On October 20, 2016, former City of Chicago building inspector Roberto Uribe pleaded guilty to one count of attempted extortion, 18 U.S.C. § 1951, for soliciting a bribe from a building owner in the course of his official duties. United States v. Roberto Uribe, 16 CR228 (U.S.D.C. ND IL). Earlier this year, Uribe resigned from the City in lieu of discharge and was placed on the ineligible for rehire list.
Uribe solicited and received a $300 bribe from a city property owner in exchange for allowing renovation work without a permit. Uribe initially approached workers performing renovations at the building and asked if they had a permit to work on the front window façade. The workers put Uribe in touch with the building owner. In a recorded conversation Uribe explained to the owner, that paying a bribe to avoid a permit would save money and benefit both of them. Obtaining a permit, Uribe told the owner, “will stop you for six months and it’ll cost you starting at $3,500 for an architect and plans,” Uribe told the owner. “I’m looking out for you, we’re looking out for each other.” As a condition of the plea, Uribe agreed to return the $300 bribe to the victim property owner.
The charge, which was brought by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, stems from a Chicago Office of Inspector General-Federal Bureau of Investigation joint investigation. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge Jorge L. Alonso is scheduled for February 2, 2017, in the Dirksen Building, Rm 1219.