Manuel Marono, Former Sweetwater Mayor, Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison

Marono to begin serving sentence in March

Former Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono was sentenced to 40 months in prison Thursday on a public corruption charge.

Marono, who pleaded guilty in federal court in November, will surrender to begin serving his prison term on March 31.

Marono and lobbyist Jorge Forte, his onetime chief of staff, were arrested in August after an undercover FBI operation revealed they were pocketing thousands of dollars in kickbacks while seeking federal grants, authorities said.

Marono was removed as head of the Florida League of Cities following the arrest. Forte pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to commit honest services fraud in November, but he hasn't been sentenced.

Marono was arrested the same day Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi was arrested on similar charges. Pizzi maintains that he's innocent.

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