Two New Jersey assemblymen, three mayors, and several rabbis were among 44 people arrested yesterday as part of a federal investigation into international money laundering and homegrown political corruption, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. A member of Gov. Jon Corzine’s cabinet, Joseph V. Doria Jr., whose house and office were raided, resigned, although he was not charged.
Prosecutors said the investigation revealed a “pervasive” culture of corruption. “New Jersey’s corruption problem is one of the worst, if not the worst, in the nation,” said Ed Kahrer, who heads the FBI’s white-collar and public-corruption investigation division. “Corruption is a cancer that is destroying the core values of this state.” The investigation centered on a cooperating witness who was charged with bank fraud in 2006 and who, working with the FBI, laundered roughly $3 million through operations run by the rabbis in Deal and Brooklyn, according to authorities.