Marcelo Co

Booking photo of former Moreno Valley City Councilman Marcelo Co, 64, who has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge, prosecutors said Tuesday. (Riverside County Sheriff’s Department / August 13, 2013)

By Rick Rojas
November 5, 2013, 12:47 p.m.

A former Moreno Valley city councilman has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges after taking a $2.3-million cash payment from an undercover operative in what prosecutors said was the first criminal case to emerge in a months-long corruption investigation in the city.

Marcelo Co, 64, was charged Tuesday with one bribery count and another count of filing a false corporate tax return, local and federal law enforcement officials said at a news conference in Riverside. Co is set to make his initial court appearance in December, and could face a maximum penalty of 13 years in federal prison, prosecutors said.

As part of the deal, Co agreed to cooperate with the continued public corruption investigation. Officials would not elaborate on who is the focus of the probe, as well as if or when others would face criminal charges.

In January, Co accepted the payment from an undercover federal agent posing as a land broker.

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