Former Department of Transportation employee charged with bribery, extortion: DOJ

HOUSTON – A former Department of Transportation employee accused of bribery and extortion has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Houston, according to the Department of Justice.

Patrick Gorena, 54, has been charged with one count of bribery and one count of extortion under color of law.

According to the indictment, Gorena was a border investigator for DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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 DOT license, Gorena allegedly demanded a $3,500 payment.

The charges allege Gorena ultimately accepted a $2,000 bribe from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a representative of the trucking company.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison.

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