The mayor of South El Monte pleaded guilty to bribery Thursday as part of a plea agreement, according to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office.
Mayor Luis Aguinaga was charged with bribery for accepting money from a contractor who was doing work for the city and accepting a bribe during an FBI undercover operation.
Aguinaga admitted he took bribes from a contractor from 2005 to September 2012. The bribes started out at $500, and eventually increased to $1,000. In the agreement, he said he received at least $45,000 from the contractor, who was identified as a confidential witness.
According to the press release, the contractor made payments every two to three weeks. In exchange, the contractor would be rewarded with city contracts, according to authorities.
"The contractor made the bribe payments by placing cash in envelopes that were left in a bathroom at the South El Monte City Hall or were left inside the passenger side pocket of a car," the release said.
"This long-running corruption scheme compromised the effective governance of South El Monte," United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in the release. "The residents of South El Monte deserve better."
Aguinaga is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on August 10. He could face up to 10 years in federal prison.