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OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE

 
 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Public Information Office (609) 882-2000
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Lt. Gerald Lewis  x6516
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Sgt. Jeanne Hengemuhle  x6515

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 07, 2006


 
 
STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION INTO GAMBLING RING YIELDS PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TIES
"OPERATION SLAP SHOT" UNCOVERS NHL LINK

West Trenton, New Jersey - Attorney General Zulima Farber and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes announced that an investigation dubbed "Operation Slap Shot" concluded with the arrest of a veteran New Jersey State Trooper and two others for operating a multi-million dollar sports bookmaking enterprise.

"These arrests clearly demonstrate that the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice will aggressively pursue allegations of official misconduct and corruption," said Attorney General Farber.

The investigation began in late October 2005, when members of the New Jersey State Police Organized Crime Bureau uncovered information indicating that Trooper James J. Harney; an eight-year veteran was a partner in the bookmaking ring, operating not only in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area, but also beyond the borders of New Jersey.

As the investigation unfolded it expanded to include former Philadelphia Flyer and current Phoenix Coyotes' assistant coach Richard Tocchet. Mr. Tocchet was identified as Harney's alleged partner and financier. Additionally, the investigation alleges Swedesboro resident James A. Ulmer, served as a "sitter" who funneled wagers to Harney.

The State Police investigation paints a picture of a highly organized sport betting system, which in a forty day period processed more than 1000 wagers exceeding 1.7 million dollars on professional and collegiate sporting events. Many of the rings clientele included past and present professional athletes and celebrities who are being interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.

Beyond the bookmaking and corruption charges the investigation has revealed alleged ties to the Bruno-Scarfo Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra, operating in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

"Operation Slap Shot not only dismantles a major sports betting operation, but sends a definitive message that we will not allow any member to tarnish the above reproach reputation of the New Jersey State Police. We want to ensure that the citizens of New Jersey maintain their confidence in the services we provide and the integrity of each New Jersey State Trooper," said Fuentes.

The investigation to date has resulted in yesterday's arrests of both Harney and Ulmer for Bookmaking, Money Laundering and Conspiracy, as well as the execution of search warrants at multiple locations. As part of the investigation, the Division of Criminal Justice has employed the criminal provisions of New Jersey's racketeering and money laundering statutes to seize the proceeds of the alleged illegal gambling activity. The Division of Criminal Justice has filed an Order To Seize and Restrain Property with the Superior Court. The order seeks various assets owned and/or maintained by Harney and Ulmer, including back accounts, Harney's Mount Laurel residence, and personal late-model automobiles. The investigation will be submitted to a State Grand Jury for review and potential indictment.

Charged suspects full names and addresses are as follows:

  • Richard Tocchet, 41, Phoenix, Arizona - (Promoting gambling, money laundering, conspiracy)
  • James Harney, 40, Marlton, NJ - (Official Misconduct, promoting gambling, money laundering, conspiracy)
  • James A. Ulmer, 40, Swedesboro, NJ - (Promoting gambling, money laundering, conspiracy)

A complaint summons has been served on Richard Tocchet of Phoenix, Arizona. Tocchet is expected to come to New Jersey to answer charges.

Click here to view arrest warrants on Harney and Ulmer. (PDF File)
Click here to view Rick Tocchet complaint summons. (PDF File)

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