New Jersey: Former Democratic Mayor of Paterson, Jose Torres cried while reading a statement in court today during his sentencing phase. Torres pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct along with three other men back in September of this year. Torres admitted that had three public works employees help with renovations at his daughter’s beer warehouse. Via North Jersey.com,
“PATERSON – Jose “Joey” Torres blew his family a kiss and walked out of a Hudson County courtroom in handcuffs Tuesday morning after a judge sentenced the former Paterson mayor to five years in prison
“We love you, Joey,” cried his wife, Sonia, as two law enforcement officers escorted him out a side door on his way to jail. The judge did not set a minimum amount of prison time for Torres and his lawyers said he would apply for a supervised release program within six months. Under the deal, five years was the maximum sentence Torres could have received. Torres’ voice cracked with emotion as he cried in the courtroom, speaking of his regret and remorse, repeatedly saying, “I’m sorry.”
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“I proudly served the state of New Jersey and the City of Paterson in one capacity or other for over 30 years,” said the disgraced mayor.
“Torres stopped speaking several times as he fought back his tears. “I’m sorry, I embarrassed my family and friends,” he added, holding a tissue against his face. “I’m sorry, so sorry.”
“Torres previously admitted that he directed three public works employees — Joe Mania, Timothy Hanlon, and Imad “Eddie” Mowaswes — to do renovations at a beer warehouse owned by the mayor’s daughter and nephew while Paterson taxpayers paid them.
“Torres and the three men pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct, part of an agreement under which five other charges against them were dropped.
“The workers, who had agreed to testify against the former mayor if the case went to trial, were sentenced to probation on Tuesday. The state agreed to allow the three employees to avoid jail time in exchange for their testimony.
“Torres’ lawyer, John Azzarello, said his client would be eligible for parole within a year. In the meantime, Azzarello said, Torres would apply for the Intense Supervision Program (ISP) and could get out of jail in six months. Azzarello cited Torres’ decades in public office, saying he would be a prime candidate for the probation program.
“The judge, Sheila Venable, said during the sentencing that she would not object to Torres’ admission to the ISP program. The terms of ISP vary from case to case, but the program usually requires participants to wear monitoring devices, lawyers said.
“Azzarello also asked that Torres be allowed to serve his time at Bayside, a minimum security correctional facility in South Jersey. Azzarello said Torres should not be jailed with “people who murdered, assaulted and dealt drugs on a high level.”
“The judge did not weigh in on where she thinks Torres should serve his sentence. Azzarello said the former mayor would be held at the Hudson County Jail and then a state processing facility before a decision is made on where he would be held.
“During Tuesday’s proceeding, Azzarello asked the judge for leniency. He said the crimes Torres committed should not overshadow his public service.
“At one point, Azzarello said that Torres was planning to spare taxpayers’ the cost of the employees’ overtime expended while they were working on the mayor’s daughter’s beer warehouse.
“The attorney said Torres wanted to bill the time to owners of vacant buildings that city workers had to board up to prevent squatters from getting inside.
“Azzarello said Torres’ thinking was that the “city was going to get that money back.”
“But deputy attorney general Jeff Manis dismissed that explanation, saying that bill the property owners for the bogus overtime simply would have shifted whom Torres was stealing from.
“Under the sentencing, Torres and the three employees must repay the city for $10,000 in overtime that authorities tied to the renovations at the beer business. Torres also has to refund about $800 to his political campaign account to cover money used from that fund for the beer warehouse, authorities said.”
Well, tough luck! This man committed a crime and only now that he has been sentenced, he is sorry. After reading the story and hearing what he did I believe this was all about him getting ahead on the taxpayer’s dime.
I am glad that they caught him. I hope other corrupt crooked politicians take a good look at Mr. Torres and know that if you screw the taxpayer eventually the law will catch up with you.