CHICAGO – Former Chicago Alderman Ricardo Munoz, indicted on federal fraud charges, has been sentenced to 13 months in prison.
Munoz has been ordered to pay more than $6,000 in restitution in addition to 18 months probation under supervised release.
While serving as alderman of the 22nd Ward in Chicago, prosecutors allege Munoz used campaign money for personal expenses. Munoz, who resigned several years ago when charges were filed, admitted to his crimes last September.
But the feds in Thursday’s hearing said Munoz repeatedly lied to conceal his theft up until he switched gears and said ostensibly to the US Attorney’s office led by John Lausch that he was guilty of the crimes.
Munoz admitted to stealing $38,000 in funds used to pay a relative’s college tuition and other personal expenses, including jewelry, clothing, cell phones, vacations, sports tickets, and airline tickets.
- $169.00: LA Kings tickets
- $265.00: LA hotel room
- $160.00: Items at suburban Lover’s Lane
- Money spent on jewelry, women’s clothing, three iPhones and skydiving
Munoz allegedly obtained funds through cash withdrawals and debit card charges from the Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus (CPRC) bank account or by transferring funds from CPRC to another political fund he controlled – Citizens for Munoz (CFM) – and then on to his personal checking account, according to the indictment.
Leading up to the sentence, Munoz was Treasurer of the Progressive Caucus. He has admitted to illegally diverting funds from the Progressive Caucus account, which he and five other council members were part of.
Before sentencing, the federal prosecutors told the judge that the former alderman exploited his office to enrich himself.
Following the sentencing, Munoz’s attorney Richard King addressed reporters.
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“It’s sad. He was a wonderful guy. He did a lot for the community, as we heard from some witnesses,” King said. “I have reams of paper of millions of kids basketball teams and baseball teams that he has worked with. As I said to the judge, he did a stupid thing and the prices, he’s paying a tremendous price. Hopefully, he’ll get on with his life.”
Munoz must surrender by Wednesday, June 1.