Ex-LAZ Parking exec pleads guilty

A former parking firm executive charged with steering a $22 million contract for Chicago's parking meters to a favored company and collecting $90,000 in kickbacks has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, court records show.

LAZ Parking fired Felipe Oropesa last June after the Chicago Sun-Times first revealed that federal agents had been investigating Oropesa's kickbacks. The FBI filed an affidavit in February 2015 to search two email accounts tied to the former vice president for government relations.

When a reporter first contacted Oropesa about the investigation, he called it "news to me."

But Florida businessman George Levey of Cale Parking Systems USA Inc. admitted he paid Oropesa $90,000 after Oropesa gave him inside information that helped him craft a bid for the Chicago contract, federal prosecutors alleged in a court filing in Oregon. Levey pleaded guilty to a similar but separate scam there and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Oropesa faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, but his sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

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