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Ex-mayor in New Jersey gets two years in prison

By Ashley Vaughan, CNN
Peter Cammarano III admitted that he took three illegal cash payments from a government witness.
Peter Cammarano III admitted that he took three illegal cash payments from a government witness.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Peter Cammarano III was Hoboken's youngest mayor
  • He was arrested after just three weeks in office
  • Cammarano pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy and extortion
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(CNN) -- The former mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison for accepting bribes in one of the state's largest political corruption scandals, according to the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey.

Peter Cammarano III, 33, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to spend twenty-four months in prison for illegally accepting $25,000 in bribes -- all of which he must repay to the government. The judge also ordered Cammarano to two years of supervised release upon completion of his jail term.

In April, the ex-mayor pleaded guilty before a federal judge to conspiracy and extortion, following his arrest just three weeks after becoming Hoboken's youngest mayor.

The U.S. attorney's office said that Cammarano took bribes from a government witness who posed as a real estate developer in exchange for promised future assistance in Hoboken's government matters.

Prosecutors said that at his plea hearing, Cammarano said that he accepted three illegal cash payments from the government witness. Two payments, totaling $15,000, were received while he was a councilman at-large for Hoboken. He further admitted that he accepted an added $10,000 after being elected and sworn in as mayor.

Shortly after his arrest, Cammarano stepped down as mayor of Hoboken. In a statement to the city clerk's office at the time, he denied all criminal wrongdoing, but said the charges had disrupted the city government and his ability to perform his duties as mayor

The U.S. attorney's statement said that Cammarano's sentencing resulted from an undercover FBI investigation into public corruption and money-laundering. Cammarano was one of 44 civic leaders and public officials nabbed in an investigation called "Operation Bid Rig."

In a statement to CNN, Cammarano's attorney, Joseph A Hayden, said, "Peter Cammarano made a catastrophic mistake with respect to his conduct. He has accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty. He will serve his sentence. He is a young man and will rebuild his life. In the future he will once again make positive contributions to society."

Cammarano is free on bond and is scheduled surrender to authorities on September 20, 2010, to being his prison term.

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