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Chicago news media recently reported on a type of story that they have some experience with: allegations of wrongdoing in public office. As we have seen in our city, these types of public corruption accusations are often complex and politically charged. The recent articles are not about allegations in Chicago, however, but are instead rooted in neighboring Indiana, where a sanitary district administrator and local businessmen were arrested by federal officials as part of a years-long investigation into alleged corruption in Muncie city government. Debra Nicole “Nikki” Grigsby, the district administrator of the Muncie Sanitary District, and Tony Franklin, owner…
A few days ago, Chicago newspapers and TV stations exploded with the news that billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was again facing prosecution. The 66-year-old hedge fund manager has been accused by a federal prosecutor of sex trafficking and conspiracy. If convicted, Epstein faces a possible sentence of 45 years in a federal prison. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that a decade ago Epstein was prosecuted on related charges in Florida. At that time, Epstein, his defense attorney and prosecutors reached a deal that spared him a long prison sentence. He served 13 months in a county jail with work release privileges on…
Richard Wallace, the founder of the non-profit Chicago civil rights and justice organization, Equity and Transformation (EAT) says the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois presents us with “the greatest contradiction that we’ve seen.” Wallace points out that a “poor person sells cannabis to put food on the table; they’re a criminal. A wealthy person sells cannabis to make more wealth; they’re touted as innovators.” One important feature of legalization is that the arrest records of hundreds of thousands of people who have been convicted on marijuana-related charges are now eligible for expungement. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx…
If you laid out the 15,582 plastic-wrapped bricks of cocaine end-to-end, they would stretch two and a half miles, officials said. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that some of the confiscated haul was recently put on display by federal law enforcement agents who said they seized more than 17 tons of the drug a few days ago at the Port of Philadelphia. Six people have been arrested on drug-trafficking charges in what is being called one of the largest drug busts in U.S. history. The street value of the historic haul has been estimated at more than $1.1 billion. “Thirty-five thousand…
The recent release of the Department of Justice’s annual report on its Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program made it clear that the federal government continues to focus on this area of criminal law. It has shown time and again that it is willing to charge doctors, pharmacists, executives and investors alike. Healthcare fraud allegations can be leveled against both government payers and private payers, according to a recent news article. The article cited the example of seven people who were accused of involvement in a bribery scheme that purportedly revolved around a doctor-owned surgical center. The DOJ alleged…
A few years ago, Chicago restaurant reviewers wrote of Embeya’s modern Asian menu. The West Loop restaurant featured salmon tartare, poached octopus, mustard-laced avocado puree and much more that delighted diners. The former owner of the eatery was recently in a federal courtroom for a hearing on whether he could be released from custody after being arrested last December in Spain. Attila Gyulai, 47, was charged with wire fraud after prosecutors alleged that he defrauded investors of approximately $300,000. The restaurateur and his wife opened the Asian fusion restaurant in the 500 block of West Randolph back in September of 2012. Reviewers…
Most of us who drive on the Eisenhower Expressway going in or out of Chicago are too focused on the traffic to think about being watched as we navigate the busy roadway. News reports about the installation of 20 high-tech surveillance cameras along the expressway mean that it is time to think about being observed by authorities. Chicago law enforcement officials say the cameras will be used to prosecute drug-traffickers on what has dubbed “Heroin Highway.” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said, “Video provided by these cameras will have the potential to aid in the prosecution of criminals. Few things…
A West Side Chicago man was about 40 miles from his Lawndale home when he was recently arrested in suburban Joliet. The 25-year-old faces several serious charges, according to his hometown newspaper, including manufacture and delivery of a heroin-like substance, manufacture and delivery of a cocaine-like substance, possession of a weapon by felon and possession of a firearm by a street gang member. The news report says that both weapons charges are Class 2 felonies punishable by three to seven years in state prison. In Illinois, the state considers not only well-known drugs such as heroin and cocaine to be…
Because Ald. Proco Moreno’s Audi A6 was stolen, his insurance company was set to pay him more than $30,000 to cover his loss, until the Chicago Police Department said the vehicle had not actually been stolen. Now the 1st Ward alderman has been arrested and charged with insurance fraud, obstruction of justice and filing a false report of stolen vehicle. Moreno has also been charged with disorderly conduct, the Chicago Tribune reported. He faces up to seven years in an Illinois prison if convicted on all the charges. Prosecutors say the alderman loaned his luxury car to a…
Truck drivers trying to navigate Chicago’s streets safely have to watch carefully to avoid cars and pedestrians, but also have to be aware of the overpasses as well. When the driver of a Freightliner box truck clipped a McKinley Park overpass earlier this year, he was “feeling bad because I had gotten into a major accident and I didn’t know what to do.” Seemingly out of nowhere, a helpful tow truck driver appeared and lent a hand, hauling the damaged Freightliner to the towing company’s storage lot. However, the tow truck guy might not have been as helpful as he…
Charges against two Chicago men are serious, though law enforcement officials say the allegations could become much more serious. One of the men has been charged with felony drug offenses, including the manufacture or of heroin and possession of a controlled substance, according to Cook County court records. But police officials said the men might be connected to a series of overdoses caused by a batch of fentanyl-laced heroin that left four people dead on Chicago’s West Side. Law enforcement officials said the powerful heroin had caused at least 17 overdoses in the past two weeks and that the…
The daring escape attempt looked like something out of the movies. Chicago police said a 22-year-old man recently jumped from a sixth story window in an attempt to evade arrest. The escape attempt failed, however, after the man landed on the concrete sidewalk outside of his South Side apartment, breaking bones and suffering serious internal injuries. According to a report in the Sun-Times, the suspect was taken first to a hospital and later charged in federal court with murder in aid of racketeering and illegal possession of a 9mm handgun. The newspaper article says the suspect was wearing an electronic…
Chicago’s NBC affiliate WMAQ recently reported on a former pharmaceutical industry executive who is part of the unfolding opioid scandal. The now-retired CEO of the Rochester Drug Co-Operative was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of conspiracy related to drug trafficking. Federal prosecutors allege that 75-year-old Laurence Doud III urged his salespeople to sign new customers without asking questions. That no-questions approach extended to his firm’s largest customer, which went from ordering 70,000 monthly units of Oxycodone to nearly three times that just a year later. Doud apparently overruled his company’s compliance officers so that…
We have written in this space about people in the Chicago area who faced federal drug trafficking charges. Those allegations typically revolve around illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. It is rare to see drug-related charges against a businessman who sold legal drugs from a pharmacy. But that was the case with Paul J. Elmer, the former owner and CEO of Pharmakon Pharmaceuticals. He was recently convicted by a jury of distributing “over- and under-potent drugs to military and civilian hospitals” in Chicago, Indiana and elsewhere, the Department of Justice stated. He was convicted of conspiracy to defraud
A significant change is coming to Illinois criminal justice on June 1. That’s when most young adults who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms will start to become eligible for a parole review after they have spent 10 years behind bars. Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed the measure that will soon take effect. “This historic legislation will create a long-awaited and vital new parole system for youth facing long sentences,” he said at a bill-signing event in Chicago’s West Side Lawndale neighborhood. The new law will enable people who committed a crime before they turned 21 to petition the state’s…
There is no doubt that some of our Chicago readers attended Western Illinois University in Macomb. While the town is usually sleepy (except for student parties, of course), it woke up recently to news of arrests on drug-trafficking and firearms charges. Law enforcement officials said that after a month-long investigation, officers and a SWAT team executed a search warrant at a residence while the Illinois National Guard provided a helicopter to assist with the raid. A police spokesperson said the helicopter was used to surveil the home and protect the participating officers. Inside the house, two people were arrested.…