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Former state Rep. Luis Arroyo gets 4 years, 9 months in prison for bribery scheme

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Former Illinois state Rep. Luis Arroyo will spend nearly five years in federal prison for participating in a bribery scheme.

Arroyo, 67, entered a blind guilty plea in November to accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to promote a gambling bill legalizing sweepstakes machines.

U.S. District Judge Steven Seeger sentenced Arroyo to 57 months – or four years and nine months – on Thursday.

Arroyo asked for leniency due to his life of public service. But Judge Seeger was having none of it – calling Arroyo's conduct in office "dirty."

Arroyo, 67, resigned from the Illinois House in November 2019, just days after he was first charged.

About a year after Arroyo was indicted, federal prosecutors added a co-defendant to his case, accusing Arroyo and video sweepstakes company owner James Weiss to pay a state senator $2,500 a month in kickbacks in exchange for his support on legislation beneficial to the video gambling industry.

Prosecutors said the two concealed the payments by setting up a sham consulting contract, and sending a check from Weiss' company, Collage LLC, to a person chosen by the senator.

Weiss is also accused of bribing Arroyo for his support for the same legislation. Weiss has pleaded not guilty, and his trial date has not been set.

According to the charges, on Aug. 2, 2019, Arroyo offered to arrange for Weiss to bribes to the senator in return for the senator's support of the proposed sweepstakes legislation.

Three weeks later at a Skokie restaurant, Arroyo delivered a $2,500 check to the senator from Weiss' sweepstakes operation, and told the senator identical payments would continue for 6 to 12 months.

According to the FBI, the meeting was being recorded, and Arroyo told the senator "I'm going to give you this here. This is, this is, this is the jackpot."

In October 2019, Weiss sent the senator a package containing another $2,500 check, and a sham consulting contract.

Weiss later lied to the FBI when he was questioned about the scheme, according to prosecutors.

According to published reports, Weiss is the son-in-law of former Cook County Democratic Party chair Joseph Berrios.

Federal prosecutors have not identified the senator they bribed in court documents, but multiple published reports have identified the lawmaker as former State Sen. Terry Link.

Link resigned from the Illinois Senate in 2020, just days before pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return, admitting he under-reported his income by tens of thousands of dollars in 2016.

Link has publicly denied he is the state senator involved in Arroyo's case, but he cooperated with federal prosecutors as part of his own plea deal, and according to published reports he wore a wire as part of the investigation into Arroyo.

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