UPDATED: Former Niles Mayor sentenced to 10 years behind bars - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

UPDATED: Former Niles Mayor sentenced to 10 years behind bars

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WARREN, Ohio -

Former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante has been sentenced on 22 charges filed following an investigation into corruption during his administration.

Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Friday sentenced Infante to a total of 10 years behind bars. 

Infante will also have to pay more than $51,000 for the cost of the investigation to the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Ohio Auditor's Office. 

A jury found 62-year-old Infante guilty on 22 counts, including charges of tampering with records, gambling, operating a gambling house, theft in office, having unlawful interest in a public contract, falsification and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

As Ralph Infante was escorted into the courtroom by a Trumbull County Sheriff's Deputy for his sentencing he was handcuffed and shackled.  

The man who once reigned as Niles Mayor for 24 years is now a convicted felon.

Prosecutor Dan Kasaris. with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, told the court, "Rather than using his position of trust to benefit the people of Niles he abused it, and rather than protect the people of Niles and the Niles budget from theft and corruption he stole from it."

Several members of Infante's family gave emotional testimony as character witnesses before he was sentenced.

Infante's daughter Laura Fallo cried as she talked about how he paid for groceries when friend's funds were running a little low, and even paid someone's electric bill to help out.  

"He has made his fair share of mistakes. He is not a mastermind of corruption. He is just a man.  A man who seems simple, but is good, kind, generous, and he's everything to his family and friends," Fallo said.

Then Infante himself stood before Judge Cosgrove and apologized to the court and the people of Niles, but also asked for mercy.

"I disagree your honor, but I respect the verdict of the jury.  And again I apologize, and I ask you -- I beg you, not to take me from my family," Infante said.

Judge Cosgrove had harsh words for Infante. "Now earlier your attorney said you're not John Gotti.  Well, you're not John Gotti, but you're not Mother Theresa either.  But what you have done again is taken the public trust and just gutted it, just gutted it, for your own personal financial gain."

The judge then sentenced Infante concurrently on 22 counts, giving him 10 years on the most serious charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Infante, for now, is in the Trumbull County Jail, but he will begin serving his prison time at Lorain Correctional.

His Attorney John Juhasz says they most likely will appeal the sentence.

It's unclear what impact the felony conviction could have if any on Infante's pension.

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