Former Cook County Commissioner Moreno pleads guilty in variety of bribery schemes

July 1, 2013

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Former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno pleaded guilty to a variety of bribery schemes in federal court in Chicago Monday.

In his guilty plea Moreno admitted that he used his position on the Cook County board to force a company with a county contract to subcontract some of the work to a company called Chicago Medical Equipment and Supply, which was owned by Moreno’s friend Ron Garcia. Garcia was paying part of the profits from the deal back to Moreno.Then in an effort to cover up the kickbacks Moreno wrote up fake invoices for legal work that he never performed.

Moreno also pleaded guilty to trying to push the Cook County hospital system to buy thousands of bandages from a company that was going to give Moreno five dollars for each bandage purchased.  That deal involved former Chicago alderman Ambrosio Medrano. Medrano is scheduled to go to trial on that bribery charge but he was also recently convicted in a related bribery trial. Medrano also spent time in federal prison for taking cash bribes as an alderman in the 1990s. After being released from prison he stayed involved in politics and eventually landed a job with former commissioner Moreno.

In yet another deal detailed in his guilty plea Monday, Moreno admitted accepting an envelop with a $5,000 cash bribe to support construction of a waste transfer station in Cicero.The bribe was a sting and Moreno now has to pay that money back to the government plus more than $130,000 in restitution. He’s likely facing prison time when he’s sentenced. Sentencing is scheduled for October.