Former Lyons Police Officer Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Extorting $48,000 from Targets of Investigations
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 04, 2014|
CHICAGO—A former west suburban Lyons police officer was sentenced today to five years in federal prison for illegally extorting more than $48,000 from targets of criminal investigations he was supposedly conducting during 2013. The defendant, JIMMY J. RODGERS, who was a 14-year veteran of the Lyons Police Department, was sentenced after pleading guilty in May to extortion.
Rodgers, 44, of Chicago, was assigned to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, task force and his duties included investigating the sale of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes. In the course of his work, he set up six fake transactions with criminals, detained them, hand-cuffed them, stole their goods and funds for his own benefit, threatened them, and then lied and concealed the scam.
“The temptation for police officers to extort illegal operations is great. People need to know they will go to jail for this conduct,” U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin said in imposing the 60-month sentence. “The sentence here should serve as a reminder that the penalty for shaking people down is not a slap on the wrist.” Rodgers was also fined $48,980 and was ordered to begin serving his sentence on Nov. 7. Rodgers was arrested last September and pleaded guilty in May.
According to court records, Rodgers recruited cooperating sources to assist in setting up transactions in which the source would sell contraband cigarettes to potential targets of the investigation. Rodgers agreed to pay the sources a fee for each transaction the sources conducted. Rodgers’ extortion was discovered by the FBI when one of the confidential sources reported the conduct after realizing that none of the targets were arrested, the transactions were not recorded, and Rodgers had begun paying him in cash from proceeds of the transactions instead of with checks from the Lyons Police Department as Rodgers had arranged previously.
The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Lyons Police Department and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations assisted in the investigation.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani.