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Ex-city official gets prison term for kickback scheme

January 14, 2020 GMT

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — A city official has received a prison term for taking thousands of dollars in kickbacks from two contractors after he gave them work that wasn’t performed or done for a significantly inflated price.

Erik Lowe, 51, a Paterson resident who served as a commissioner for the city’s now-defunct Municipal Utilities Authority for six years, was sentenced Monday to nearly three years in prison. He also must pay $236,400 in restitution.

Lowe pleaded guilty to two counts of committing extortion under color of official right.

Lowe devised a scheme with a contractor in which he approved $146,500 in payments to a firm for services that both knew would never be performed. The contractor then kicked back a portion of the money to Lowe and another commissioner, authorities have said.