- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a former Essex County sheriff’s officer has been sentenced in an extortion case.

Fifty-year-old John Balsamo of West Long Branch received a 15-month sentence Tuesday. He had pleaded guilty to using threats of violence and economic harm to collect a debt from an Ocean County construction contractor.

Besides the prison term, Balsamo also must pay restitution of $2,500 in cash and a Rolex watch that he took from the victim. He also will have to serve two years of supervised release once he’s freed from prison.

Prosecutors say Balsamo and two other men used “extortionate means” to collect $50,000 the contractor owed one of the other men.

The two other men charged along with Balsamo pleaded guilty in February 2012. They were each sentenced Tuesday to probation.

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