2/19/2020Illinois: Red Light Camera Salesman Busted By Feds
Federal prosecutors rack up second indictment in suburban Illinois red light camera bribery scandal.
A federal grand jury in Illinois last week indicted a senior Cook County staff member who moonlighted as a red light camera salesman. Patrick J. Doherty, the chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, bribed an unnamed Oak Lawn trustee on behalf of the red light camera vendor Safespeed, according to the indictment.
"Patrick J. Doherty used and caused to be used a facility in interstate commerce, namely a cellular telephone and an associated communications network, with intent to promote, manage, carry on, and facilitate the promotion, management, and carrying on of an unlawful activity, namely, bribery," the indictment stated.
Oak Lawn signed a deal to allow Safespeed to issue automated tickets within the village in February 2014. In 2017, Doherty wanted to influence the trustee to call for the installation of more cameras, as he received a percentage cut of every single photo ticket issued. So he allegedly funneled $4000 to a trustee, disguising the transaction by paying one of the trustee's immediate family members with a regular series of $500 checks drawn against his company.
"If it's going to get us the job, I'll just pay it," Doherty said in a recorded cell phone call to another Safespeed salesman on May 25, 2017. "Just make sure get get the, make sure we get the [expletive] contract."
Conversations about the bribes are thought to have been recorded by Safespeed co-owner Omar Maani, who is thought to be cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in return for a lighter sentence. He has not been publicly charged.
Doherty's bail was set at $100,000. He faces a maximum of five years in prison. So far, the federal corruption probe has snared the former chairman of the state Senate Transportation Committee Martin A. Sandoval, who entered a guilty plea to the charge of taking bribes from Safespeed. Sandoval faces no more than ten years behind bars. To date, fourteen public officials, lobbyists and photo enforcement executives have been convicted in various corruption schemes in the United States (view full list). Similar scandals have been uncovered around the globe (view the red light camera and speed camera CrimeLine).