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Essex County Parks Dept. Employees Stole Gas for Personal Vehicles

The men, who accepted a plea deal, will be sentenced to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison, pay $2,000 to the county and be barred from working for the state ever again.

Two Essex County Parks Department employees pleaded guilty Monday to charges that they stole gasoline intended for county vehicles in order to fuel personal vehicles. 

Rocca Gonnella, 47, of Toms River and Albert Maldonado, 42, of Elizabeth, pleaded guilty to one count each of theft before Judge Siobhan Teare in a Newark courtroom, according to acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray.

The men—now both former employees of the county parks department—each admitted to illegally using access codes that had allowed them to gas up county vehicles and equipment to do their jobs to instead fill up their personal vehicles numerous times between Feb. 10, 2012 and May 18, 2012.

The theft was uncovered in a joint investigation involving the Essex County Inspector General’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, according to Murphy.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, each man will be sentenced to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison when they are sentenced on April 28. They will also pay $2,000 each in restitution to the county, forfeit their jobs and forfeit all future public employment in the state of New Jersey.

The case was handled by Assistant Prosecutor Adam B. Wells.

Elizabeth Brown March 11, 2014 at 11:11 AM
I agree with FIX as well, 18 months in prison seems a bit harsh for this kind of crime.
Pete Mock March 11, 2014 at 04:00 PM
With all the corruption in Essex County government the only ones doing time are the guys stealing gas? "Never steal anything small" seems to fit this situation.
Enough already!! March 11, 2014 at 07:58 PM
18 months ???? Come on man are you serious ?? Let them pay what they stole, they already lost there jobs for being stupid,,, how much time did our old govonor corzine do for his theft in his shannanagans? Essex county,, gotta love it !!
jfc March 12, 2014 at 11:05 AM
Prison? We let off plenty of creeps (and politicians) with a slap on the wrist and no prison time. Fine 'em and fire 'em. That would be plenty. This court system is so F'd up!
FIX March 12, 2014 at 11:33 AM
exactly. here's an example: http://baristanet.com/2011/04/christie-knocks-divincenzo-for-double-dipping

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