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Former Ald. Ricardo Munoz expected to plead guilty in federal fraud case

Prosecutors allege the onetime veteran alderman used the Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus he once led as a personal piggy bank, stealing thousands to pay for a relative’s college tuition, skydiving excursions, travel expenses, a hotel stay — and even at Lover’s Lane.

Former Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) speaks during a Chicago City Council meeting in 2017. Munoz was charged in a federal indictment Thursday, federal authorities announced.
Sun-Times file photo

Former Ald. Ricardo Munoz is expected to enter a guilty plea in his federal fraud case next month.

U.S. District Judge John Kness on Tuesday set a so-called change-of-plea hearing in Munoz’s case for Sept. 15. He did so at the request of Munoz’s lawyer, Richard Kling, who previously told the judge Munoz’s case would likely be resolved short of trial.

Federal prosecutors allege the onetime veteran alderman of the 22nd Ward used the Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus he once led as a personal piggy bank, stealing thousands to pay for a relative’s college tuition, skydiving excursions, travel expenses, a hotel stay — and even at Lover’s Lane.

A 29-page indictment made public in late April charged Munoz with 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

Munoz was forced into retirement in 2019 after his wife accused him of physically abusing her. A Cook County judge found him not guilty of misdemeanor domestic battery in June of that year. He was also in counseling that summer for alcoholism.

Meanwhile, the federal indictment suggested Munoz had brazenly dipped into Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus funds, then tried to cover his tracks by repaying the money or by claiming the stolen funds were for “consulting” or “Election Day expenses.”