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Only in Chicago - Insurance Fraudster Proco Joe who smashed up 8 cars drunk wants to be your Alderman again

Proco Joe Moreno To Run For City Council Again After Legal Woes, Report Says.. the controversial figure lost a 2019 re-election bid amid a series of scandals, but he said he has more work to do in the 1st Ward.

Kelly Bauer
9:00 AM CDT on Aug 18, 2022
https://blockclubchicago.org
Proco Joe Moreno To Run For City Council Again After Legal Woes, Report Says ... the controversial figure lost a 2019 re-election bid amid a series of scandals, but he said he has more work to do in the 1st Ward.

read for yourself this made for TV wannabe crime saga ....

CHICAGO — Former Ald. Proco Joe Moreno, who’s faced a variety of legal woes and scandals, plans to run for City Council again.

Kelly Bauer

9:00 AM CDT on Aug 18, 2022

https://blockclubchicago.org

Moreno told the Tribune’s A.D. Quig he wants to again lead the 1st Ward — though his guilty pleas and headline-grabbing cases could pose challenges to that bid.

Moreno could not immediately be reached for comment.

Moreno led the Northwest Side ward for nearly a decade before losing a 2019 re-election bid amid a series of scandals: Police were investigating whether he’d filed a false report when he’d said someone had stolen his car, prominent Chicago Democrats chastised his campaign for using their photos without permission on campaign flyers and a former aide accused him of sexual harassment.

Moreno denied the aide’s allegations.

But, in May 2019, after Moreno lost the re-election bid, he was arrested on felony charges of insurance fraud and obstruction of justice, with police and prosecutors saying he let a woman he was dating get arrested in the luxury car he loaned her after falsely reporting the car was stolen from his garage.

Moreno pleaded guilty in that case last year.

And in January 2021, Moreno was charged with drunken driving. He later pleaded to guilty to a DUI.

Those legal problems could bar Moreno from running for office, as state law doesn’t allow people convicted of certain crimes to run — but Moreno could mount a campaign if his right to run is restored, election attorney Michael Dorff told the Tribune.

That could happen through assistance from the governor if Moreno fulfills a plea agreement, according to the Tribune.

Moreno said he’s gone through treatment, worked at a printing company and done community service at a local food pantry, according to the Tribune. He told the Tribune he has unfinished business in the ward and thinks it’s gone backwards in some ways in recent years.

Moreno was appointed to City Council by former Mayor Richard Daley in 2010 was elected to the office the next year.

Moreno won a re-election bid in 2015, but he was dogged by a series of controversies and lost to current Ald. Daniel La Spata in 2019. La Spata questioned Moreno’s relationship with developers in the area after a Block Club analysis showed many local developers who got zoning approval in the ward donated to Moreno’s campaign.

In a tweet Thursday, La Spata again criticized Moreno.

“In 2019, voters were clear: the days of corruption, bullying, and pay to play are over in the 1st Ward,” La Spata tweeted. “As your Alderman, I’ve fought for fairness. I believe in a City Hall that represents our communities, not just special monied interests.”

La Spata held his re-election campaign kickoff event Tuesday. Resident Sam Royko — a lawyer and the son of famed columnist Mike Royko — has also announced a bid for the 1st Ward.

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Ald. Moreno Charged with Insurance Fraud, Obstruction of Justice

Matt Masterson | Amanda Vinicky | May 15, 2019 2:34 pm

https://news.wttw.com

After being arrested late Tuesday, outgoing 1st Ward Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno has been hit with four felony criminal charges after police say he lied to them earlier this year about the theft of his vehicle.

The 47-year-old alderman was charged Wednesday morning with felony counts of insurance fraud in an amount between $10,000 and $100,000, and obstruction of justice for destroying evidence. He also faces charges of felony disorderly conduct and an offense related to motor vehicles.

Cook County Judge John Lyke Jr. released Moreno on a $10,000 I-bond, meaning the alderman won’t have to pay any money down, but will be held under electronic monitoring during the case.

Cook County prosecutors allege Moreno falsely claimed both to Chicago police and his insurance agency State Farm that his 2016 Audi A6 had been stolen out of his garage sometime before Jan. 4, 2019. However, Moreno allegedly turned the vehicle and its keys over willingly only hours earlier to a woman he had previously dated.

Moreno told police no one else had access to the car, according to prosecutors, and informed his insurance agency that he believed he had left a key in the car and someone had stolen it out of a detached garage.

Because of those false statements, police listed the vehicle as stolen and State Farm was prepared to pay out more than $30,000 for the loss of the vehicle.

But before that payment could be made, police located the vehicle in the early morning hours of Feb. 4 and arrested the female driver found inside. The woman identified Moreno as the owner and pleaded with officers not to arrest her, however she was taken into custody and charged with criminal trespass to a motor vehicle.

That same day, Moreno was interviewed by WGN about the stolen vehicle report and claimed there had been a “miscommunication” and “misunderstanding” between himself and the woman.

“There were calls that I wanted the car back so I got the car back,” Moreno told WGN. “She’s fine. She’s a single mom who I’m trying to help out. You know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Prosecutors say that statement was “diametrically opposed” to what he had reported to police and State Farm, and based on those statements, the CPD dropped the charges against the woman and launched an investigation into the alderman.

Before setting bond, Lyke admitted that although he doesn’t personally know Moreno, the alderman had previously endorsed his candidacy to become a judge. Lyke was willing to recuse himself and let another judge decide bond, but both prosecutors and Moreno’s attorney decided against it.

Lyke later said the allegations, if proven, represented a “terrible lapse in judgment.” Moreno’s attorney Camilo Oceguera declined to take questions from reporters after the hearing, but said the “appropriate” bond was set.

“(He has) strong ties to the community, there’s no prior offenses,” Oceguera said. “He’ll be getting out soon, as we anticipated, and we’re looking forward to our day in court.”

Moreno was defeated earlier this year in a race to retain his 1st Ward seat, losing to challenger Daniel La Spata. His term is set to expire next week and he is due back in court for a hearing next month.

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Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno Indicted For Allegedly Telling Cops His Audi Was Stolen, Insurance Fraud ... He's scheduled for arraignment June 18

by Mina Bloom 1:18 PM CDT on Jun 4, 2019

https://blockclubchicago.org

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Now-former 1st Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno has been indicted on felony charges alleging he let a woman he was dating get arrested in the luxury car he loaned her after falsely reporting the car stolen from his garage.

Moreno appeared at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse Tuesday at 26th and California for a brief court hearing before the presiding judge.

During the hearing, which lasted only a few minutes, the judge said Moreno’s next court date is set for June 18. He is scheduled to be arraigned at that hearing, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

The indictment against the former alderman includes felony charges of insurance fraud, false report of a stolen car, disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

The 46-year-old, who lost his reelection bid in February amid a string of damaging headlines, was arrested in mid-May.

Prosecutors said Moreno invited a woman he was dating to his home on Jan. 3 and encouraged her to borrow the car. After he saw her off, he even warned her by text message not to smoke in it, prosecutors said at his bond hearing.

The next day, Jan. 4, he reported it stolen in a call to police, prosecutors said.

Even after reporting the car stolen, he made dinner plans with the woman, prosecutors said.

He also filed an insurance claim with State Farm, insisting the car was stolen, prosecutors said. Weeks later, in a follow-up call to State Farm that was recorded, Moreno said he had left his key in the car, and must have either left his garage door open or someone scrambled a signal to open the overhead door automatically, prosecutors said.

Moreno, 46, was ordered released from jail on his own recognizance by Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. at at his bond court hearing in mid-May. During and after that hearing, Moreno was stoic. He left the courthouse wearing dark sunglasses and didn’t answer any questions from reporters.

Moreno seemed more at ease leaving Tuesday’s hearing, casually chatting with his lawyers. He didn’t answer any questions from reporters.

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Former Ald. Proco Joe Moreno Sent To Jail After Being Charged With Drunk Driving While Out On Bond ... a Cook County judge called the former 1st Ward alderman "an extreme danger to the community" in sending him to jail for the Dec. 27 drunk driving crash in Gold Coast

Mina Bloom

1:35 PM CST on Jan 7, 2021

https://blockclubchicago.org

Former Ald. Joe Moreno was charged with drunken driving and reckless driving in a series of Gold Coast crashes Dec. 27.

Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago; Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago

LOGAN SQUARE — Disgraced former 1st Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno was sent to jail on Thursday, more than a week after being charged in a drunk driving crash while out on bond for a pending insurance fraud case.

A Cook County judge revoked Moreno’s bail at a Thursday court hearing, ordering him into custody, according to Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He turned himself in at the Cook County courthouse later in the afternoon.

In doing so, the judge called Moreno “an extreme danger to the community,” according to the Tribune. At the time of the crash, Moreno’s blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit, the Tribune reported.

The Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office didn’t immediately respond Thursday to a request for more information.

“Right now, he’s remanded (to custody),” Judge William Hooks said. “And that red cup he’s using, I hope he’s drinking water out of that red cup, during the Zoom.”

RELATED: Former Ald. Proco Joe Moreno Charged With Drunk Driving In Gold Coast Crashes

Moreno, 48, slammed into eight parked cars on North Astor Street in the Gold Coast around 9:20 p.m. Dec. 27, police said.

The former alderman, who was ousted from City Council in 2019, was taken into custody at the scene and later charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving and five counts of failure to notify damage to an unattended vehicle.

The DUI and reckless driving charges come about a year and a half after Moreno was charged with insurance fraud and obstruction of justice for falsely reporting his Audi stolen.

Police and prosecutors have alleged Moreno let a woman he was dating get arrested in the luxury car he loaned her after falsely reporting the car was stolen from his garage.

In that case, Moreno was released from jail on his own recognizance. At the time, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. said if allegations are true it was a “terrible lapse in judgment, but noted Moreno is alleged to have committed a non-violent crime.

RELATED: Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno Told Cops Someone Stole His Audi, But Prosecutors Say He Really Loaned It To Woman He Was Dating

This time, though, Hooks held no punches and ordered Moreno into custody.

In the DUI case, Moreno was driving the same Audi he reported stolen in 2019 — without insurance, according to the Tribune.

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Ex-Ald. Joe Moreno to Avoid Prison After Guilty Plea in 2019 Case

Matt Masterson | July 16, 2021 5:14 pm

https://news.wttw.com

Former 1st Ward Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno pleaded guilty to multiple charges Friday, but will avoid jail time, following a highly publicized 2019 incident in which he loaned his vehicle to a woman and then falsely claimed it had been stolen.

Moreno pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct charges, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and was sentenced to 24 months of “second chance” probation.

That means Moreno’s case will be dismissed in two years if he is able to avoid further criminal charges and fulfill the terms of his probation.

The alderperson was charged in May 2019 after prosecutors alleged he had falsely claimed both to Chicago police and his insurance agency that his Audi A6 had been stolen out of his garage sometime before Jan. 4, 2019. However, Moreno had actually turned the vehicle and its keys over willingly only hours earlier to a woman he had previously dated.

Those charges came only days before Moreno was set to leave office after being defeated in his reelection bid by current 1st Ward Ald. Daniel La Spata.

Moreno was also charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and having a blood alcohol level greater than 0.08 in a separate incident late last year after he allegedly crashed that same Audi into eight vehicles over a three-block stretch in the Gold Coast neighborhood before crashing into a tree.

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1 down, 2 to go: Former alderman pleads guilty to filing false auto theft report, but his legal problems aren’t over

July 16, 2021 CWBChicago

https://cwbchicago.com

Former Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno put one-third of his legal problems behind him Friday when he pleaded guilty to charges related to a false auto theft report he filed with police in January 2019. Prosecutors said Moreno loaned his Audi to his girlfriend and then reported the car stolen to CPD and his insurance company.

Everything went great for a month — until cops pulled the sporty A6 over as it was being driven by his then-girlfriend, 35-year-old Liliya Hrabar on the 4800 block of West Armitage. She was detained and briefly charged with criminal trespass to a vehicle until police learned that Moreno gave her permission to use the car.

Now, Moreno has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in exchange for a sentence of two years “second chance probation” from Judge William Hooks. The case will be dismissed if Moreno completes his probation successfully. Insurance fraud and other charges were dropped in the plea deal.

Hrabar subsequently filed a defamation lawsuit against Moreno. The matter has been on hold since November 2019 pending the outcome of the criminal case, according to court records.

While the false report allegations and the lawsuit were pending, Moreno picked up yet another case after he allegedly plowed his Audi into nine parked cars and a tree along 3 blocks in the Gold Coast on December 27, 2020.

Allegedly sporting a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit, Moreno was treated for minor injuries at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and then released after being charged with misdemeanors.

Judge Hooks later ordered him into custody for violating the terms of bail in the false report case. But Moreno quickly went home after posting an additional bail bond. Moreno has said he underwent treatment after the crash, but the DUI case is still pending.

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Former Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno pleads guilty in DUI case

By Megan Crepeau

Aug 03, 2021 at 11:11 am

www.chicagotribune.com

Former Chicago alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on July 16, 2021. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

Former Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno on Tuesday pleaded guilty to DUI and speeding after being charged late last year with drunkenly crashing into several cars on a posh Gold Coast street.

As part of the plea agreement, Moreno must undergo 18 months of court supervision and do 125 hours of community service, Cook County Judge Jill Rose Quinn said in a videoconferenced traffic court hearing.

Moreno and his attorney noted in court that he has completed intensive rehab treatment since the crash.

“I did have some personal struggles that I ended up taking head-on ... amongst many things, completing a very intensive program that changed my life,” Moreno said in court. “I hope to help others in similar situations and (move) on, for my family and myself.”

The plea resolves his second and final outstanding court case. Moreno last month pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and giving a false report to authorities in a separate criminal case alleging he loaned his Audi to a woman he was dating and then reported it stolen.

In exchange for that plea, Moreno was given “second-chance” probation, a program for first-time offenders.

GOP lawmakers ask Illinois State Police for more details on how it handled report on alleged Highland Park shooter

The DUI case dates to late December 2020. Moreno crashed into several cars in the 1200 block of North Astor Street, then turned onto Division Street and crashed into a tree, Assistant State’s Attorney Kiran Gupta said Tuesday. Officers found him trying to accelerate into the tree; his blood alcohol content was .332 — far above the legal limit, Gupta said.

In addition to the supervision and community service, Moreno must participate in a victim-impact panel and pay fees and assessments.

Quinn ended the hearing with words of encouragement for the former alderman.

“Sobriety’s not easy, but you have the tools now to avoid this kind of thing in the future,” she said.

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Sources for Report

Ald. Moreno Charged with Insurance Fraud, Obstruction of Justice

Matt Masterson | Amanda Vinicky | May 15, 2019 2:34 pm

https://news.wttw.com/2019/05/15/ald-moreno-charged-insurance-fraud-obstruction-justice

Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno Indicted For Allegedly Telling Cops His Audi Was Stolen, Insurance Fraud ... Mina Bloom 1:18 PM CDT on Jun 4, 2019 https://blockclubchicago.org/2019/06/04/ald-proco-joe-moreno-indicted-for-telling-cops-his-audi-was-stolen-insurance-fraud/ CWBChicago @CWBChicago

This just in: Former Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno's mugshot from his DUI arrest this week. Mugshot of the day. #MugshotOfTheDay #Chicago #MSOTD

7:31 AM · Dec 31, 2020·Twitter Web App

https://twitter.com/CWBChicago/status/1344637390003044354?s=20&t=3p81_01wSh3qq5zxT2Xkkg

Former Ald. Proco Joe Moreno Sent To Jail After Being Charged With Drunk Driving While Out On Bond by Mina Bloom

1:35 PM CST on Jan 7, 2021

https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/01/07/former-ald-proco-joe-moreno-sent-to-jail-after-being-charged-with-drunk-driving-while-out-on-bond/

1 down, 2 to go: Former alderman pleads guilty to filing false auto theft report, but his legal problems aren’t over July 16, 2021 CWBChicago Wicker Park https://cwbchicago.com/2021/07/1-down-2-to-go-former-alderman-pleads-guilty-to-filing-false-auto-theft-report-but-his-legal-problems-arent-over.html

Former Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno pleads guilty in DUI case

By Megan Crepeau Chicago Tribune Aug 03, 2021 at 11:11 am

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/criminal-justice/ct-proco-joe-moreno-dui-plea-20210803-jrwgc4dqtfbgfnh3mt33lor4yy-story.html

Proco Joe Moreno To Run For City Council Again After Legal Woes, Report Says by Kelly Bauer 9:00 AM CDT on Aug 18, 2022

https://blockclubchicago.org/2022/08/18/proco-joe-moreno-to-run-for-city-council-again-after-legal-woes-report-says



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