Former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Moreno sentenced to 11 years in prison for series of public corruption schemes

February 19, 2014 (CHICAGO)

Moreno pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion after he was initially charged.

Moreno, 61, a lawyer who served more than 16 years as an elected county commissioner until December 2010, was sentenced to 132 months in prison, and he was ordered to forfeit $100,000 and pay a total of more than $138,000 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman. Moreno was ordered to begin serving his sentence on April 21.

"Mr. Moreno was not a reluctant participant in these schemes; he was an eager participant," Judge Feinerman said, adding that Moreno "embraced them with gusto and pursued them with vigor."

Notably, they argued, Moreno conceived a motto of governing that captured his corrupt approach to public office: "I don't want to be a hog. I just want to be a pig. Hogs get slaughtered. Pigs get fat."

Moreno pleaded guilty to conspiracy to extort an un-named company that was awarded a contract to help improve Cook County Hospital's revenue cycle into using his friend and co-defendant, Ron Garcia, and his business, Chicago Medical Equipment & Supply, Inc., as a minority subcontractor in return for a $100,000 bribe. Garcia forgave a $100,000 mortgage loan to Moreno in exchange for Moreno's efforts to steer the lucrative sub-contract to Garcia's company, and Moreno tried to disguise the bribe by claiming that he had repaid the purported loan.

According to sentencing documents, between 2008 and 2010, Moreno engaged in those schemes, as well as five other schemes to enrich himself through kickbacks in return for passing a "green" resolution while a Cook County Commissioner.

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