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Ex-trooper sentenced to 5 years in Rick Tocchet gambling case

Five years was the sentence given to the former New Jersey State trooper in the Rick Tocchet illegal betting ring.

Ex-trooper sentenced to 5 years in Rick Tocchet gambling case James Harney, an ex-trooper for the state of New Jersey, was sentenced on Friday to 5 years behind bars for his part in the illegal gambling ring involving the retired NHL player Rick Tocchet.

 The defendants in the illegal betting ring - James Harney, Rick Tocchet and James Andrew Ulmer have all pleaded guilty to accepting bets and promoting gambling, however, many experts agree that besides Harney, everybody else will walk out without any jail time. The reason - James Harney was an active police officer during the time the gambling enterprise operated, and authorities say he even took bets while on duty from his patrol car.

 According to Harney's attorney, Craig Mitnick, the ex-trooper's testimony was the factor which made the former Flyer Rick Tocchet and Ulmer plead guilty to the charges. He also hinted that Harney gave enough information to put Tocchet behind bars, but the information could not be confirmed. "Players stand together," added Mitnick.

 According to Rick Tocchet's testimony, him and James Harney started taking bets toward the end of 2002. Most of the bettors were described as friend of Tocchet, some of them athletes and celebrities. The identity of the bettors have not been revealed, but sources have said that another former Flyer, Jeremy Roenick, and the wife of hockey great Wayne Gretzky are among them. According to James Harney, Rick Tocchet was an equal partner in the illegal betting ring, providing financial back-up to cover losing bets and getting a cut of the profits.

 When the scandal broke in 2006, Rick Tocchet was an assistant coach for the Phoenix Coyotes, with Wayne Gretzky being the head coach of the team. Tocchet has left the job since, and hopes that he would be able to avoid NHL ban. He will be sentenced on August 24th.

Published on 08/04/2007

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 Tocchet to appear in court in illegal gambling probe
 Rick Tocchet pleads guilty in betting scandal






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