Corrupt Contractor’s Sentencing Postponed

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TRENTON – A federal judge postponed the sentencing of a former associate of Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage who was convicted of bribing a Linden housing official.

Raymond Vella, 34, could spend up to five years and three months in prison for his role in a bid-rigging and kickback case that crippled a program to help low-income residents renovate their homes. In January, Vella was convicted of trading cash payments for nearly $700,000 in contracts.

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Four other defendants in the case are scheduled to be sentenced this week, and U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson said that she wanted to determine their punishments before sentencing Vella.

“I want to have a full picture, and I can only do that after I have gone through those sentences first,” Thompson said.

Vella’s sentencing has been rescheduled for Oct. 2.

Frank Rose, 54, was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for  accepting $189,000 in bribes in exchange for steering $5.2 million in contracts to six people, including Vella.

Walter Zawacki, another contractor who paid money in exchange for contracts, was sentenced to six months’ home confinement.


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