Former Banana Importer Sentenced to 12 Years for Fatal Sex Party

A former banana importer was sentenced Thursday to 12½ years in prison by a judge who said he distributed cocaine for years to maintain a party lifestyle that led tragically to a woman's death.

Thomas Hoey Jr., 43, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan federal court.

The judge said Hoey displayed "callousness and indifference" at a sex party in January 2009 at a Manhattan hotel when a woman died from a combination of too much cocaine and alcohol.

"He wasn't going to take a chance that his cocaine-based lifestyle was going to be exposed," Castel said.

The judge said Hoey conspired with others from at least 2005 to 2010 to distribute large quantities of cocaine in social settings in exchange for social and sexual favors.

"The cocaine distribution was integral to his lifestyle of cocaine, sex and parties," Castel said.

Hoey pleaded guilty last August to conspiring to distribute narcotics and obstruction and perjury charges.

Hoey told Castel he was truly sorry for the woman's death and that he meant her no harm.

He also said he will forever regret that his arrest destroyed a banana importing business on Long Island that had been handed down to him from his father and grandfather.

The judge rejected efforts by Hoey's lawyer and friends and family to portray him as a benevolent man who had received over 200 awards and certificates for charitable deeds.

"In truth, Thomas Hoey Jr. is a self-absorbed, self-pitying and selfish man who is a danger to the community," Castel said.

The charges were filed after an investigation that followed Kim Calo's death in the hotel room.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a release that "Hoey not only showed complete indifference to the life-threatening situation he himself created by providing cocaine to Kim Calo, he interfered with efforts to get her medical attention."

The prosecutor added: "He also waged an ongoing campaign, beginning immediately upon Ms. Calo's collapse, to destroy evidence, lie to investigators, and obstruct a grand jury investigation by pressuring a witness to perjure herself. The sentence he has received reflects the callousness of his crimes."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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