Manuel Maroño, once a powerful local politician who counted Florida’s governor among his friends, was sentenced to 40 months in prison on Thursday for using his position as the mayor of Sweetwater to dole out official favors in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in bribes.
Maroño, 42, who will surrender to serve his term on March 31, apologized for misdeeds that led to a fraud conspiracy charge stemming from an FBI sting operation involving a government grant scheme.
About 100 family members, friends and colleagues showed up in Fort Lauderdale federal court to support the disgraced former mayor. They heard U.S. District Judge William Zloch pronounce the sort of public corruption that Maroño engaged in “a cancer” plaguing South Florida.
The former mayor’s defense attorneys said federal prosecutors had joined them in recommending that Maroño receive the low end of the guidelines — three years — calling such punishment “reasonable and fair.” Zloch added an additional four months to that recommendation.
“Mr. Maroño has readily admitted his guilt, and while he should be punished for that crime, he should not be judged exclusively by it,” his attorneys, Armando Rosquete and Kendall Coffey, wrote in court papers.