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Mazz Auto manager gets probation in police bribery-towing scheme

A man convicted of conspiring to make payments and gratuities to Buffalo police officers was sentenced Wednesday to two years' probation by U.S. Court Judge Richard J. Arcara, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Christopher Mahoney, 34, served in a managerial capacity for two towing companies owned by James Mazzariello Jr., who earlier this month admitted to bribing officers to gain an advantage over competitors at accident scenes in the city, prosecutors said.

They said Mahoney admitted between January 2009 and May 2012, Jim Mazz Auto tow truck operators, at the direction of Mazzariello and his son Adam, made payments to police officers for assistance in allowing Jim Mazz operators to tow vehicles from accident scenes.

The truck operators made the payments from their funds, then sought reimbursement from James and Adam Mazzariello and Mahoney, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said James Mazzariello directed and authorized Mahoney to make reimbursement payments, and Mahoney used cash from the Jim Mazz Auto cash drawer to make the payments.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the plea agreement does not specify the exact number of payments the operators made to officers. Government investigators identified 19 payments that totaled about $500. The gross revenue Jim Mazz Auto derived from making such payments totaled $43,023, prosecutors said.

The revenue consisted of payments to Jim Mazz Auto for towing, as well as mechanical and collision repair work, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

James Mazzariello was sentenced to a year in federal prison and his son Adam to six months in federal prison.

Mazz Auto owner gets a year in prison for bribing cops in towing scheme

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