A man from Rutherford, New Jersey was recently sentenced for a bribery conviction, after attempting to pay an undercover FBI informant in exchange for the dismissal of drug and weapons charges against him in Passaic County.
37-year-old Mahmud Hammad was initially charged with multiple drug and weapons-related offenses after being found in possession of marijuana, steroids, oxycodone, pepper spray, and hypodermic needles at a police checkpoint in Woodland Park, New Jersey. According to an agreement with the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Hammad was to enter into a Pretrial Intervention Program as a result of these offenses.
A Pretrial Intervention (PTI) Program, which is outlined in N.J.S.A 2C:43-12(e), is a diversionary program in New Jersey designed for first-time offenders. After entering into a PTI program, the individual is subject to a period of probation during which time the charges against him or her are suspended. If said individual successfully completes probation and the conditions of PTI (which can include community service, drug testing, or other requirements), the charges are dismissed upon the conclusion of the probationary period. PTI completion also allows for the elimination of the charges from the individual’s criminal record.
Clearly, Hammad, who is the former owner of Lava Hookah Lounge in Paterson, did not understand the implications of his entrance into a PTI program, as he reportedly told the undercover FBI agent “I don’t want anything on my record.” According to court documents, Hammad supplied the agent with $1,500 on July 27, 2012, with a guarantee of the remaining payment totaling $10,000, in order to have the charges dismissed, after the agent told him that he had connections in the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
As punishment for the bribery offense, Hammad was sentenced to three months in federal prison, followed by three months of home confinement with electronic monitoring, in addition to a $1,000 fine.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Rutherford man gets three months in prison for trying to bribe Passaic County prosecutors to drop drug charges