Former Chicago Police Officer Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Prison for Attempted Extortion in Vehicle Towing Investigation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 29, 2012|
CHICAGO—A former Chicago Police officer assigned to the Shakespeare District on the city’s north side was sentenced today to three-and-a-half years in federal prison for taking thousands of dollars in bribes to steer towing business from accident scenes in 2006 and 2007. The defendant, Juan Prado, pleaded guilty in July to attempted extortion, admitting that he accepted a total of $3,790 from a cooperating witnesses as part of an undercover investigation, Operation Tow Scam, conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Chicago Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs.
At sentencing, the government presented evidence that Prado accepted at least $12,400 in additional bribes resulting from hundreds of tows from accident scenes that he handled.
Prado, 47, of Chicago, an officer for nearly 13 years, was also fined $5,000, and he was ordered to begin serving his 42-month sentence on March 12, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan. Prado, who was initially charged in June 2010, has already paid back $3,790 in bribe money to the FBI.
“Prado turned his badge into a private concession and, in the process, dictated which tow drivers could conduct their business at his accident scenes,” the government argued at sentencing.
Prado is among 10 Chicago Police officers who have been charged in the corruption probe. Seven officers and three civilians, including two truck drivers, have been convicted. Charges are pending against three other officers who were recently charged.
The sentence was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Garry F. McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Donovan and Margaret Schneider.