Forty-four people were arrested Thursday — including three New Jersey mayors, two state legislators and several rabbis — in a federal investigation into public corruption and an international money-laundering scheme in which items ranging from human organs to fake designer bags were trafficked.

Some public officials allegedly accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes, while charities run by rabbis allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars.

AP:

The mayors of three New Jersey cities, two state legislators and several rabbis were among more than 40 people arrested Thursday in a sweeping corruption investigation that began as a probe into an international money laundering ring that trafficked in goods as diverse as human organs and fake designer handbags.

Among 44 people arrested Thursday were Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, state Assemblyman President L. Harvey Smith and state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt.

Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez, who is also an attorney, is charged with agreeing to accept an illegal $10,000 cash payment for his legal defense fund.

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