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Former Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno gets ‘second chance’ after pleading guilty in felony case

Moreno, 49, was sentenced to “second chance” probation as part of a deal with prosecutors, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said.

Former 1st Ward Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in May 2019.
Former 1st Ward Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in May 2019.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Former 1st Ward Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno was sentenced to two years probation Friday after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct charges for reporting his car stolen when he actually loaned it to a woman he was dating.

Cook County prosecutors dropped two more serious charges — insurance fraud and false report of a vehicle theft — as part of the plea deal tied to the 2019 criminal case, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office said.

Moreno, 49, was sentenced to second chance probation by Judge William Hooks as part of the deal, the state’s attorney’s office said. He will face no jail time and can get the charges wiped clean from his record if he stays out of trouble for two years.

The program is eligible to defendants who haven’t previously been convicted of a felony offense.

The former alderman’s sojourn in the criminal justice system began when he was charged in May 2019 — three months after he lost his re-election bid for his City Council seat.

In January that year, Moreno loaned his car to his then-girlfriend, Liliya Hrabar, and then reported it stolen the following day, prosecutors said. Police pulled Hrabar over while she drove the vehicle and charged her with criminal trespass to a vehicle.

The misdemeanor charge against Hrabar was later dropped.

Moreno found himself behind bars again in January this year for violating conditions of his bond in the felony fraud case when he was charged with DUIs and several other misdemeanors.

Moreno was intoxicated and behind the wheel on Dec. 26, 2020 when he crashed his car into several others before hitting a tree in the Gold Coast, Chicago police said.

During a status hearing in the felony case the following month, Hooks ordered Moreno to report to Cook County Jail that day. His no-bail order was later reduced to $5,000 bail and he was released after posting bond.

The DUI and other misdemeanor charges are still pending in traffic court, the state’s attorney’s office said.

Moreno couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, but his former defense attorney, Camilo Oceguera, said he had spoken with him and said Moreno was “glad to be able to move forward with his life.”