The mayor of New Jersey's largest suburb has stepped down, one day after he was convicted of extortion and money laundering.

Mayor John Bencivengo (Hamilton Township)

Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo's resignation took effect at noon Wednesday.

Bencivengo said he leaves the post with a "heavy heart," but believes stepping down from the $108,000-a-year job was the best thing to do.

A federal jury deliberated for about four and a half hours before finding Bencivengo guilty Tuesday on those counts as well as attempted extortion and two bribery-related counts.

The mayor was accused of accepting $12,400 in bribes from a health insurance broker. She testified she made payments to Bencivengo in exchange for his influence in ensuring she maintained her contract with the school district.

Bencivengo's attorney claimed the payments were loans.


(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)