OLD FORGE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Robert Semenza, former President of the Old Forge Borough Council, has been sentenced to one year in prison after he was federally charged with bribery.

According to the Federal Courthouse Public Affairs Officer, Semenza was sentenced on Monday to one year in prison and one year of supervised release.

Between January 2019 and February 2020, Attorney Bruce D. Brandler says Semenza Jr. accepted cash payments in exchange for promising official acts, specifically in connection to civil litigation filed by Old Forge Borough against a local business owner in a dispute over zoning ordinances.

In exchange for payments, Semenza Jr. allegedly agreed to vote and advocate on the business owner’s behalf in front of the Old Forge Borough Council, court documents stated.

As stated in the affidavit, Semenza Jr. accepted $5,000 from the business in exchange for support and votes from the council, saying “let me know what you need, I’ll do whatever you need.”

Investigators said Semenza Jr. created the false appearance of legitimacy of these cash payments, referring to them as loans, the court papers stated.

In June of 2021, Semenza officially pled guilty to a bribery charge in federal court.