Ex-FMCSA Investigator Charged with Bribery, Extortion

A former Transportation Department official has been indicted on charges of bribery and extortion for allegedly soliciting bribes for safety ratings. 

Patrick Gorena’s charges stem from his time as a border investigator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), according to a Nov. 14 Justice Department release

Gorena, 54, allegedly demanded a $3,500 cash payment “in exchange for minimizing purported safety violations he encountered while auditing a truck company,” the release states. These violations would have subjected the company to “potential fines and the loss of their ability to operate.” 

The investigator supposedly accepted $2,000 from an undercover officer posing as a representative of the trucking company, the charges state, before he gave the company a “satisfactory” rating. 

If convicted, Gorena could face a maximum of 20 years in prison on the extortion count and 15 years on the bribery count. The trucking company was not named in any of the documents.