Plea deal in works for former Sweetwater mayor?

Manny Maroño, Jorge Forte to be arraigned Friday

SWEETWATER, Fla. – A plea deal may be in the works for the former Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño and lobbyist Jorge Forte.

The two are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court on Friday morning. They've been charged directly by the U.S. attorney but not by grand jury indictment, indicating they're cooperating with the investigation.

Maroño and Forte were charged in August with taking thousands of dollars in kickbacks.

According to the complaints, lobbyist Richard Candia introduced Maroño to undercover FBI agents who posed as the owners of a Chicago-based grant administration business. The agents told Candia they could get federal grant money with the help of elected officials.

Maroño helped pass a resolution allowing the agents' company to apply for federal grant money on behalf of the city of Sweetwater, according to the complaint. Maroño and Forte then received $40,000 as payment. The two received another $20,000 by introducing the agents to other elected officials.

Maroño also lied to an undercover FBI agent posing as an auditor when asked about the company, according to the complaints.