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Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the red-light-red-light dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The former CEO of Redflex, a major red light camera vendor, and John Bills, former Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Transportation, have been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from a contract with the City of Chicago. According to the indictment, a friend of Bills was hired as a contractor and paid $2 million. Much of that money was then kicked back to Bills, who also got a Mercedes and a condominium via Redflex employees. The defendants are facing 23 counts including: mail fraud, wire fraud, and bribery. Each fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years."
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Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:17AM (#47693847)

    Anything from Chicago. ......

  • Pretty obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:24AM (#47693875)

    What, you think that these cameras were set up after a careful consideration of how to balance the needs and rights of the citizenry against the desire to improve traffic conditions? No, it's based on lobbying by the camera sales staff, promising easy money in return for a right to prey on the citizenry. This being Chicago, some of the easy money was kicked-back to the local politicians, but the process isn't really that much different in regions where there is enough moral fiber for the state to keep all of the proceeds.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:32AM (#47693931) Journal

    When you do this for a member of congress, it's called Lobbying, when it do it for lesser politicians, they call it a bribe. Guess these peeps are finding out the hard way.

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:40AM (#47693995)

    You think corruption is bad in Chicago, come to Atlanta or New Orleans sometime. Local officials there all but solicit bribes with TV ads. Good luck finding a public official who ISN'T running at least two side hustles, sending city contracts to their brother-in-law, and fucking three mistresses.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:11AM (#47694203) Homepage

    This is the norm everywhere. If a person WANTS to be in public office, chances are good that they are a scumbag looking for bribes. It has always been this way that the scum of the earth always want to be in politics.

  • Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maliqua (1316471) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:46AM (#47695081)

    Each fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years."

    I wish that you saw more minimum sentences, the maximum sentence seems like something created for sensationalism media because saying "roughly 3 months of actual jail, 9 of house arrest and 2 years of probation" sounds too soft for most crimes, but more accurate than what is implied by the "20 year MAXIMUM!" which sounds appropriately punitive

  • by bondsbw (888959) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:31AM (#47695513)

    It's also about fame and power. Being noticed, having people rely on you, and being able to directly affect the lives of so many... these are like a drug.

    And even if it starts out unselfishly, I've seen a few politicians get a taste of the drug and change ways. It sucks when I voted for them and feel the need to apologize for my support.

  • Re:Pretty obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nexus7 (2919) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:50AM (#47695711)

    Thing is, red light cameras catch people who are entering an intersection on red, which is illegal, dangerous, and inconsiderate (me-first-fuck-you'ers). You can argue about whether the amber/yellow should be 3 seconds or 4, and whether it was reduced in order to increase the revenue; but the minimum (federally mandated, I believe) is 3 s, and 3 s is plenty of time to stop or to go through based on conditions. RLC tickets in Chicago have a human review them, so they're not sent if conditions make it impossible to not go through (again you can argue over this).

    But in the majority of situations (I'd guesstimate 99%), and RLC catches a person doing something illegal. There is no question of balancing rights and improvement in traffic conditions.

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