A former Cherry Hill inspector pleaded guilty this morning to taking bribes from a business owner hired to work for the township.

Anthony Saccomanno Sr., 66, appeared before U.S. District Judge Renee Bumb in Camden, where he admitted taking $4,500 in bribes over two years to steer building-inspection contracts to a private company.

Saccomanno, Cherry Hill's top code-enforcement official for 31 years, was caught on a wiretap in 2007 telling a vice president at Building Inspection Underwriters Inc. that the money was to ensure the company kept its contract with the township.

He later cooperated with investigators and entered into a plea agreement in which prosecutors agreed to provide a letter stating his cooperation. The plea, however, did not address whether Saccomanno would serve time in prison.

Bumb advised Saccomanno that he faces a maximum of 20 years and possibly a $250,000 fine at sentencing scheduled for Oct. 5. The judge allowed him to remain free on $50,000 bail until sentencing.

Saccomanno, who declined comment through his attorney, Jeffrey Zucker, is in poor health and was permitted to remain seated during the proceeding. Zucker, who will be asking the judge for probation in October, said Saccomanno is being treated for lung cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.

"The bottom line is we're talking about $4,500 and that's it," Zucker said. "We're hopeful he'll receive probation."

Contact Barbara Boyer at 856-779-3838 or bboyer@phillynews.com.