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Covering Hamilton and Robbinsville townships in-depth for The Trentonian. I can be reached at (609) 989-7800 ext. 207 or (609) 468-6962. Email me at or follow me @awisefool.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Warney sentenced to 18 months in prison

Robert Warney, the admitted middleman in the Bencivengo case, has been sentenced to more than a year in jail, with two months supervised release, after a hearing this morning.

The judge, Anne Thompson, went beyond the recommendations from the defense and the prosecution, who had asked for a "significant period" of community service and home confinement. She said the fact that Warney admitted to accepting bribes while a member of the Hamilton Board of Education weighed in the sentence. Warney will report to prison on May 3.

"Mr. Warney was not an innocent dupe in this (case). The facts simply don’t support the notion that he was," Thompson said. 

William Hughes, Warney's attorney, said he was disappointed in the sentence, which was considerably longer than his request and, he said, different from the pattern for cooperating defendants in other cases.

"I did not feel it reflected his cooperation in this case," he said.

Warney, the town’s former director of Community Planning and Compliance, plead guilty to one charge of money laundering last year, which carries up to 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. Warney resigned his post in June before pleading guilty to the charge.

Former Mayor John Bencivengo was sentenced to 38 months in prison last week after a jury convicted him of five felony counts last year. Warney testified against Bencivengo at trial and was also featured on tapes recorded by the prosecution’s cooperating witness, Marliese Ljuba.

Warney testified that in 2011 he was given a $5,000 check for a “cherry bedroom set” from the husband of Ljuba. The check, made out to Warney’s wife was then cashed without her knowledge.

Rob Warney said he then took out that cash in increments and paid them to Bencivengo. Warney was recorded on tapes made by both Ljuba and Bencivengo for the FBI where they are talking about the check.


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