HOBOKEN -- You know those arcade games with a metal claw that you control to try to pick up a little toy?
There's a connection between the games and former Hoboken Parking Utility head John Corea, who was indicted on Friday for allegedly conspiring with a Toms River contractor to allegedly steal Hoboken parking meter money.
The Asbury Park Press reports today:
In pleading guilty to an accusation charging him with second-degree theft before Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson, Brian A. Petaccio, 49, said he split more than half of what he took with an unnamed municipal official who directed him how much to set aside for their personal take.
The indictment alleges that unnamed official is Corea.
Petaccio's principal's business, authorities said, is the manufacture, sale and leasing of arcade games and coin-operated machines with a crane claw used to grab toys. In its investigation, the state found coins from Hoboken parking meters were being commingled with coins from arcade machines and [allegedly] dumped in a lump sum into a United Textile bank account.
The money, authorities said, was then [allegedly] used to pay for Petaccio's personal expenses that included Porsche and Mercedes payments.
As part of his plea agreement, Petaccio was ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to the city of Hoboken. He faces up to seven years in state prison and must cooperate with an ongoing state police investigation into Hoboken's parking funds.
That investigation led to the indictment of Corea, who arranged for Petaccio's company to receive the annual parking contracts without competition by [allegedly] keeping the contract amount below the $29,000 threshold requiring public bidding.