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Former Chicago Ald. Ricardo Munoz sentenced to prison for spending political funds on personal items – NBC Chicago

By on March 17, 2022 0

Former Chicago Ald. Ricardo Munoz was sentenced to 13 months in prison on Thursday for spending thousands of dollars from a political fund he chaired to buy iPhones, sports tickets and clothes, among other personal items.

US Judge John Kness also ordered the former city councilman on 18-month supervised release after his incarceration.

“What I did was wrong. I am ashamed. I am a convicted felon. I stand before the court remorsefully. I humbly ask for clemency,” Munoz, 56, said in a moving statement. before the tribunal.

Last year, Munoz was charged with 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, and later pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $38,000 from the political fund.

Prosecutors alleged in the indictment released last year that between October 2016 and June 2020, Munoz, who chaired the Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus, used the coalition’s political action committee to transfer funds into his own accounts and made cash withdrawals for his own use, then lied. about this on the financial disclosure forms.

In October 2016, prosecutors said Munoz transferred $16,000 to a joint account he held with a family member to make payment for college tuition for an unnamed person. Authorities allege he then transferred that same amount to the CPRC account and told another person that the original transfer did not need to be reported to election officials on campaign finance disclosure forms. , because the money had been returned.

Prosecutors said that in October 2018, Munoz wired $5,000 and $2,100 from the CPRC to his own bank account and used the money “for his personal use and benefit,” according to the deed. ‘charge.

Days later, prosecutors alleged he made another transfer of $2,300 from the CPRC account to his own campaign account and then transferred that money to his personal bank account without authorization, telling someone in an email that it was for “election day expenses” when it was for personal use.

The indictment also states that Munoz made six cash withdrawals from the CPRC account between November 3 and December 7, 2018, totaling $10,560, with the intention of using the money for personal gain. , again telling someone in an email that several of those withdrawals weren’t made. must be reported because the funds were transferred back, even if they were not.

Prosecutors also allege Munoz used the CPRC debit card to make several personal purchases from November 2018 to February 2019: $544.98 on a Southwest Airlines ticket, $169.32 on Los Angeles Kings tickets, $291.44 charges for a stay at the Los Angeles Crowne Plaza hotel, $265.77 at the Eddie Vs restaurant and $160.48 for items purchased at Lover’s Lane, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleged that he also “fraudulently used CPRC funds to pay for, among other things, jewelry; cufflinks; a loan payment on one of Munoz’s personal vehicles; clothing for wives; three Apple iPhones and accessories; air sightseeing trips; sports tickets; skydiving excursions; and other entertainment expenses.”

Munoz served as a city councilor for the city’s 22nd arrondissement from 1993 until 2019, when he opted out of running for office. He first took office when then-Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed him to replace the current representative. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who had left city council for the Illinois Senate.

The Southwest Side neighborhood includes parts of the Little Village, South Lawndale, and Archer Heights neighborhoods.