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Handyman gets probation for role in city corruption case

The handyman at a Berks County church was sentenced Thursday to five years' probation in connection with the city's "pay to play" corruption case.

Following prosecutors' recommendation for a reduced sentence, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson sentenced Jose Mendoza, 46, to probation and ordered him to pay restitution of $57,000. Mendoza had cooperated with investigators.

Mendoza pleaded guilty in August 2004 to falsely telling Commerce Bank that he was general manager of a company that had done repairs to St. James Chapel Church of God in Christ _ a church in Reading where former Philadelphia Treasurer Corey Kemp worshipped.

The company existed only on paper, and tens of thousands of dollars loaned for a church renovation project ended up in the pockets of its pastor, the Rev. Francis D. McCracken, and Kemp, investigators said.

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