons of the Toms River off-track wagering site.

Deputy Attorney General Perry Primavera prosecuted the case and represented the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau at today’s sentencing hearing. The charges are the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police conducted by Detective Sgt. Geoffrey P. Forker and members of the State Police Official Corruption North Unit. Deputy Attorney General Primavera and Analyst Kathleen Ratliff handled the case for the Division of Criminal Justice.

In early 2009, Pennwood Racing Inc., the parent company of FR Park Racing, conducted an internal investigation that led to the resignation of Codey as president and general manager of Freehold Raceway in February 2009. The theft of vouchers was initially uncovered as a result of that internal investigation.

The bad checks were also discovered by the company at that time. They were initially investigated by a private security firm hired by the company. The company referred the matters involving the theft of vouchers and bad checks to the New Jersey Racing Commission, which referred them to the Division of Criminal Justice.

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases10/pr20101110a.html

Tags: police conduct,
 




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