November 23, 2010
PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATOR RAPHAEL J. MUSTO INDICTED BY FEDERAL GRAND JURY ON CHARGES OF HONEST SERVICES FRAUD, CORRUPT RECEIPT OF REWARD FOR OFFICIAL ACTION AND MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO THE FBI
Peter J. Smith, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; George C. Venizelos, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Eric C. Hylton, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, joined together to announce the indictment of State Senator Raphael J. Musto, Pennsylvania 14th Senatorial District, by a federal grand jury in Scranton. The indictment charges Musto with six counts of honest services fraud, the corrupt receipt of a reward for official actions, and making false statements to agents of the FBI.
Senator Musto, age 81, of Pittston, was charged with accepting a $25,000 cash payment around December 26, 2006, from a construction contractor whom had developed various properties in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties. Musto accepted the $25,000 in cash, as well as other things of value from the contractor, as part of a stream of benefits designed to secure Musto’s continued support of various construction projects which were to the financial benefit of the company.
The indictment also alleges that Musto accepted thousands of dollars in cash from another individual affiliated with several Northeast Pennsylvania municipal authorities. According to the indictment, that cash payment was accepted as a reward for prior official action taken by the Senator where he assisted the municipal authorities to obtain loans and grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The indictment charges that Musto accepted these funds intending to be influenced in his future official decisions.
If convicted of the bribery charge, Musto faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines as applied by the court.
In addition to the charges, the indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation. Upon conviction of any of the offenses charged in Counts 1 through 4, Musto must forfeit the property derived from the violations, specifically, $31,500 in cash.
This case is part of an on-going investigation of public corruption and fraud in local and state government being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.
Citizens with information regarding public corruption are encouraged to contact either the FBI at 570-344-2404 or the public corruption task force toll free at 1-866-4320
This case is being prosecuted by a team of federal prosecutors led by Senior Litigation Counsel Gordon Zubrod and includes Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Houser, Michael Consiglio, Amy Phillips, John Gurganus and Criminal Division Chief Christian Fisanick.
Peter J. Smith
An indictment and criminal information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proved the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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