Ex-Paterson Mayor Joey Torres receives 5-year prison sentence

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HUDSON COUNTY -

A judge sentenced former Mayor of Paterson Joey Torres to five years behind bars Tuesday at the Hudson County Courthouse. He will serve five years in state prison, the judge ruled.

Torres pleaded guilty in September to corruption charges, forcing him to resign as Paterson’s mayor. He pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy after months of saying he was innocent.

Torres will be eligible for parole after one year, but his lawyer told News 12 New Jersey that the former mayor could be out within six months if he applies for the Intense Supervision Program.

"In a second-degree crime like this, if the state opposes ISP, then you have to wait a minimum of six months before the ISP panel could accept you into the program. If you’re accepted into that program, you’re released early," John Azzarello, Torres' defense attorney, said.

Torres and three city public works officials were charged with conspiring to have city employees work overtime at a warehouse leased by the mayor's family between July 2014 and April 2015. But the attorney general's office last spring offered co-defendants plea bargains, allowing them to avoid jail time if they testified against the mayor.

Those three men, Joseph Mania, Imad Mowaswes and Timothy Hanlon, did carpentry, electrical work and painting at the site all while being paid with city funds. The men were secretly recorded on video doing that work. 
The site at East 15th Street was supposed to be turned into a wholesale liquor facility, but the lease eventually fell through.  

Torres was elected in 2002 as a Democrat and was re-elected in 2006. He lost a re-election bid in 2010 but won the office again in 2014, running as an independent.

City Council President Ruby Cotton has replaced Torres as mayor until the May 2018 election.

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