Former Chicago Public Schools Employee Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements to FBI in Criminal Probe
CHICAGO — A former Chicago Public Schools employee pleaded guilty in federal court today to making false statements to the FBI during a criminal investigation.
PEDRO SOTO admitted in a plea agreement that he intentionally misled the FBI while the agency was conducting a criminal investigation into Soto’s interactions with a lobbyist and the lobbyist’s colleague regarding the awarding of a custodial services contract valued at approximately $1 billion. Soto was a member of a CPS evaluation committee tasked in 2016 with recommending to the Chicago Board of Education which company or companies CPS should hire to perform the services, and the lobbyist and the lobbyist’s colleague were assisting one of the companies bidding for the contract. Soto admitted in the plea agreement that he repeatedly provided non-public information to the lobbyist’s colleague concerning the award of the contract, and that he had done so, in part, because the lobbyist’s colleague had promised to extend various benefits to Soto. Soto further admitted that in 2019 he intentionally made false statements to the FBI when he denied having provided the lobbyist’s colleague with inside information about the awarding of the contract.
Soto, 45, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to an agency of the United States. The charge is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman did not immediately set a sentencing date. A status hearing was scheduled for Dec. 10, 2020, at 9:30 a.m.
The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The Chicago Board of Education Inspector General’s Office provided valuable assistance. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Kutcher and Michelle Kramer.