Mayors, rabbis arrested in NJ corruption probe
NEWARK (Reuters) - Dozens of New Jersey politicians, officials and prominent rabbis were arrested on Thursday in a sweeping federal probe that uncovered political corruption, human organ sales and money laundering from New York to Israel, officials said.
The 10-year investigation, dubbed "Operation Bid Rig," exposed influence-peddling and bribe-taking among a network of public officials and a separate multimillion dollar money-laundering ring that funneled funds through charities operated by local rabbis, said the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark, New Jersey.
The cast of the 44 arrested featured Hoboken, New Jersey, Mayor Peter Cammarano, who took office three weeks ago in the industrial city visible across the Hudson River from New York.
Others accused were mayors of nearby Secaucus and Ridgefield, state Assemblymen, a deputy mayor, city council members, housing, planning and zoning officials, building inspectors and political candidates.
"New Jersey's corruption problem is one of the worst, if not the worst, in the nation," said Ed Kahrer, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's white collar crime and public corruption program in New Jersey, who has worked on the investigation since it began in July 1999.