CHICAGO — A federal grand jury today indicted former City of Chicago Alderman RICARDO MUNOZ on fraud charges for allegedly using money from a political fund to pay personal expenses.
A 16-count indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago alleges that while serving as Alderman of the 22nd Ward in Chicago, Munoz used money from a political action committee formed by the Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus (CPRC) to pay a relative’s college tuition and other personal expenses, including jewelry, clothing, cell phones, vacations, sports tickets, and airline tickets. Munoz obtained the money through cash withdrawals and debit card charges from the CPRC’s 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, the indictment states. Munoz attempted to conceal the fraud scheme by making materially false representations to the Illinois State Board of Elections and staff members and contractors of the CPRC, the indictment states.
CPRC was a political organization whose voting membership consisted of certain Aldermen in the Chicago City Council. Munoz, who was a member of the City Council from 1993 to 2019, served as chairman of the CPRC and performed the duties of its treasurer. Public officials were prohibited by law from receiving payments from the CPRC for personal expenditures.
Munoz, 56, of Chicago, is charged with 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Morris Pasqual and Jared Hasten.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while the money laundering count carries a maximum sentence of ten years. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.