Former No. Providence councilman convicted of corruption released from prison

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former North Providence town council president Joseph Burchfield – who was swept up in a high-profile public corruption case – has been released from prison and is now on home confinement, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

According to Chris Burke, a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Burchfield, 46, was released from the minimum security section of Cumberland Federal Correction Institution in Maryland on Sept. 24.

Target 12 has learned he is back living in North Providence.

Burchfield will be released from home confinement on March 22. Burke said records show he earned 251 days of good behavior while behind bars. By law inmates can earn 54 days of good time credit for every year they show “substantially clear conduct.”

  • See the exclusive interview with FBI source Paul Caranci Thursday at 5 p.m. on Eyewitness News. Watch preview >>

Burchfield reported to prison in June 2011 after pleading guilty to nine counts including bribery and conspiracy charges. He and two of his council colleagues – John Zambarano and Raymond Douglas – admitted to selling their votes for cash bribes.

Zambarano, 51, is currently at a prison in Lewisburg Penn., and is set to be released in December, though he may be eligible for home confinement or a halfway house prior to that.

Douglas, 46, is incarcerated at a federal prison in Minersville, Penn., and is scheduled to be released in January of 2017. He was also charged in a related extortion case.

Also snared in the FBI probe was former North Providence town solicitor Robert Ciresi who prosecutors say operated at the middleman in the scheme. The 81 year-old is behind bars at a prison in Fort Dix, N.J. with a release date of April 2016.

Developer Edward Imondi – who pleaded guilty to charges he facilitated a bribe – was released from prison in 2012.

Former town councilman Paul Caranci wore a wire for the FBI for 17 months secretly recording hundreds of hours of conversations to help bust the case wide open.

Tonight starting at 5 p.m. on Eyewitness News, Caranci speaks out for the first time, only with the Target 12 Investigators.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @white_tim

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