CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago has sentenced the manager of a sweepstakes gaming company to five and a half years in prison for participating in a bribery scheme with an Illinois state lawmaker.
In 2018 and 2019, JAMES T. WEISS paid thousands of dollars in bribes to then-Illinois State Representative Luis Arroyo. The bribes were paid from Weiss’s gaming company, Collage LLC, in the form of checks made payable to Spartacus 3 LLC, Arroyo’s private lobbying firm in Chicago. In exchange for those bribes, Arroyo promoted legislation in the Illinois General Assembly related to the sweepstakes industry and advised other state lawmakers to support the legislation.
In August 2019, Arroyo offered to have bribe payments made to an Illinois State Senator in return for the Senator’s support of sweepstakes-related legislation. As part of the scheme, Weiss agreed to conceal the bribe payments by making them appear as if they were for legitimate consulting work. Thereafter, in furtherance of this effort to conceal the bribes intended for the Senator, Weiss caused two checks totaling $5,000 to be delivered to the Senator. Each check was made payable to a fictitious third party and labeled as a consulting payment. Weiss later falsely told law enforcement that he had personally spoken to the fictitious third party.
Arroyo, who represented the 3rd District in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2006 to 2019, pleaded guilty to his role in the bribery scheme and was sentenced in 2022 to nearly five years in federal prison.
A federal jury in June convicted Weiss, 44, of River Grove, Ill., on fraud and false statement charges. U.S. District Judge Steven C. Seeger imposed the sentence Wednesday after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine M. O’Neill and Sean Franzblau.