U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
August 3, 2011
ATTORNEY & FORMER TOWN COUNCILMAN SENTENCED TO 63 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR CONSPIRACY, BRIBERY AND EXTORTION
Robert Ciresi last of five co-conspirators sentenced to federal prison
for role in North Providence municipal corruption
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A U.S. District Court judge today sentenced Robert S. Ciresi, 78, an attorney and former North Providence town councilman and solicitor, to 63 months in federal prison and fined him $10,000 for his role as a middle-man in a corruption and kickback scheme run by three North Providence town councilmen. United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.
A jury convicted Ciresi in April of conspiracy, bribery and Hobbs Act extortion. Former councilmen Joseph S. Burchfield; Raymond L. Douglas III; and John A. Zambarano pled guilty for their roles in the kickback scheme and are currently serving sentences ranging from 64 to 78 months in federal prison. North Providence businessman Edward Imondi previously pled guilty to acting as a middle-man in the scheme and is serving a 12 month and 1 day federal prison sentence.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “The sentence imposed by Judge Lisi today is an appropriate sentence that sends the right message. Going forward, as long as I am the U.S. Attorney, we will continue to recommend sentences like this one for those who choose to violate the public trust by engaging in corrupt activity.”
During Robert Ciresi’s trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. McAdams and Terrence P. Donnelly presented evidence to the jury that an FBI investigation into the corrupt activity of the three North Providence town councilmen in 2009 and 2010 revealed that Robert Ciresi acted as the middle-man in a scheme in which the councilmen demanded and received a $25,000 bribe in exchange for their votes for a zoning variance to allow for the construction of a supermarket. FBI agents witnessed Ciresi delivering the bribe money to one of the councilmen the same night the council took the final vote.
In addition, evidence was presented at trial that Ciresi introduced one of the three councilmen to businessman Edward Imondi with the intention that he be the middle-man to facilitate a $75,000 bribe from a developer who wanted to build a condominium project.
The Rhode Island State Police and Providence Police assisted the FBI in the investigation of this matter.
Ciresi, who is currently free on unsecured bond, was ordered by judge Lisi to self-surrender by August 31, 2011, to begin serving his prison sentence.