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Ex-cop gets 9-year sentence in Newark water scandal

January 7, 2021 GMT

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal judge sentenced a former Newark police officer to nine years in prison Thursday for giving kickbacks to the former head of the city’s scandal-ridden water corporation.

Janell Robinson, 45, had previously been convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy. She was accused of paying about $50,000 in kickbacks to Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. executive director Linda Watkins Brashear in exchange for Robinson’s security company receiving contracts.

Under terms of her sentence, Robinson will have to pay restitution of about $289,000.

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Brashear and several others connected to the corporation have pleaded guilty for participating in what state auditors call an “egregious” abuse of public funds over a number of years. Brashear admitted accepting nearly $1 million in kickbacks and is serving an eight-year prison term.

The non-profit was created to operate the city’s water treatment and distribution system and manage its fresh water reservoirs in northern New Jersey.

The scandal shone a light on former Newark Mayor Cory Booker, currently a U.S. senator, whom state auditors criticized for exercising insufficient oversight over the watershed corporation. Booker wasn’t charged and has said he wasn’t aware of the corruption at the time.