Chicago Ald. Joe Moreno Faces Felony Charges After Reporting Car Theft
Updated at 5 p.m.
Outgoing Chicago Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno faces four felony charges after filing a police report five months ago claiming his Audi sedan had been stolen.
Cook County prosecutors charged Moreno, 1st Ward, with insurance fraud, obstruction of justice, an offense related to motor vehicles, and disorderly conduct. He was taken into Chicago police custody Tuesday night and ordered released on Wednesday afternoon.
Moreno lent the car Jan. 3 to a woman he had dated, prosecutors alleged in a court document filed Wednesday.
The next day, the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications recorded a call in which Moreno reported the vehicle stolen from his Wicker Park residence, according to prosecutors.
That same day, Moreno filed a claim with his auto insurance carrier, State Farm, reporting that the car had been stolen, prosecutors said.
“Moreno was very clear that he was the last person to use the vehicle and he was the only person with access to the car,” prosecutors said. “Based upon Moreno’s false claim, his insurance carrier was prepared to pay out over $30,000 for the loss of the vehicle.”
But there was no payout. On Feb. 4, police pulled over the woman, who was driving the car, and charged her with misdemeanor trespass to a motor vehicle. After she told investigators she had dated Moreno and that he had let her use the car, prosecutors dropped the charges against her.
Moreno’s attorney, Camilo Oceguera, did not return WBEZ messages seeking comment.
At a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. ordered a bond that allows Moreno’s release without any money posted.
Moreno, 47, has represented his North Side ward since 2010. He lost his reelection bid to Daniel La Spata, who ran to the alderman’s left. La Spata takes office Monday.
The arrest is not the first controversy Moreno has faced this year.
In February, a former aide to Moreno told WBEZ the alderman made inappropriate remarks at a gathering of his staff a few years earlier. Belia Portillo said she left politics after her bad experiences in Moreno’s office.
She alleged that, at a restaurant in 2015, Moreno asked staffers to take off their shirts and said whoever had the best body would get a pay raise. Another person there backed up Portillo’s story, but a Moreno spokesman said the incident never happened.