Former Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert Cordaro is no longer a free man. He was taken into custody right after he was sentenced Monday afternoon to 11 years in prison.
His partner, A.J. Munchak, has 60 days before he too heads to prison for seven years.
The punishment comes after both were convicted last year of being corrupt while running Lackawanna County government.
The former Lackawanna County commissioners showed up in court Monday contrite and remorseful.
Federal prosecutors countered the two were convicted of some of the most serious crimes a public official could commit.
Judge Richard Caputo told the former commissioners their actions undermined our system of government before handing down a sentence that seemed to split the difference.
“I’m on the mend,” Munchak said as he left the federal courthouse in downtown Scranton. He is free until he surrenders to authorities April 3.
In court Munchak said, “I take full responsibility. I’ve disgraced (my family and friends). I’ve stained the office of commissioner. I’m truly sorry.”
Federal Judge Richard Caputo sentenced Munchak to seven years in prison, beginning in two months while federal authorities find a facility close to his family in Florida where his medical needs can be met.
“I think the sentence was longer than necessary, seven years, but that’s our judicial system. That’s the way it is. I’d just like to thank the judge for allowing me to self report, Munchak said after learning his sentence.
“Actions, inactions, associations where I’m in this situation. I’m the only one to blame for being here today,” Cordaro said before entering court for sentencing.
Inside, he too apologized, adding the effect it has had on him and his family, telling the court, “I was a person of some means. I’ve literally lost every material possession and asset I own,” including his home and car.
Judge Caputo sentenced Cordaro to 11 years in prison and placed him in immediate custody.
Prosecutors argued for stiffer sentences, claiming the two former commissioners “were not remorseful for their actions, or committing crimes. They were only remorseful for being (in court).”
Still, U.S. Attorney Peter Smith called the sentences a stiff deterrent to public corruption.
“It appropriately sends the proper message that the court intentionally wanted to send regarding the violations of the public trust that occurred here,” Smith said.
The sentences mean Bob Cordaro is likely to be in his early 60s when his term is up. Munchak, whose health issues have been documented in recent days, could serve time until he is 72.
Lawyers for both former commissioners are appealing.