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News Release
U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

May 16, 2011                                           

THREE TIED TO NORTH PROVIDENCE MUNICIPAL KICKBACK SCHEME SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON


Fourth defendant to be sentenced on Tuesday; Fifth defendant to be sentenced in July

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two former North Providence, R.I., town councilmen who pleaded guilty in March to federal bribery and extortion charges and a North Providence businessman who pleaded guilty to acting as the middle-man in kickback schemes with the councilmen were sentenced Monday by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office, announced the sentencing of former councilmen Joseph S. Burchfield and Raymond L. Douglas III, and North Providence businessman Edward Imondi.

A fourth defendant, former town councilman John A. Zambarano, who pleaded guilty for his role in the bribery schemes, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. A fifth defendant, Attorney Robert S. Ciresi, convicted at trial by a federal jury on April 26 for acting as a middle-man in the bribery scheme, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 28, 2011.

On Monday, former councilman Joseph S. Burchfield, 43, was sentenced to 64 months in federal prison - to be followed by 3 years supervised release, and a fine of $10,000; former councilman Raymond L. Douglas III, 43, was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison - to be followed by 3 years supervised release, and a fine of $12,500 ; and North Providence businessman Edward Imondi 74, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years supervised release - the first 12 months to be served in home confinement. In addition, the defendants were ordered to forfeit $46,000, the amount of bribe money collected during the kickback schemes.

According to court documents and court testimony, an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that former councilmen Burchfield, Douglas and Zambarano conspired together in a scheme to extort bribes in exchange for favorable council votes on four matters. The schemes detailed in court included a $25,000 bribe in exchange for a supermarket development zoning change; a $75,000 bribe in exchange for a zoning change which would permit residential development at a mill in the Lymansville section of North Providence (of which $21,000 in cash was delivered); the attempted extortion of $3,000 from a bar owner seeking a liquor license, but was never paid; and the attempted extortion of $5,000 from a restaurant owner seeking an extended hours permit that he refused to pay. 

According to court documents and court testimony Imondi, acting as a middle-man between the developer of a mill complex and the councilmen, delivered $21,000 in bribe money to the councilmen. The cash represented a partial payment of a $75,000 bribe the councilmen demanded in exchange for their favorable votes on a zoning change.

In addition to pleading guilty for his role in the extortion and bribery schemes, Douglas also pleaded guilty to using extortion to collect gambling debts. The defendant admitted that he operated an illegal gambling business in North Providence, which accepted illegal sports wagers on various college and professional sports, and that he used extortion to collect gambling debts. Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi sentenced Douglas to 78 months in federal prison - to be followed by 3 years supervised release, and a fine of $12,500 on the extortion charges related to his bookmaking activities to run concurrently with his 78 month sentence for extortion and bribery.

Judge Lisi ordered Joseph Burchfield to report to federal prison on June 6, 2011 to begin serving his sentence. Raymond Douglas and Edward Imondi were ordered to report on June 27, 2011.

The matter, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. McAdams and Terrence P. Donnelly, was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police Department and Internal Revenue Service.

 

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Contact: 401-709-5357
USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

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