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Press Release

DOT employee admits to extortion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON – A 54-year-old Lyford man had entered a guilty plea to extortion under color of law, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Patrick Gorena was a border investigator for Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  

As part of his plea, Gorena admitted that when auditing a trucking company, he did not report safety violations that would have exposed the company to potential fines and the loss of their DOT license. In return, Gorena demanded $3,500.

However, he ultimately accepted $2,000 from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a representative of the trucking company.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner will impose sentencing April 18. At that time, Gorena faces up to 20 years in prison.

He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

The Department of Transportation - Office of the Inspector General and FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hanes is prosecuting the case along with Trial Attorney Lauren Castaldi of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.

Updated January 13, 2023

Public Corruption