The mayor of New Jersey's largest suburb has been convicted of extortion and money laundering.

Hamilton Mayor Bencivengo Convicted (File Photo)
Hamilton Mayor Bencivengo Convicted (File Photo)

The Times of Trenton ( reports a federal jury deliberated for about four and a half hours before finding Hamilton Township John Bencivengo guilty Tuesday on those counts as well as attempted extortion and two bribery-related counts.

The trial hinged on the account of a former insurance broker who testified she made payments to Bencivengo in exchange for his influence in ensuring she maintained her contract with the school district.

Marliese Ljuba secretly recorded conversations with Bencivengo in her role as a cooperating witness for the FBI.

Bencivengo's attorney claimed the payments were loans that Bencivengo intended to pay back and that Bencivengo didn't have the ability to influence school board decisions.

Information from: The (Trenton, N.J.) Times,

(The Associated Press 2012)

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