News and Press Releases

U.S. Attorney's Office Announces Jury Verdict And $355,000 Forfeiture Against Lackawanna County Commissioners Robert C. Cordaro and Anthony J. Munchak

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2011

     The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that late yesterday a federal jury in Scranton returned verdicts against Robert Cordaro and Anthony Munchak on charges of racketeering and related charges in connection with improper actions of the former Majority Commissioners in accepting and demanding payments and other benefits from individuals and entities doing business with Lackawanna County.

     During the 10-day trial before United States District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo, the government presented approximately 30 witnesses and evidence related to the hundreds of thousands of dollars received in secret cash payments.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the jury deliberated for about 8 hours before returning the following guilty verdicts:

Robert Cordaro:

-Conspiracy to Commit Theft or Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (1 count);
-Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (2 counts);
-Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under Color of Official Right (1 count);
-Extortion Under Color of Official Right (2 counts);
-Money Laundering Conspiracy (1 count);
-Money Laundering (3 counts);
-Racketeering (1 count);
-Racketeering Conspiracy (1 count);
-Conspiracy to Defraud the United States(1 count);
-Subscribing and Filing a Materially False Tax Return (3 counts); and
-Income Tax Evasion (2 counts)

Anthony Munchak:

-Conspiracy to Commit Theft or Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (1 count);
-Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (2 counts);
-Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under Color of Official Right (1 count);
-Extortion Under Color of Official Right (2 counts);
-Subscribing and Filing a Materially False Tax Return (1 count); and
-Income Tax Evasion (1 count)

     The jury found the defendants not guilty on 15 counts of the indictment.

     Pursuant to the forfeiture counts in the Indictment, Cordaro has agreed to forfeit $355,000 to the United States which represents proceeds from the criminal offenses.

     Sentencing for both men is scheduled for September 28, 2011.

     U.S. Attorney Smith thanked the members of the jury for rendering a fair and justice verdict in the case. Mr. Smith went on to state, "Hopefully, the public airing of the abuses of power shown here will bring a better day for the government and citizens of Lackawanna County. The jury verdict showed that public office is not an ATM machine to generate secret cash payments or an entitlement to be used for pleasure trips or a license to steal, or a means to hide or misrepresent relationships that conflict with the duties of a public official. We hope that public officials and those seeking to do public business with them will heed the outcome of this case."

     U.S. Attorney Smith also thanked the prosecutors, Assistant United States Attorneys Lorna Graham, William Houser and Bruce Brandler, the agents of the FBI and IRS and the outstanding support staff of the United States Attorney's Office for their skill, energy and dedication. "They got the job done in the right and just way and that work continues."

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