12/9/19 State v. Stephen Houbary, Sentencing (12/6/19)

Defendant Stephen Houbary, 46 years of age, of Vineland, pled guilty on October 21, 2019 to making a false report to law enforcement authorities, a fourth degree offense. On December 6, 2019 Houbary was sentenced to a one year term of probation by the Honorable Robert G. Malestein, J.S.C.  By virtue of his guilty plea, Houbary was compelled to resign from his employment as a police officer with the Vineland Police Department, effective October 4, 2017, the date on which he was indicted.  Because his conviction was for an offense involving or touching upon his public employment as a City of Vineland Police Officer, Houbary was additionally compelled to forfeit future public employment in the State of New Jersey.  Additional charges against Houbary alleging conspiracy, endangering another person, tampering with evidence, obstruction of the administration of justice and official misconduct were dismissed at sentencing.

The State’s investigation established that on March 17, 2016 shortly after 5:00 p.m. a motor vehicle accident occurred at a farm field on Trento Avenue, Vineland, New Jersey.  A Victim of the accident suffered serious head injury when he was thrown off the back of a golf cart driven by Defendant Houbary’s Co-Defendant, Joseph Tolotti.  Co-Defendant Tomasz Kwintiuk was the front seat passenger.  The accident occurred on a farm field just off of the public highway.  Just prior to the accident Houbary was at an establishment in the company of Tolotti, Kwintiuk and the Victim.  Houbary responded to the accident scene.  Shortly after the accident the Victim was placed on the golf cart and driven by Defendants to a private residence.  This occurred before the police and emergency medical services could respond.

The State’s investigation further established that Houbary made a call to Vineland Police Department Dispatch on March 17, 2016 at 5:15 p.m. reporting that the golf cart accident had occurred at the private residence, not the farm field.  That evening Houbary told a fellow police officer investigating the golf cart accident that he left the establishment and went straight to the private residence.  Houbary knew he had first gone to the accident scene at the farm field.  And, later that evening Houbary told his superior officer, an investigating police lieutenant, that the golf cart accident occurred at the private residence, knowing that the accident occurred at the farm field.

Defendant Houbary provided sworn testimony in Court when he pled guilty to the charge of making a false report and testified that when he made the statements to Police Dispatch, the investigating officer and the lieutenant he knew that the accident did not occur at the private residence, but that the accident occurred at the farm field.

The Co-Defendant Tomasz Kwintiuk remains pending trial on charges, including conspiracy, endangering another person, tampering with evidence, false reports, obstruction of the administration of justice and official misconduct.  The Co-Defendant Joseph Tolotti remains pending trial for conspiracy, endangering another person, tampering with evidence, false reporting and the obstruction of evidence.

The City of Vineland Police Department reported this matter and cooperated with the investigation.  First Assistant Prosecutor Harold B. Shapiro represented the State.  The Defendant Stephen Houbary was represented by Robert M. Perry, Esquire of Mt. Holly.

*If this press release involves the charging, accusation or indictment of a criminal defendant, same is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.