Suspended Florida Mayor Pleads Guilty to Kickbacks

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 08:09 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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A disgraced Florida mayor and a lobbyist pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to federal corruption charges, The Miami Herald reported.

Suspended Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono and lobbyist Jorge Forte each pleaded to one count of "conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud " for accepting $45,000 in kickbacks in exchange for using their influence to gain federal grants for a company called Sunshine Universal, which was actually an FBI setup.

The bogus company purportedly would prepare an economic development study for the southern Florida town.

Marono and Forte could face up to five years in prison when they are sentenced in January.

Also snared in the same FBI sting was now suspended Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pissi, who pleaded guilty, and another lobbyist, who has not entered a plea.



The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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