New Jersey

Former Paterson Mayor Joey Torres Gets 5 Years in Prison in Corruption Case

As part of a plea deal, Torres agreed to serve prison time, pay restitution, resign as mayor and never seek office again

What to Know

  • Ex-Paterson Mayor Joey Torres previously pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy charges
  • Torres was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison with no chance of parole
  • Torres had been accused of ordering city workers to do construction at a relative’s would-be beer store on city time

A judge has sentenced former Paterson, New Jersey, mayor Joey Torres to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in a corruption case sparked by an I-Team investigation in 2016. 

The judge handed down the sentence Tuesday with no parole, but later said she didn't object to Torres applying for the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP). If he were accepted to that program, he could be released after six months and then be out for a longer, more scrutinized parole. The program has the authority to deny Torres' request, though, the judge noted.

A tearful Torres apologized and said he was embarrassed just before he was sentenced. The Democrat said his lack of judgment led to the charges.

Torres served five terms on Paterson's City Council before he was elected mayor in 2002 over incumbent Martin Barnes. Barnes pleaded guilty and went to prison for charges stemming from a kickback scheme.

The embattled politician resigned in September as part of the plea deal and agreed to never again seek public office. He also owes thousands in restitution over the scheme to steal from taxpayers by ordering city workers to do construction on a relative's would-be beer business.

Torres accepted the deal after Paterson Department of Public Works supervisors caught on camera doing work for the now-former mayor's family also accepted plea deals and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. 

The three DPW workers -- Timothy Hanlon, Joseph Mania and Imad Mowases -- also forfeited their jobs with the city and are permanently barred from public employment. They were each sentenced Tuesday to a three-year term of probation. 

Torres, meanwhile, has been replaced by City Council President Ruby Cotton until the May 2018 election. 

Torres initially denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charges. His March arrest came after a series of I-Team stories that appeared to show city employees doing private jobs for him, from washing his scooter and building bookshelves to doing construction at his nephew's would-be beer business.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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