Additional Charges Filed in Chicago Towing Investigation
FBI Chicago Division
July 1, 2010
Special Agent Joan Hyde (312) 829-1199
Criminal charges against a sixth Chicago Police Officer were unsealed today as part of an ongoing investigation into bribes and extortion involving the automotive towing industry in Chicago. The charges were announced today by Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Jody P. Weis, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD); and Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
JUAN PRADO, age 45, who is an 11-year veteran of the CPD assigned to uniformed patrol duties in the 14th District, which is located at 2150 North California, was arrested earlier today when he voluntarily surrendered to FBI special agents and officers assigned to the CPD, Internal Affairs Division. PRADO was charged in a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, which was unsealed today, with three counts of attempted extortion, which is felony offense.
According to the complaint, PRADO is alleged to have solicited three separate payments totaling in excess of $1100 from a tow truck operator who, at the time, was secretly working for the FBI. The payments were made by the tow truck operator as PRADO had allegedly provided to him the opportunity to tow automobiles involved in traffic accidents in the 14th police district on August 10, August 17, and October 12, all in the year 2006.
The charges announced today are the result of a five-year multi-jurisdictional investigation, code named “Operation Tow Scam,” which is investigating allegations that CPD Officers were soliciting bribes and extorting cash and other payments from tow truck operators throughout the City of Chicago. This investigation, which is still ongoing, has thus far resulted in criminal charges being filed against nine individuals, including six current or former CPD officers. The Criminal Investigative Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is also participating in this investigation.
PRADO appeared before Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier in Chicago, earlier today, at which time he was formally charged. PRADO was released on bond, pending his next scheduled court appearance. If convicted of the charges filed against them, PRADO faces a possible sentence of sixty (60) years' incarceration.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Copies of the criminal complaint filed in this case are available from the Chicago FBI’s press office at (312) 829-1199.
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