HOUSTON — A federal grand jury in Houston has returned an indictment charging a former U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) employee with bribery and extortion.
Patrick Gorena, 54, of Lyford, Texas, was a border investigator for DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and “in exchange for minimizing purported safety violations he encountered while auditing a trucking company, which would have exposed the company to potential fines and the loss of their ability to operate, Gorena allegedly demanded a $3,500 cash payment,” according to court documents.
The charges allege Gorena ultimately accepted a $2,000 bribe from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a representative of the trucking company.
Gorena is charged with one count of bribery and one count of extortion under color of official right. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the extortion count and 15 years in prison on the bribery count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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