STATE – A New Jersey Appellate Court ruled today that convicted former Assemblyman Joseph Vas is entitled to back pay and benefits.
The court determined that then-Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr. could not legally withhold Vas’ pay as long as he was still serving in office as an assemblyman. The judges ruled that Roberts acted outside the Assembly’s established disciplinary procedure.
Vas was indicted on 11 counts including conspiracy, misconduct, theft and misapplication of government property on March 11, 2009 following a two-year investigation of corruption and money laundering allegations. On May 21, 2009, the former Perth Amboy mayor was charged with additional crimes in a separate 19-count indictment.
On March 20, 2009, a federal grand jury indicted Vas on 11 counts, including defrauding the public and making illegal campaign contributions. A second federal indictment added more charges related to violations of campaign contribution laws.
On July 29, 2009, Roberts notified Vas that he had ordered the suspension of his salary and benefits. Vas completed his Assembly term, but did not run for re-election.
A federal jury convicted Vas on Oct. 8, 2010. He pleaded guilty to state charges on Nov. 18, 2010. After several delays, Vas is once again scheduled to be sentenced on the federal charges on April 7.
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