NEW: Former North Providence Councilman Sentenced to Prison

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


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A former North Providence councilman has been sentenced to 71 months in federal prison for his role in a major bribery and extortion scheme.

John Zambarano, 48, was one of three former councilmen to plead guilty in the corruption probe.

His sentence includes three years of supervised release, a $10,000 fine, and the forfeiture of $46,000 in bribe money he collected. The sentence was handed down by a federal judge today.

Two other former councilmen were sentenced yesterday— Joseph S. Burchfield and Raymond L. Douglas III. Burchfield faces 64 months in federal prison and Douglas has a 78-month sentence.

“Greed is never good. It is particularly offensive when it manifests itself in those who hold the public trust. Mr. Burchfield, Mr. Douglas and Mr. Zambarano took an oath to serve the people of North Providence,” said U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha. “Instead, to line their own pockets, they engaged in a scheme to victimize them, recruiting cohorts along the way. They received stiff sentences. Those sentences are well-deserved.”

$108,000 total sought in bribes

An FBI investigation had revealed that the three men obtained a $25,000 bribe in exchange for a favorable vote on a zoning issue for a proposed supermarket and a $75,000 bribe for a vote on a residential development. The trio also apparently tried to extort $3,000 from a bar owner and $5,000 from a restaurant owner.

In all the councilmen sought $108,000 in bribes.

North Providence businessman Edward Imondi, the middleman in one of those schemes—involving the residential development—also has been sentenced to a year in prison.

A fifth figure in the corruption probe, attorney Robert Ciresi, was convicted last month of also serving as a middleman in the bribery scheme. He is scheduled for sentencing on July 28.

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