9/23/2011Italy: More Indictments in Photo Enforcement Scandal
Judge in Abruzzo, Italy indicts 15 mayors, cops, speed camera company employees for fraud.
An Italian court ruled Tuesday that a group of mayors, police officers and speed camera company employees would stand for trial four months from now on charges of criminal conspiracy, fraud, embezzlement, abuse of office. Judge Anna Rosa Capuozzo ruled that fifteen individuals should be indicted.
Prosecutor Francesco Prete brought the charges following a detailed investigation opened in 2009 by the carabinieri. Participants in the photo enforcement scheme were followed, their conversations were wiretapped and their offices raided. The evidence of what happened between January 2005 and September 2007 painted an image of corruption between the photo ticketing firm Atessa and the government officials. The connections were said to violate the Italian constitution.
"The organization of public offices is determined by law ensuring the proper and fair operation of public affairs," Article 97 states.
The court questioned whether the impartial administration of public affairs was possible when speed cameras were being manipulated to generate additional revenue. The court allowed dozens of motorists harmed by this arrangement to be named as plaintiffs.
Investigations into Italian speed camera fraud have been in the works for years. In March, the Guardia di Finanza announced five indictments in Brescia. In August 2009, speed cameras were shrouded in black plastic as up to 200 officials faced charges in Caserta. In January 2009, the carabinieri arrested red light camera maker Stefano Arrighetti and seized automated ticketing machines from 54 municipalities that used the "T-Red" brand of intersection camera on charges of contract irregularities and the shortening of yellow light timing at intersections. In May, a court scheduled a hearing with Arrighetti for this week.
The first court hearing in the Abruzzo case is scheduled for January 17, 2012. The following were indicted:
Giovanni Di Stefano, 50, mayor of Fresagrandinaria
Carlo Moro, 49, mayor of Lentella
Giovanni Giammichele, 36, former mayor of Dogliola
Leandro Di Lallo, 53 mayor of Moro
Maurizio Antonini, 42 former mayor of Fresa
Nicola Di Stefano, 35 co-owner of Euroservice, a camera vendor
Nicolino Di Giuseppe, 57, administrator of Fine Service
Pierluca Di Giuseppe, of Fine Service
Giuseppe Besca, 46, member of Euroservice
Antonio Marchesani, 53, Cupello police commander
Giuseppe Cavallone, 52, Fresagrandinaria policeman
Domenico Profeta, 50, Fresagrandinaria policeman
Gianfranco Caravaggio, 43, Lentella policeman
Giosue Forgione, 58, Cupello policeman
Michele Di Dia, 54, San Giovanni Lipioni policeman