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Press Release

Former Illinois State Senator Pleads Guilty to Federal Bribery and Tax Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — Former Illinois State Sen. MARTIN A. SANDOVAL pleaded guilty today in federal court in Chicago to bribery and tax offenses included in an information filed in federal court Monday.

Sandoval, 56, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to one count of federal program bribery, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison, and one count of willfully filing a false income tax return, which is punishable by up to three years.  As part of a plea agreement, Sandoval has agreed to fully and truthfully cooperate in any matter in which he is called upon by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  The government requested that Sandoval’s sentencing be delayed until his cooperation is complete.  U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood did not immediately set a sentencing date.

The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Andrea Kropf, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General in Chicago.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Stetler and James P. Durkin.

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.

Updated April 18, 2023

Public Corruption