Ex-Sen. Martin Sandoval Charged With Bribery, Filing False Tax Return

Former Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval has been charged with bribery and filing a false tax return, according to an indictment filed in federal court Monday.

Sandoval stepped down from his officer earlier this month, announcing his resignation in November, more than two months after federal agents raided his offices in suburban Cicero and at the Illinois State Capitol.

In 2018, Sandoval - who was chair of the Senate Transportation Committee at the time - "corruptly solicited, demanded, agreed to accept, and accepted" money in exchange for his support of the operation of red-light cameras in Illinois, prosecutors allege in the first of two counts in the indictment.

The second count alleges that in October 2018, Sandoval submitted an individual federal income tax return for the year prior, reporting his total income as $125,905 when he "knew that the total income substantially exceeded that amount."

Sandoval was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, court records show. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Federal agents executed search warrants at multiple locations tied to Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval Tuesday.

Sandoval's resignation took effect on Jan. 1. He announced his decision to step down in a November letter, saying "with a heavy heart" that the action was "necessary in order to proceed without distraction to the important work that needs to be accomplished for working families throughout the state of Illinois in the future."

Federal agents sought items "related to any official action taken in exchange for a benefit" as well as information on "any business owned or controlled by" Sandoval when they raided his Springfield office in September, according to an unredacted search warrant later released by the Illinois Senate.

Authorities were also searching for items related to at least 70 separate people or entities, including red light camera company SafeSpeed.

The warrant also authorized agents to seize anything related to five officials with the Illinois Department of Transportation, also named only as "Official" A, B, D, E and F.

No individuals connected to IDOT or SafeSpeed have been charged with wrongdoing.

Agents also sought items related to ComEd and Exelon or any employee of those businesses - particularly four specific, unnamed representatives referred to simply as "Exelon Official" A, B, C and D.

Named in the warrant as well was Rick Heidner and his company Gold Rush Gaming, a video gambling operator with dozens of locations across the Chicago area and Illinois.

Agents sought additional materials in connection with Cook County Commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski, whose office was subsequently raided two days after Sandoval's.

Berwyn alderman and architect Cesar Santoy - who was appointed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to the Illinois Toll Highway Authority Board of Directors earlier this year - was also named in the warrant, along with his construction firm.

Until his resignation, Sandoval had represented the 11th Senate District - encompassing parts of Chicago's Southwest Side and the surrounding suburbs - since 2003.

Democratic leaders selected freshman state Rep. Celina Villanueva to fill the vacancy earlier this month.

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