- Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal
Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced
that a state appeals court today issued a
decision increasing the sentence imposed on
former Carneys Point mayor John “Mack”
Lake from three years in prison to five years.
Lake attempted to bribe an opponent to drop
out of the 2006 township committee race.
are gratified by the court’s decision,”
said Attorney General Milgram. “Lake
offered a taxpayer-funded job as a bribe to
his political opponent in an effort to secure
his own re-election. He attempted to subvert
the election process and use the power of
his office for personal gain.”
Dec. 7, 2007, Lake, 53, was convicted in a
bench trial before Superior Court Judge William
L. Forester in Salem County of second-degree
official misconduct and two counts of second-degree
bribery. The state asked Judge Forester to
impose a seven-year prison sentence, which
represents the middle of the five- to 10-year
sentencing range for second-degree offenses.
However, Forester sentenced Lake in April
2008 to three years in state prison, which
is the bottom of the sentencing range for
third-degree offenses. The state appealed
a published opinion issued today, a three-judge
Appellate Division panel ruled that the trial
judge did not have a proper basis for downgrading
the sentence to the third-degree range. The
appeals court also rejected Lake’s contention
on appeal that the evidence was not sufficient
to sustain the second-degree charges.
Judge Forester is no longer on the bench,
the Appellate Division panel did not remand
the case for sentencing. Instead, it exercised
jurisdiction to sentence Lake to five years
in state prison on the official misconduct
charge and a concurrent term of five years
for the two bribery counts. The original sentence
had been stayed, but the appeals court lifted
the stay today.
Attorney General Jeanne Screen argued the
appeal for the Division of Criminal Justice
Appellate Bureau. Deputy Attorney General
Susan Kase prosecuted the case for the Division
of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The
case was investigated by the State Police
Official Corruption Unit.
approached his opponent, Anthony Rullo, on
at least two occasions with offers to secure
him a paid municipal job if he would drop
out of the race for township committee at
a point that was too late for the opposition
party to substitute another candidate.
approached Rullo first in July 2006 and offered
to use his position as mayor - appointed by
the committee - to get Rullo a paid part-time
position with the Carneys Point Sewer Authority
if Rullo withdrew as a candidate for township
committee. Rullo brought the offer to the
attention of Salem County Prosecutor John
T. Lenahan, who conducted an initial review
and then referred the matter to the State
Police Official Corruption Unit and the Division
of Criminal Justice.
August, Lake made a new offer to secure Rullo
a paid position as assistant to the township
housing inspector if he dropped out of the
race. Rullo stayed in the race and defeated
Lake on Nov. 7, 2006.
General Milgram noted that the Division of
Criminal Justice - Corruption Bureau has established
a toll-free Corruption Tipline for the public
to report corruption, financial crime and
other illegal activities. The statewide Corruption
Tipline is 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.
Additionally, the public can log on to the
Division of Criminal Justice Web page at www.njdcj.org
to report suspected wrongdoing. All information
received through the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Tipline or Web page will