Sandoval Pleads Guilty, Says Will Cooperate With Investigation

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 29, 2020 at 8:29am

A former Illinois state senator plead guilty to accepting around a quarter of a million dollars in bribes Tuesday.

56 year old Martin Sandoval entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Chicago yesterday morning stating that he accepted approximately $250,000 in bribes in exchange for protecting the interests of a red-light camera company.

According to the Associated Press, Sandoval promised to cooperate with federal prosecutors in ongoing public corruption investigations. Sandoval faces up to 13 years in prison, though his cooperation could shave years off his sentence.

Charging papers say Sandoval “corruptly solicited, demanded, agreed to accept and accepted” payments for “continued support for the operation of red-light cameras in the State of Illinois.”

The alleged bribery occurred between 2016 and 2019, when, as chair of the transportation committee, Sandoval wielded enormous influence in how state transportation funds were spent. The prosecutors’ filing did not contain specific details, including which company or company officials paid bribes.

Sandoval also plead guilty to filing a false tax return and is accused of incorrectly stating his income in a 2017 return when he indicated he made around $125,000. Prosecutors say that Sandoval knew his income “substantially exceeded that amount.”

In response to the Sandoval investigation and a federal bribery charge against then Rep. Luis Arroyo, a Chicago Democrat, the Legislature adopted greater reporting requirements for lobbying in November and created a commission to identify other ethics remedies by March 31.