Former City Hall official John Lynch sentenced to 40 months for bribery scheme

Prosecutors said Lynch accepted $50,000 in bribes from a developer trying to get a key city approval.

Former City Hall official John M. Lynch left court in September after pleading guilty to accepting a $50,000 bribe from a Boston real estate developer. His attorney Hank Brennan (right) was with him.
Former City Hall official John M. Lynch left court in September after pleading guilty to accepting a $50,000 bribe from a Boston real estate developer. His attorney Hank Brennan (right) was with him. –JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF

BOSTON (AP) — A former Boston City Hall official who admitted accepting a bribe was sentenced in federal court Friday to just over three years in prison and one year of supervised release.

John Lynch, who pleaded guilty in September to one count of bribery and one count of filing a false federal tax return, was also ordered to pay restitution of $14,400 and forfeit $50,000.

Prosecutors had recommended a four year sentence.

Prosecutors said the 66-year-old former assistant director in the Boston Planning and Development Agency, accepted $50,000 in bribes from a developer trying to get a key city approval.

They say Lynch used his influence to convince a Zoning Board of Appeals member to vote in favor of the developer’s request.

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Prosecutors highlighted a photo they say shows Lynch accepting a bribe.

“Mr. Lynch’s conduct illustrates the kind of pay-to-play scheme that, if left unchecked, destroys government institutions and the public’s faith in those institutions,” United States Attorney Andrew Lelling said.

Board member Craig Galvin resigned after Lynch was charged, as did William Christopher, head of the city’s Inspection Services Department, which oversees the zoning board.

Neither faces criminal charges.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, has asked the law firm Sullivan & Worcester to review the zoning board and recommend changes.

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