Cook County businessman convicted in bribery scheme involving disgraced former lawmaker

A federal jury in Chicago on Thursday convicted the manager of a sweepstakes gaming company for his participation in a bribery scheme involving disgraced former state Rep. Luis Arroyo.

James T. Weiss, 44, of River Grove, was found guilty on all counts, including 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 FBI, according the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Weiss, a son-in-law of former Cook County assessor and Democratic chairman Joe Berrios and an owner-operator of sweepstakes gambling machines, paid Arroyo at least $10,000 in 2018 and 2019 to push and vote for key bills, including ones having to do with unlicensed gambling or "sweepstakes" machines Weiss operated.


The bribes were paid from Weiss’s gaming company, Collage LLC, in the form of checks made payable to Spartacus 3 LLC, Arroyo’s private lobbying firm in Chicago, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Arroyo met with then state-Sen. Terry Link at a Skokie restaurant, where he gave him a $2,500 check from Collage as an initial bribe payment, with the expectation he would receive more payments for 12 months.

"This is the jackpot," Arroyo told Link, before writing the name of the senator’s nominee on the check. The nominee’s name was used to conceal the payment, according to prosecutors.

But Link turned out to be cooperating with investigators in hopes of leniency at his own sentencing hearing. He has since pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return.

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 federal prison.

Weiss is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 11.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.