Dec 23, 2013 11:29 AM EST

'American Hustle' In Real Life: Real life New Jersey mayor in Jennifer Lawrence movie 'American Hustle' gets convicted for bribery

American Hustle's New Jersey mayor played by Jeremy Renner in the film may have come off as the earnest crook but his real-life counterpart, Mayor Angelo Errichetti, got convicted for it in real life.

In "American Hustle," a gritty fictionalized depiction of the 1970's fascinating Abscam FBI corruption issue, the public official who is the focus of the movie is shown as the most selfless character.

In the film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale, Mayor Carmine Polito of Camden rejects a briefcase full of cash when he is offere a bribe for the first time. However, Renner's character Mayor Polito agrees to take the money later on, believing that this is the solution to improving job production and helping the residents of his town.

Mayor Angelo Errichetti, whom Renner's character is based upon, was said to have always had deep concern for his own constituents despite his rather complicated and bizarre persona.

"For all the mayors I worked for, he was THE mayor," remarked Richard Cignalia, a veteran who worked in the Camden city goverment for more than 40 years. Cignalia had also been given the position of city finance director by Errichetti. "If you went to him with a problem, he was accessible and he really did care about the city."

Cignalia, who has not seen "American Hustle" except for its trailers, shared that he finds Jeremy Renner's version of his former boss possessing the right amount of pompadour but the government official still has doubts and worries concerning Errichetti's portrayal in "American Hustle."
Cignalia hoped that his boss did not appear to be "a big crook who didn't care."

In "American Hustle" however, the mayor appears to be downright innocent as he continuously puts public service as his priority and genuinely befriends the man who would later cause his downfall. He is depicted as a kind of man who is more than willing to make deals with the mob in order to achieve the greater good.

In the real life version of the "American Hustle," Errichetti's breakdown might have been the final push the city could endure before falling into even darker times.
Errichetti had been elected mayor of the town in 1973 during the time when his hometown had been reeling from violent race riots two years earlier.

Later on, he had been caught accepting a bribe valuing at US$25,000 which served as a down payment for a US$400,000 bribe using a hidden camera.

Cignalia shared that his former boss, who passed away in May at age 84, believed that the fake operation would secure him a job in the casino sector after his political career concluded. Instead of getting a job however, the mayor was convicted with a six-year term in a federal prison. 

The "American Hustle" real life mayor served more than two and a half years in jail.

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