– Attorney General Paula T. Dow and
Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor
announced that a third employee at the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey training
academy in Morris County pleaded guilty
today to collecting pay and reimbursement
based on false attendance, mileage and meal
records he submitted. On Nov. 9, a supervisor
and another employee at the academy pleaded
guilty to theft charges for the same conduct.
to Director Taylor, Stephen Valenzano, 43,
of Hazlet, 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 Valenzano be sentenced to a term of
probation. He will be required to pay restitution
to the Port Authority of $2,544. He resigned
his job and will be permanently barred from
public employment. Judge Callahan scheduled
sentencing for Valenzano for Jan. 7, 2011.
Nov. 9, Cotea Jones, 46, of Palmer, Pa.,
the supervisor of the Tunnels, Bridges and
Terminals Training Academy in Morris County,
and Vincent Price, 50, of Roselle, N.J.,
an academy employee, each pleaded guilty
to theft by deception before Judge Callahan.
The state will recommend that Jones be sentenced
to 364 days in the county jail and a term
of probation. She must pay restitution of
$7,922. The state will recommend that Price
be sentenced to a term of probation. He
must pay restitution of $2,103. Jones and
Price forfeited their jobs and are permanently
barred from public employment. They are
scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 7
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 referred
to the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
Bureau for prosecution.
Jones and Price admitted that, for various
dates from September 2009 through January
2010, they submitted attendance sheets indicating
they worked a full day 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
addition, the three defendants admitted
that they submitted false forms regarding
mileage and meals that resulted in them
receiving reimbursements to which they were
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