New Jersey Mayor Gets 21 Months for Insurance Fraud Scheme

By | August 18, 2008

Former Passaic, New Jersey Mayor Samuel Rivera was sentenced Friday to nearly two years in prison and a $4,000 fine for accepting cash bribes in exchange for influencing city contracts.

Rivera, who was caught in a corruption scheme that netted 11 public officials and a private citizen, resigned last year after pleading guilty to attempted extortion.

Rivera, 61, admitted taking $5,000 in exchange for using his official influence to help a company become the city’s insurance broker. The company turned out to be an FBI front.

The only explanation Rivera offered on Friday for his role in the scheme was “poor judgment.”

A former police officer, Rivera is among nearly two dozen New Jersey mayors charged with corruption since 2000.

Among the most well known is former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, who is set to surrender to prison officials next month. James was ordered to serve a 27-month sentence and pay $100,000 fine for his role in the sale of city-owned properties at a discount.

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