Top Bolivian official sentenced in extortion ring that preyed on New York businessman

A Bolivian judge has sentenced to three years in prison the most senior government official known to be involved in the extortion ring that preyed on U.S. businessman Jacob Ostreicher.

Fernando Rivera was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to abuse of authority and racketeering. The former Interior Ministry legal affairs chief has been in jail since November 2012.

He is the eighth former official, including three ex-prosecutors, to get a reduced sentence after pleading guilty to roles in the ring that fleeced Ostreicher while he was jailed for 18 months in a money-laundering probe.

Ostreicher fled Bolivia in December 2013 after corrupt officials bled dry the $25 million rice-farming investment he was trying to salvage.

Prosecutors never presented evidence that the New York man was laundering money.