"Dirty Jersey" Guilty Plea #9

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Solomon Dwek, a key witness in the government's public corruption case, can add another notch to his belt today as Alfonso Santoro became the 9th person to plead guilty.

    Another New Jersey political figure stepped forward to admit he, too, is a crook.

    This time the guilty plea came from Ocean County Democratic Party leader Alfonso Santoro -- bringing to nine  the number of officials pleading guilty in connection with the FBI's massive corruption takedown in July.

    Santoro, 70, of Beachwood, NJ, was not arrested in the initial round-up and his guilty plea Thursday brings to 46 the number of politicians, Rabbis and community leaders charged in the case.

    He admitted taking $5,000 from the FBI's cooperating witness who was posing as a developer.  In exchange for the cash payment, Santoro admitted he offered to introduce the 'developer' to other officials in Ocean County.

    Santoro could face a maximum of 5 years in prison. 

    Santoro's guilty plea comes the same week as Michael Manzo's, who had worked as an arson investigator in Jersey City and was running for City Council when he accepted a $5,000 bribe from the FBI's cooperating witness. 

    The men are among the dozens people charged in the sweeping corruption takedown that first reported on NBCNewYork.com as part of NBC's ongoing investigative coverage of the corruption problem plaguing the Garden State.

    The FBI informant, Solomon Dwek, has admitted orchestrating a massive bank fraud in the tens of millions of dollars.  He pleaded guilty to federal crimes and is expected to be sentenced next year.

    WNBC's Jonathan Dienst and Brian Thompson first broke the corruption story on News 4 New York.

    WNBC's Jonathan Dienst is WNBC"s chief investigative reporter.  WNBC's Brian Thompson is the station's New Jersey correspondent.