- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A judge on Tuesday sentenced the former mayor of Passaic to 27 months in prison for taking $110,000 in bribes from two developers in exchange for directing federal housing funds to a failed low-income housing project.

The judge also ordered Alex Blanco to pay $110,000 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release.

“What I did was wrong and I apologize to the city, the people of the city who trusted me and I apologize to my wife who will now have to carry the load and raise our four sons,” Blanco said.

The Democrat had faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

His attorney, Joseph Hayden Jr., requested leniency, citing Blanco’s tenure as a school board trustee and mayor, lack of criminal record and his service prior to his guilty plea as a podiatrist for the Veterans Affairs hospital in East Orange.

Judge William Martini said he tried the balance the need for a deterrent with the suffering Blanco’s prison term would cause his family.

“I would be more understanding if you were approached,” Martini told Blanco. “But you initiated this.”

Blanco resigned as mayor after pleading guilty in November.

Blanco won a special election in 2008 to succeed Mayor Samuel Rivera, who resigned and was sentenced to 21 months in prison in 2008 for accepting bribes. He was released from prison in 2010.

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