Top New Jersey Democrat Guilty
SEPTEMBER 18, 2006
A former longtime New Jersey senator and one of that state’s most influential politicians has pleaded guilty to federal corruption, mail fraud and tax evasion stemming from bribes a sand mining company gave him in exchange for approval of a project.
A six-term state senator and former New Jersey senate president, John Lynch admitted in court that he took $25,000 from a South Brunswick sand mining company in exchange for his help in getting approval to build a recreational park. Lynch also admitted failing to declare $150,000 in extra income in 1999. In detailed court documents, federal authorities charged the former powerful Democrat leader with tax evasion and theft of services through fraud. Each charge carries a possible federal prison sentence of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Lynch was considered a New Jersey political machine that once had the power to appoint judges, shape legislation and even helped pick a governor. It was in fact Lynch who helped now disgraced Governor James McGreevey ascend to the state’s top job. Lynch later served as a top advisor to McGreevey, who resigned after disclosing that he hired his gay lover as the state’s homeland security advisor.
Ironically, Lynch was named politician of the year in 2001 by a well-known New Jersey political news site that said Lynch had recaptured the mantle of political leadership in New Jersey and helped mold McGreevey into a serious gubernatorial candidate in 1997.
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