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Sweepstakes Company Owner Added As Co-Defendant In Bribery Case Against Ex-State Rep. Luis Arroyo

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The owner of a video sweepstakes company has been indicted as part of a federal bribery case filed last year against former Illinois State Rep. Luis Arroyo, accusing the pair of bribing an Illinois state senator for his support on legislation beneficial to the video gambling industry.

James Weiss, 41, was added as a co-defendant in a superseding indictment unveiled against Arroyo on Friday. The indictment charges Weiss with bribery, wire fraud, mail fraud, and lying to the FBI. Arroyo is charged with bribery, wire fraud, and mail fraud.

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

According to the indictment, Weiss and Arroyo agreed to pay a state senator $2,500 for his support for legislation related to the sweepstakes industry, which would have benefitted Weiss' company, Collage LLC. Weiss was a client of Arroyo's lobbying firm, Spartacus 3 LLC.

Weiss is also accused of bribing Arroyo for his support for the same legislation.

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

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

Link has publicly denied being the unnamed senator in the case, but has since resigned from office and pleaded guilty to a tax evasion charge. He is cooperating with federal prosecutors as part of his plea deal, and according to published reports he wore a wire as part of the investigation into Arroyo.

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, 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.

Arroyo was first charged with a lone count of bribery in October 2019. He later resigned from the Illinois House, and has pleaded not guilty to the original charge. He and Weiss will be arraigned on the new indictment at a later date.


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