A group of unidentifed men are walked outside FBI offices Thursday, July 23, 2009, in Newark, N.J.. to a waiting bus for transport to court hearing. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
The FBI says New Jersey may have the nation's worst corruption problem.
The assessment came as authorities today announced the arrest of the mayors of three New Jersey cities, two state legislators and several rabbis in a sweeping corruption investigation.
Among the 44 people arrested are Hoboken (HOH'-boh-ken) Mayor Peter Cammarano, Secaucus (suh-KAW'-kus) Mayor Dennis Elwell and Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez along with Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini.
Separate money laundering complaints have been filed against rabbis from Brooklyn and New Jersey. They are charged with offenses ranging from the trafficking of human kidneys from Israeli donors to laundering proceeds from the sale of counterfeit Gucci and Prada bags.
State Assemblymen L. Harvey Smith and Daniel Van Pelt are accused of accepting money from a cooperating government witness posing as a developer trying to obtain permits.
Gov. Jon Corzine (KOHR'-zyn) says the scale of the corruption "is simply outrageous and cannot be tolerated."