5/3/2018Top Ten Photo Enforcement Felons
Ten politicians, lobbyists and photo enforcement executives have been convicted of felony crimes ranging from forgery to bribery.
Many top photo enforcement industry executives have found themselves behind bars or under federal investigation. While the bribery scandal in Chicago, Illinois generated the most attention, envelopes filled with cash from Redflex Traffic Systems were also handed to politicians in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington according to Aaron M. Rosenberg, the Australian company's former executive vice president.
Rosenberg entered a guilty plea on two counts of bribery in 2016. He was sentenced to just three months of home confinement, 120 hours of community service and ten hours of online ethics training in return for his testimony against colleagues.
Long before Rosenberg's admissions, Shawn Brown, the former mayor of St. Peters, Missouri, was caught soliciting bribes from Redflex. He was jailed in the federal prison in Duluth, Minnesota, from April 2007 to August 1, 2008.
Jay Morris Specter was the next to fall. While serving as the top salesman for American Traffic Solutions, he was convicted of forgery in his personal business. He actively negotiated major speed and red light camera contracts for ATS while under indictment. Specter was convicted in January 2007 and was released from the federal prison in Edgefield, South Carolina, on September 21, 2010. Specter had previously worked as a salesman for Redflex.
Karen Coppens, a Washington DC police officer, embezzled $178,611 from the city's speed camera program. She admitted guilt on two counts of felony theft from a program receiving federal funds and was sentenced to a year in the federal prison in Marianna, Florida on September 12, 2008. She was released on May 20, 2010.
Redflex lobbyist John P. Raphael was convicted of soliciting bribes for speed camera contracts for Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio councilmen. Because he kept quiet, Raphael protected these powerful local officials from being charged with accepting his bribes. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison on the federal charge of interference with commerce by threats. He was released on October 30, 2017.
Martin O'Malley, a Redflex contractor and the bagman in the Chicago bribery scheme, passed cash from Redflex to John Bills, the deputy director of Chicago's transportation department in return for the assistance of Bills in expanding the red light camera program into the largest in the nation. O'Malley was released on June 30, 2017 after serving six months behind bars. Bills is currently imprisoned in Pensacola, Florida, and will be released on August 12, 2024.
Karen Finley, former head of US operations Redflex Traffic Systems, wrote the checks for the bribes handed out in Chicago and Ohio. She is currently behind bars in Phoenix, Arizona until December 5, 2018.
The latest photo enforcement scandal involves the use of cameras mounted on school buses to issue tickets to vehicle owners in Dallas, Texas. The bus ticketing contractor Force Multiplier Solutions was caught doling out $3 million in bribes to Dallas County Schools. Superintendent Ricky Dale Sorrells earlier this month entered a guilty plea on the charge of accepting those bribes in this ongoing case.
Slater Washburn Swartwood Sr admitted that he laundered money to help conceal the bribery payments to Dallas County Schools. Neither Sorrells nor Swartwood have been sentenced. Other individuals implicated in the scheme, including Force Multiplier Solutions CEO Robert Leonard, remain under investigation but have not been charged.