1/28/2020Indictments Begin In Second Illinois Red Light Camera Scandal
Powerful Illinois lawmaker charged with taking bribes to support red light cameras.
Federal prosecutors on Monday charged the Illinois state Senate Transportation Committee chairman with taking bribes in return for favorable action on red light camera legislation. Martin A. Sandoval will appear later today before US District Judge Andrea R. Wood to answer the two-count indictment brought by US Attorney John R. Lausch Jr.
"Martin A. Sandoval, defendant herein, as an agent of the state of Illinois, namely a state senator and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee... corruptly solicited, demanded, agreed to accept and accepted things of value, namely, money, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a business, transaction, and a series of transactions of the state of Illinois involving a thing of value... namely, continued support for the operation of red light cameras in the state of Illinois, including opposing legislation adverse to the interests of the red light camera industry," Lausch wrote.
The second count goes after Sandoval for filing a false tax return for 2017, presumably failing to include the sums he took under the table from representatives of the red light camera industry. Federal agents have been raiding the offices of a number of officials in suburban Chicago related to their dealings with photo ticketing companies. Sandoval stepped down at the beginning of the month after it became clear he would be charged in connection with his alleged dealings with vendor Safespeed.
Red light cameras generated over a billion dollars in revenue in Illinois, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. The lure of easy money has already ensnared other officials, including former Chicago deputy transportation commissioner John Bills who took $2 million in bribes from Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia. His ten-year prison sentence is up in June 2024. The top two Redflex executives in the United States, Karen Finley and Aaron Rosenberg, were also convicted in the scheme.
In total, fourteen public officials, lobbyists and photo enforcement executives have been convicted in various corruption schemes in the United States (view full list). The scandals, however, extend to countries using automated ticketing machines around the globe (view the red light camera and speed camera CrimeLine).