PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) A former top Rhode Island state lawmaker was sentenced to more than three years in prison for using his legislative influence to benefit a pharmacy chain and insurance company.
U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi said Friday that former House Majority Leader Gerard Martineau had used his office "in the most perverse way." She sentenced him to 37 months and fined him $100,000.
Prosecutors also said in court that Martineau was cooperating in an ongoing influence-peddling probe at the Statehouse.
Martineau pleaded guilty in November to using his influence to benefit the CVS pharmacy chain and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island while doing hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal business with them.
He earned roughly $900,000 for selling paper and plastic bags to CVS and Blue Cross while at the same time working to defeat legislation the companies opposed.
Prosecutors said he concealed his relationship with the companies by omitting his signature from invoices, signing another person's name on business letters and failing to seek an advisory opinion from the state Ethics Commission.
A Woonsocket Democrat who served in the General Assembly from 1987 to 2002, Martineau cried in court Friday as he accepted responsibility, saying he had disappointed his family and contributed to public distrust in the political process.
"The events of the past several months have been devastating beyond my comprehension," he said. "I can only hope that in time I can restore my reputation, and my overall performance will be judged in a broader light."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard Sullivan said Martineau was cooperating in an ongoing corruption probe, called "Operation Dollar Bill."
He said Martineau has met with investigators more than a half dozen times and has agreed to appear before a federal grand jury and to testify at the corruption trial of two former CVS executives accused of paying off another former state legislator.
Blue Cross recently agreed to pay $20 million and make other reforms to avoid criminal charges for its dealings with Martineau and other former legislators.