A former U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) worker is facing bribery and extortion charges, according to federal authorities.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday, November 14, that 54 year old Texas resident Patrick Gorena was indicted by a federal grand jury in Houston on one charge each of bribery and extortion.

According to a DOJ news release, Gorena was employed as a border investigator for U.S. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

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 ability to operate, Gorena allegedly demanded a $3,500 cash 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,” the DOJ said.

If convicted, Gorena faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the extortion count and 15 years in prison on the bribery count.

Gorena is set to appear in court at 3 p.m. on Monday, November 14.

The case remains under investigation by the McAllen FBI Public Corruption Squad and DOT-Office of Inspector General.

Subscribe for top trucking news updates