(The Center Square) – A jury convicted the manager of a sweepstakes gambling company for his part in a bribery scheme involving Illinois lawmakers.
James Weiss, 44, of River Grove, was convicted of three counts of honest services wire fraud, two counts of bribery, one count of honest services mail fraud and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
U.S. District Judge Steven Seeger set sentencing for Oct. 11. Weiss could face up to 20 years in prison.
At trial, prosecutors presented evidence that showed Weiss paid thousands of dollars in bribes to former Illinois state Rep. Luis Arroyo. The bribes were paid from Weiss’s gaming company, Collage LLC, in the form of checks made payable to Spartacus 3 LLC, which was Arroyo’s lobbying firm in Chicago.
In exchange, Arroyo promoted legislation in the state’s General Assembly related to the sweepstakes industry and advised other state lawmakers to support the legislation.
In August 2019, Arroyo offered to have payments made to Illinois state Sen. Terry Link in return for the senator’s support of sweepstakes-related legislation.
On Aug. 22, 2019, Arroyo met with Link at a restaurant in Skokie gave him with a $2,500 check from Collage as an initial bribe payment, with the expectation that the senator would receive similar payments for 12 months. Arroyo told the senator, “This is the jackpot.” Arroyo then wrote the name of Link’s nominee on the company’s check. The nominee’s name was used for the purpose of concealing the payment, prosecutors said.
Link was cooperating with the FBI. Link is seeking a deal on a federal tax conviction in exchange for his cooperation.
Arroyo, who represented the 3rd District in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2006 to 2019, pleaded guilty to his role in the bribery scheme and was sentenced in 2022 to nearly five years in prison.