PERTH AMBOY – Former Mayor Joseph Vas was sentenced to six and a half years in federal prison for corruption charges on Tuesday.
Judge Susan D. Wigenton also ordered Vas to pay $90,000 in restitution for Perth Amboy redevelopment funds that were allocated for an apartment building that the former mayor bought and flipped for a $290,000 profit.
Vas purchased a 12-unit apartment building on DeKalb Avenue in Dec. 2005 for approximately $660,000, then re-sold it to a contractor for approximately $950,000 five months later. Vas promised to help the developer obtain $360,000 in city funds to rehabilitate the property, but only $90,000 was actually paid.
Vas used a portion of his proceeds from the sale to fund his 2006 Congressional campaign in violation of federal election law.
A federal jury convicted Vas of two counts of mail fraud in the real estate transaction, as well as single counts of misappropriating city funds, accepting illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to FBI agents.
Vas pleaded guilty to state corruption charges last year and is expected to serve an eight-year sentence concurrent with his federal one.
Vas’ attorney Alan Zegas said he will appeal the conviction and the sentence.
The mayor’s longtime aide, Melvin Ramos, was also sentenced Tuesday for his role in the federal corruption scheme. Ramos faces three years and one month in federal prison.
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