Judge to Holbrook Little League Thieves: Pay the money back or go to jail


More than two years after being notified that something wasn’t right over at Holbrook Little League in Jackson, a judge has sentenced two former executive board members who stole money from the youth baseball and softball program.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today that Anthony Del Vecchio, age 64, and John Lehman, age 56, both of Jackson, pled guilty this afternoon to Theft by Unlawful Taking in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a, a crime of the third degree before the Honorable Judge Rochelle Gizinski, J.S.C. The State will be recommending a term of non-custodial probation for both defendants, conditioned upon each paying $63,085.41 in restitution to Holbrooke Little League and performing 100 hours of community service.

The board members’ activities, long suspected by many within the league became apparent when funds donated to the league’s all-star team which played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport went unaccounted for.   That money, donated by businesses and individuals within the community never made it into the hands of families who represented the town and the league on national television.  Eventually, other board members notified then Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato and an investigation was launched.

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Now the judge is saying both men have until their sentencing dates to pay the money they stole back to the league.

Del Vecchio is scheduled to be sentenced on January 24, 2020 and Lehman is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13, 2020, both before Judge Gizinski.

“Both defendants will be required to pay restitution in full on or before their respective sentencing date(s), pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement. If they don’t come up with the restitution in full, we will be seeking a custodial sentence,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “This plea agreement was extended with the advice and consent of the Holbrooke Little League Executive Board,” Prosecutor Billhimer added.

On November 27, 2017, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office received information detailing the alleged theft of funds from the Holbrook Little League by League President Anthony Del Vecchio. Subsequent investigation revealed that Del Vecchio and Treasurer John Lehman had converted over approximately $126,000 for their benefit. Del Vecchio and Lehman were the only signatories on the account and both signatures were required on all checks.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Heisler for prosecuting this case on behalf of the State and the diligent efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad and High Tech Crime Unit for bringing the two defendants to justice.

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