AUGUST 08, 2006
The highest ranking public official convicted in Philadelphia’s renowned pay-to-play culture is on his way to federal prison where he will serve a 6 – year sentence for fraud, corruption and tax evasion.
A jury found the disgraced former city councilman, Rick Mariano, guilty of taking nearly $30,000 in bribes from businesses seeking tax and zoning breaks as well as other favors. Twenty other city officials have been convicted on similar charges in recent years, including the former treasurer, two bank executives and a prominent Muslim clergyman.
But Mariano’s conviction was the biggest since it marked the city’s first sitting councilman to be convicted of corruption since 1991 and federal authorities estimate that the bribes he accepted to fix illegal deals cost taxpayers more than $700,000. Mariano used the bribe money to pay off his huge personal credit card debt and dues at an upscale health club.
He said that he plans to use his prison time wisely, to study law, lose 25 pounds and write a book since he believes that “there is more to the Rick Mariano story” than has been reported. All this will take place at Fort Dix federal prison in New Jersey.
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