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Hoboken, new jersey man sentenced to a year and a half in prison for role in former hoboken mayor’s extortion conspiracy

January 18, 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A Hoboken, N.J., man was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for giving $25,000 in illicit cash campaign contributions to former Hoboken Mayor Peter J. Cammarano III in a scheme to obtain Cammarano’s official influence regarding real estate development projects, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Michael Schaffer, 60, previously pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. He entered his guilty plea before United States District Judge Jose L. Linares, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

At his plea hearing, Schaffer admitted that while Cammarano was an at-large Councilman for the City of Hoboken and candidate for the position of mayor, Schaffer accepted three unlawful cash campaign contributions totaling $15,000 from a cooperating witness (“CW”), who purported to be a real estate developer. On July 16, 2009, after Cammarano had been elected and sworn in as mayor, he accepted an additional $10,000 illicit cash campaign contribution from the CW.

The $25,000 in cash payments were in exchange for Cammarano’s future official assistance, action and influence in Hoboken government matters pertaining to the CW’s anticipated real estate development projects. Schaffer also admitted that he wrote checks to Cammarano’s campaign fund in order to conceal the origin of the cash he received from the CW.

In addition to the prison term, Schaffer was sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $4,000 fine.

In sentencing Schaffer, Judge Linares said that “he violated the trust of the people of Hoboken,” and stated that “he was aware of what he was doing and active in this conspiracy.”

Cammarano pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced on August 5, 2010, to two years in prison and two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to forfeit $25,000, the amount of the corrupt bribes that he received, to the government.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, and special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian R. Howe, Deputy Chief, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley A. Harsch, both of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: Corinne M. Mullen, Esq., Hoboken

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