East St. Louis Tow Truck Operator Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Property, Making False Statements to the FBI, and Making False Declarations Before a Federal Grand Jury
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 08, 2012|
Eddie Johnson, Jr., 47, of Cahokia, Illinois, pled guilty in federal district court to a three-count indictment that charged count one, theft or conversion of government property; count two, making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer; and court three, making a false declaration before a federal grand jury, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.
The conviction is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation which focused upon allegations of corruption by tow truck operators in the city of East St. Louis. The FBI conducted an integrity test wherein federal agents placed diamond earrings, a purse, a debit card, and other valuables in a Mercedes automobile that appeared to be an abandoned stolen vehicle. Audio and video surveillance was in place around the vehicle. As part of the plea, Johnson admitted that on February 12, 2011, he responded following a call from the East St. Louis Police department to a towing company. Johnson admitted that he stole the diamond earrings and other valuables. Johnson further admitted that he made false statements to the FBI and to a federal grand jury in the investigation of the theft. Johnson faces up to 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $750,000, and three years’ supervised release when he is sentenced on February 22, 2013.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Smith.