– Attorney General Paula T. Dow and
Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor
announced that a supervisor at the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey training
academy in Morris County and another employee
at the academy pleaded guilty to theft charges
for collecting pay and reimbursement based
on false attendance, mileage and meal records
to Director Taylor, Cotea Jones, 46, of
Palmer, Pa., the supervisor of the Tunnels,
Bridges and Terminals Training Academy in
Morris County, pleaded guilty today to third-degree
theft by deception before Superior Court
Judge Kevin G. Callahan in Hudson County.
The charge was contained in an accusation
filed by the Division of Criminal Justice
as a result of an investigation by the Port
Authority’s Office of Inspector General.
the plea agreement, the state will recommend
that Jones be sentenced to 364 days in the
county jail and a term of probation. She
will be required to pay restitution to the
Port Authority of $7,922. She resigned her
job today and will be permanently barred
from public employment.
today, Vincent Price, 50, of Roselle, N.J.,
an employee at the training academy in Morris
County, pleaded guilty before Judge Callahan
to an accusation charging him with third-degree
theft by deception. The state will recommend
that he be sentenced to a term of probation.
He must pay restitution of $2,103. He resigned
his job today in connection with the plea
and will be permanently barred from public
have zero tolerance for government employees
who use their positions to steal public
funds,” said Attorney General Dow.
“I commend the Port Authority for
Authority Inspector General Robert E. Van
Etten said: “The Port Authority Training
Academy employees, including its Chief Trainer,
pleading guilty today stole from the agency
by staying home, visiting Atlantic City,
or elsewhere, during times when they should
have been training other staff. This investigation
was initiated after evidence of “no-show”
jobs was uncovered during an audit by the
Inspector General’s Audit Department
and turned over to IG investigators. I want
to thank the Attorney General and her staff
for prosecuting these corrupt employees.
My office continues to be aggressive in
investigating instances of wrongdoing by
Port Authority staff and encourage other
Port Authority staff to report any information
of wrongdoing to the IG.”
will continue to work with the Port Authority
and other public agencies to ensure that
corrupt employees such as these are detected
and prosecuted,” said Director Taylor.
Port Authority’s Office of Inspector
General commenced its investigation after
a routine audit uncovered irregularities
in the records submitted by the defendants.
Detectives from the Port Authority OIG obtained
further records and conducted surveillance
of the defendants. The matter was subsequently
referred to the Division of Criminal Justice
Corruption Bureau for prosecution.
pleading guilty, Jones and Price admitted
that, for various dates between September
2009 and January 2010, they submitted attendance
sheets indicating they completed a full
day of work at the Morris County training
academy or at other training locations,
when, in fact, they had arrived late, left
early, or had not reported to work at all.
As a result, they were paid for a full day
of work. In addition, Jones and Price admitted
that they submitted false forms regarding
mileage and meals that resulted in them
receiving reimbursements to which they were
Callahan scheduled sentencing for Jones
and Price for Jan. 7. Deputy Attorney General
Vincent J. Militello took the guilty pleas
for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
Bureau. Detectives Danny DiPrimo and John
Fitzgerald conducted the investigation for
the Port Authority OIG. Detective Laura
Clarke was assigned to the investigation
for the Division of Criminal Justice.