Two former high-ranking leaders from the Holbrook Little League team in Jackson, New Jersey, Tony Del Vecchio (former president) and John Lehmann (former treasurer), are facing theft charges after allegedly stealing money from the Little League team. The theft of nearly $120,000 includes funds earned by the team during its pursuit of the Little League World Series in 2016, in which they earned a fourth place national finish.
Both Del Vecchio and Lehmann were charged with second-degree theft and conspiracy to commit theft on Friday, February 16, after it was discovered that they allegedly pocketed $118,000, according Ocean County’s Prosecutor’s Office. The charges came after a two-month investigation that was prompted by an anonymous letter. The charges also followed multiple discoveries by the Asbury Park Press that showed financial negligence and questionable conduct, indicating some violations of federal, state, and municipal laws. The prosecution alleges that the duo had been misusing league funds since 2014, which happens to be the last time the league filed taxes.
In the state of New Jersey, a theft charge can be as minimal as a disorderly persons offense or as serious as a first-degree felony, depending on the value of the property or goods stolen. In this case, Del Vecchio and Lehmann are facing second-degree felony charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.
These charges are based on several findings from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. First, the two men were the sole signatories on the Jackson Little League’s bank account. Authorities have made the allegation that they used this money for their own benefit. In addition, Lehmann allegedly misused the league’s debit card account by an excess of $500.
The conspiracy to commit theft charge is an interesting nuance of New Jersey law as it relates to crimes committed by more than one person. Under NJ law, a conspiracy occurs when two or more people collaborate to commit an illegal act. New Jersey’s conspiracy laws are governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2. The severity of a conspiracy charge is linked to the degree of the crime committed or attempted, though conspiracy charges are only applicable to first or second-degree offenses, as well as drug distribution or intent to distribute offenses. A conspiracy charge is levied at the same level as the crime being committed or attempted in most circumstances, meaning that Del Vecchio and Lehmann are facing another charge for a second-degree crime in this case.
However, it’s important to note that in conspiracy cases, a person must have committed an overt act in order to help facilitate the perpetration of the crime. In this situation, it could’ve been one person falsifying documents or participating in any other form of deceit in order to cover up the paper trail. If the duo is found guilty of conspiracy to commit theft, they will face additional exposure to lengthy incarceration and extensive fines.
Attorneys for Theft Charges in Jackson, New Jersey
Whether your theft charge in Jackson, New Jersey is a low-level disorderly persons offense or a much more serious felony charge, you owe it to yourself and your family to discuss your options with a criminal defense attorney who has your best interests in mind. In many cases, the prosecution will try to scare you into pleading guilty and the public defender is often not very helpful. If you want to avoid incarceration and potentially preserve your clean record, speak to the Ocean County theft defense attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law by calling (848) 238-2100. Contact us immediately to schedule a free initial consultation where we will discuss your next steps.
For more information about this case, access the following article: Holbrook Little League: Ex-leaders charged with $118K theft from Jackson league