*** UPDATE *** The plea agreement is here.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* CBS 2 had pretty comprehensive Twitter coverage of former Sen. Martin Sandoval’s guilty plea today. From that coverage…
Former Illinois State Sen. Martin Sandoval has entered U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood’s courtroom, for his arraignment this morning on federal corruption charges. U.S. Attorney John Lausch also is in the courtroom, in the front row of the gallery.
Sandoval’s attorney, Dylan Smith, says he intends to plead guilty to bribery and tax charges. […]
In addition to his possible prison sentence, Sandoval is agreeing to restitution of $72,441, divided between the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue. Also agreeing to repay the government $70,000 for the cost of his prosecution.
According to the plea agreement, Sandoval is expected to face a sentencing recommendation of 121 to 151 months. Plea deal also anticipates his cooperation with the feds with ongoing investigations. […]
Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence below the established guidelines if Sandoval fully and truthfully cooperates with the federal investigation.
Feds say between beginning of 2016 and end of 2019, Sandoval arranged for $20K in annual campaign contributions from a red light camera firm, identified only as Company A in exchange for his opposition to legislation to ban cameras, and to get IDOT to authorize additional cameras.
Sandoval later agreed to split up those payments to “just kind of make it not obvious.” Unbeknownst to Sandoval, the person he was talking to was cooperating with the feds.
Sandoval also arranged for $5,000 monthly payments in exchange for acting as Company A’s “protector” in the Senate, saying would “go balls to the wall for anything you ask me.” In total, feds say he accepted more than $250,000 in bribes.
Sandoval admits “I accepted money in exchange for the use of my office as a state senator to help SafeSpeed, or Company A.” That’s the fist time the company has been named, and it’s not clear if Sandoval meant to let the name slip.
Sandoval also admits he “influenced IDOT officials who were authorized to roll out the red light camera program.”
Feds say Sandoval also under-reported his income on federal tax returns from 2012 through 2016.
Judge says she’s satisfied with the explanation of facts of the case. Sandoval’s attorney also says he’s satisfied, so asks Sandoval for his plea on both counts.
“I plead guilty, your honor” Sandoval says for both counts.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys not ready to set a sentencing date yet, so Sandoval will be back in court for a status hearing on July 21, to schedule sentencing matters.
Sandoval will be released on unsecured $10,000 bond pending sentencing, and may not leave Illinois without court permission, possess a gun, or use or possess any drugs other than prescribed medication.
…Adding… From the US Attorney…
Sandoval admitted in the plea agreement that he solicited and accepted financial and other benefits from an individual affiliated with a Chicago-area red-light camera company, in return for Sandoval using his official position as a state senator to block legislation harmful to the red-light-camera industry. Sandoval also admitted that he engaged in corrupt activities with other public officials and accepted money from other individuals in return for using his official position to attempt to benefit those individuals and their business interests. Sandoval admitted accepting more than $250,000 in bribes as part of criminal activity that involved more than five participants.
In addition to the bribery, Sandoval admitted that he willfully caused his accountant to file income tax returns that Sandoval knew underreported his income for the calendar years 2012 through 2017. Sandoval admitted in the plea agreement that his tax offenses caused a total loss to the IRS of at least $72,441, and a loss to the Illinois Department of Revenue of at least $13,384.38, which he has agreed to pay.
“(E)ngaged in corrupt activities with other public officials,” eh? And the criminal activity involved “more than five participants”? Hmm.
…Adding… Oh this does not look good for the president of SafeSpeed. From the plea agreement…
On or about August 16, 2017, SANDOVAL spoke by phone with CW-1. During the call, SANDOVAL discussed splitting up Company A’s annual campaign contribution to SANDOVAL into smaller amounts. CW-1 told SANDOVAL that CW- 1 had provided half of Company A’s annual campaign contribution, and SANDOVAL said it was not a problem for Company A’s President to break up the annual contribution into two contributions because CW-1 said Company A’s President did not want the contribution to “shout out,” meaning raise a red flag
…Adding… This sounds like Sandoval got a piece of the fabulously successful Oakbrook Terrace red-light cam (or maybe he was just saying he helped them get the red light cam and didn’t receive any cash. It’s not totally clear as I look at it again)…
During the meeting, SANDOVAL discussed receiving payment for his official support of Company A. SANDOVAL asked, “Can I bring up something personal with you?… You’ve been good to me, politically. But I’ve learned that there are people who helped [Company A] who get a monthly, um…” CW-1 interjected, “Consulting fee, sales-consulting fee.” SANDOVAL continued, “When they have helped with the sighting of a camera…. On a monthly basis, infinitum.” CW-1 responded, “100%. They get a percentage of the revenue that is brought in by specific community.” SANDOVAL said, “Like I did in Oakbrook [Terrace].”
…Adding… “I usually say”? So, apparently this was a thing with him…
SANDOVAL discussed being paid to act as Company A’s “protector” in the Illinois Senate. When discussing the amount of the payment he would receive, Sandoval said, “I usually say, ‘What’s reasonable? You tell me.’”
…Adding… According to the plea deal, Sandoval admitted taking “$70,000 in protection money” from a SafeSpeed cooperating witness and $250,000 overall from various sources.