LYFORD, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Department of Transportation employee from the Rio Grande Valley pleaded guilty to extortion Friday.
Patrick Gorena, 54, of Lyford, was a border investigator for the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to the Department of Justice.
According to his plea, Gorena demanded $3,500 while auditing a trucking company in exchange for not reporting safety violations. By reporting the safety violations, the company would have been exposed to potential fines and losing its DOT license.
The DOT Office of the Inspector General and FBI conducted an investigation on Gorena who accepted $2,000 from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a representative of the trucking company.
Gorena is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18 where he could face up to 20 years in prison.