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Former Lackawanna County Commissioners Robert C. Cordaro and Anthony J. Munchak sentenced today on corruption charges in federal court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2012

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that former Lackawanna County Commissioners Robert C. Cordaro and Anthony J. Munchak were sentenced in federal court in Scranton today by United States District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo.

     Cordaro and Munchak were sentenced today to serve 132 months(11 years)and 84 months(7 years), respectively, in federal prison following their convictions after a jury trial in June 2011 on multiple felony counts to corruption during their tenure as County Commissioners. In addition, Cordaro was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $98,856, a $1,800 special assessment and serve a three year term of supervised release. Cordaro had previously agreed to forfeit $355,000 to the United States which represents proceeds from the criminal offenses. Munchak was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, a $800 special assessment and also serve a three year term of supervised release.

     Cordaro was ordered to surrender immediately, Munchak will report on April 3, 2012 to commence service.

     Judge Caputo said in imposing the sentences today that the defendants violated the public trust and the oath they took as public officials. He noted that these are the fundamental foundations of our system and that the defendants turned that system “upside down.”

     At the sentencing hearing today the Government contended that Cordaro and Munchak’s criminal activities were “serious, extended and extremely damaging.” The Government stated that Cordaro and Munchak used their positions as majority County Commissioners to “engage in a pay-for-play scheme by accepting money in exchange for their official actions,” and violated the trust placed in them by the citizens of Lackawanna County.

     “People have the right to expect that their elected leaders will honor the oath they swore to. The federal justice system must and will stand up to protect that expectation,” said Peter J. Smith, United States Attorney.

     The Government was represented in the Cordaro and Munchak case by Assistant United States Attorneys Lorna N. Graham, Bruce Brandler and William S. Houser. The investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI and the Criminal Investigations Office of the IRS.

HISTORY OF THE CASE

     Cordaro and Munchak were originally charged in a 40-count indictment in March 2010 with racketeering and related charges in connection with alleged improper actions of the former Majority Commissioners in accepting payments and other benefits from individuals and entities doing business with Lackawanna County.

     In October 2010 a superseding indictment was filed on substantially the same charges. The superseding indictment was presented due to changes in the application of the Federal Honest Services mail fraud statute resulting from a Supreme Court ruling.

     In June 2011, following the 12-day trial, a federal jury in Scranton returned guilty verdicts against Cordaro and Munchak on charges of racketeering, bribery, conspiracy and tax fraud charges as described below.

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)

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

 

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