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

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the red-light-red-light dept.

Crime 115

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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What an odd name... (4, Funny)

Captain_Chaos (103843) | about 4 months ago | (#47693831)

What an odd name for a car.

Re:What an odd name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693907)

Maybe he was living in his car.

Re:What an odd name... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#47693925)

It's not a car name.

It's the brand. The car was a "Condominium GT 350 Pipistrello".

Re:What an odd name... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47694353)

You know, if it were a house boat that might make more sense, a friend of mine bought one we liked to refer to as "A one bedroom apartment with a top speed of 20 MPH"

Though, would need to be at least 2 apartments to condo it out.

Why is this modded as off-topic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693929)

It certainly applies to the title of the story.

I commend you, Catpain Chaos, for your sense of humor

Re:What an odd name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47698461)

There was a movie back in the 80's called Condoman and he had a transforming variable rate lease, a giant winged swim suit for the pool, and a microwave. Plus the lovely Natalia, his 80-year-old neighbor.

our presidents origin story (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693847)

Anything from Chicago. ......

Re:our presidents origin story (4, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:our presidents origin story (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#47694203)

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.

Re:our presidents origin story (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#47694225)

True, but some cities are definitely worse than others. In most decent cities, the public officials at least have the decency to try to temper their corruption to a certain limit and at least keep it quiet.

Re:our presidents origin story (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47694381)

This. I live in MA, and its no different here. Hell, they caught one of our state reps on camera actually stuffing an envelope of cash in her bra. A business my wife used to work at owned the building they were in, right in south boston. They applied for a permit to get a roof deck; and were asked straight out for a bribe to make it happen, when they refused.... so was their permit. This shit goes on everywhere.

Re:our presidents origin story (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 4 months ago | (#47695549)

I think there is a line drawing game going on and at some point people step over the line. For instance, if you go in to city council with a rezoning request, they are not going to just say "Yes, that makes sense for it to be rezoned to X" and grant it. No, they are going to say at the very least "What improvements will you be making to this property to entice us to make this change?" and right on up to "Give me some money".

Re:our presidents origin story (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 4 months ago | (#47696825)

They applied for a permit to get a roof deck; and were asked straight out for a bribe to make it happen, when they refused.... so was their permit. This shit goes on everywhere.

Because it goes on where you are? Provincialism fallacy much?

Re:our presidents origin story (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47697263)

No the fallacy is yours in assume I made a claim I didn't. Yes it would be fallacy to claim that because it happens here it must happen everywhere but, there is ample evidence this sort of corruption has happened everywhere humans have had the chance to be corrupt. My own evidence of it going on is only one small confirmation in a several thousand year long history of people using whatever power they are given to their own advantage.

Re:our presidents origin story (3, Interesting)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47694635)

Cincinnatus [wikipedia.org] wants a word with you.

I dont think its nearly as simple as you make it. If all you want is money (which is what bribes are), public office is probably the wrong place to look. I think many people entering public office geniunely want to change things for the better, and to do it their way. That doesnt mean their methods will be kosher, but I dont think you would deal with the hassles of public office just for some money gained far more easily in the private sector.

Re:our presidents origin story (1)

Cabriel (803429) | about 4 months ago | (#47695369)

In non-altruistic practice, Public Office is a method for improving one's image and reputation while also making connections to important people in the business world so one can get a great position in an industry after their term is finished. If they're being bribed/illegally rewarded while in office and it amounts to more than they think they'd make for the same effort in an industry, then there's a strong reason to become a career politician--a very different kind from the presumably-good people who actually want to change the world.

Re:our presidents origin story (3, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | about 4 months ago | (#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:our presidents origin story (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 months ago | (#47698701)

It all depends on how bad and how accepted corruption is in any given society. In many, a public office is basically accepted as a seat in which to take bribes - it's the major perk of the job.

Re:our presidents origin story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47697419)

Then why do you Slashdotters like to bash India as a third world corrupted shithole? You always use H1B discussions to bash India as corrupt. Seems like the US may be much more corrupt and fraudulent than India in terms of the amount of dollar money involved.

Re:our presidents origin story (1)

xevioso (598654) | about 4 months ago | (#47698207)

Chicago is not the US.

Re:our presidents origin story (5, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47694267)

Trust me, Chicago is worse. The thing is, Chicago corruption is efficient. You pay this person X and you get Y. Very simple and strait forward. Things get done. It's an infection but it's not killing the host. What I've seen of New Orleans is corruption that doesn't work. Things don't get done.

Re:our presidents origin story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695587)

Agreed ... when the mob was taking care of snow removal it actually got done and got done quickly. Now, it's when they feel like it.

Re:our presidents origin story (3, Interesting)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 4 months ago | (#47694603)

If it weren't for bribes, and all the other luxuries that come with being 'in office', I don't think anyone would apply (run for) for those positions. Anyone that works for the general public knows that it's not as nice as working for a private company. Working in the government is 'working for the general public' - on crack (no pun Canada).

It's quite common for those that work in the government to see the public as a bunch of losers that aren't willing to do anything, but want you to give them stuff, mostly money. They see how broken the system is, and are satisfied with taking what they can and getting out as soon as they can. Also, it's not that this happens more or less in any part of the country, but that in the south, it appears that they're more divided and against each other, resulting in more tattling.

Until lobbying is put to rest, how does anyone expect that this won't be a constant issue?

Re:our presidents origin story (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 4 months ago | (#47698949)

You think corruption is bad in Chicago, come to Atlanta or New Orleans sometime.

I wonder how such cities keep running i.e. water, power, sewage, traffic (though slow), electricity, food, etc. etc. and not collapse into some kind of Somalia environment with corruption gone rampant?

Re:our presidents origin story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694291)

Obama likely got a kickback too. There's no way his machine would have let that slide by otherwise.

Pretty obvious (5, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Pretty obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694095)

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.

Oh Chicago never tried to hide that fact: right before they were installed the previous mayor flat out said that boosting revenue was the main motivation for it.

Re:Pretty obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694491)

I somehow doubt however that he came clean with the fact that a significant portion of that revenue was going to bribes & kickback. Though as this is Chicago it may have been implied.

Re:Pretty obvious (2)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#47695613)

No, but the point is that it was viewed as a revenue generator, instead of a public safety tool. It wasn't because "this will reduce accidents by X%" or "this will save X lives annually", he said out loud "this will make us $(money)." And that is the true corruption here, not simply that some scamologists benefited from it.

Really, public safety issues should always be revenue neutral so they avoid the conflict with revenue generation, and instead focus on delivering the purported benefit. But how do you take money out of the equation? Make everyone who runs a red light sit in jail for a day?

Re:Pretty obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47696429)

Nah, just have them sit on the curb and watch a child or close family member do two back and forths using the pedestrian signal.
Meanwhile you tell them not to worry, after all, doesn't everyone stop at reds?

Re:Pretty obvious (1)

un1nsp1red (2503532) | about 4 months ago | (#47697053)

Though everyone in Chicago is used to the endless taxation (of which the red light cameras are just one example), the more recent speed cameras they installed (and continue to install) felt more like a revenue generator than the former. People could see the potential harm-reduction of red light cameras, but not so much with the speed-trap cameras. We all knew both were just new means of taxation, but the speed cameras felt more brazen. Of course, after Daley sold the city's parking to a private company, I think everyone just became even more calloused and defeated with the endless cash-grabbing by the city.

Re:Pretty obvious (5, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 4 months ago | (#47694233)

Is it ironic that moral fiber has become irregular?

Re:Pretty obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694309)

Nope, since that has always been the case. Politicians have always been corrupt scumbags. And the one 's preaching morality and family values are usually amongst the scummiest.

Re:Pretty obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695259)

Hint: people eat more fiber in an effort to become regular.

Re:Pretty obvious (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 months ago | (#47694363)

Since when did being a politician or running a corporation ever have a prerequisite of having a moral fiber? Political corruption goes as far back as the first governments. Same with corrupt corporations.

Even the "classical" Western democracies and republics had rampant corruption. It's more "ironic" that you think having a moral fiber was ever regular.

Re:Pretty obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695119)

*whoosh*

Re:Pretty obvious (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about 4 months ago | (#47695727)

Justice is constipated.

Re:Pretty obvious (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 4 months ago | (#47697091)

I learned an important lesson from Charles Winchester III on MASH. Hawkeye and BJ were feasting on some goods sent from home and keeping it from Charles. HE smiles and says ~ 'Not to worry, your middle class morals will force you to share it with me'. It seemed to me that a ton of 'moral fiber' idealism is handed down from the elites to keep the proles in line.

Re:Pretty obvious (2)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 4 months ago | (#47694641)

I'm not surprised. A local municipality pushed these through (which I'm not staunchly for nor against the cameras), and there was a bit of public outcry. To be fair, intersections were not configured consistently, and stops often could have been handled as yields, but anyway.

The council proposed putting the item up for vote, Redflex thought it would appropriate to sue the city [yourhoustonnews.com] .

Re:Pretty obvious (2)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about 4 months ago | (#47695131)

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.

The state never gets "all of the proceeds"--the entire thing is a graft to slurp money out of taxpayers pockets (while causing more accidents at the same time) and into the pockets of private industry. The money paid to the government is considered a "cost of doing business" for the people operating the graft. It's one of the most corrupt things in our modern society--automated law enforcement.

Re:Pretty obvious (2, Insightful)

Nexus7 (2919) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Pretty obvious (1)

dbitter1 (411864) | about 4 months ago | (#47697571)

LOL. You must not live here, or be really obtuse.

First... the three seconds thing... nope, they aren't actually 3s. "somehow" they are slightly shorter:

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago... [dnainfo.com]

Next... the "majority" of situations are, technically, illegal... but I'd take a lot more reservation than you do about "dangerous and inconsiderate". Nearly all the violations are right-hand-turn-on-red. It is .... uh... coincidental how many of the RLC-protected intersections have NTOR signs... and very seldom ever do they not. I suppose you could argue this is for "safety", but it is still very coincidental. Most of them are VERY easy intersections, where you can clearly see traffic coming with no complications whatsoever.

The whole RLC deal stinks. The speed cameras are worse. Yes, they may improve safety in some situations. But in the majority, it is a revenue grab.

Re:Pretty obvious (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | about 4 months ago | (#47697763)

You talking 2.9-3 s, most probably just a calibration error. And it's no coincidence that RLC intersections have NTOR signs, if they were the most dangerous ones to begin with.

Offtopic: Messages and Karma Lost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693889)

I have an account on /. that I haven't posted from for months. I checked it a couple of days ago and it had "Good" Karma, as I had remembered. However, today, I see that the newest messages I had posted on it have all disappeared. It now has "Bad" Karma, evidently due to the remaining messages - the last few of which had gotten modded down at the time. Does anybody know what's going on?

Re:Offtopic: Messages and Karma Lost (3, Funny)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 4 months ago | (#47693939)

I'm sure we can rule out posting offtopic as a possibility.

Re:Offtopic: Messages and Karma Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694167)

This brings up an interesting metaphysical point: can one post off-topic if one hasn't posted "for months"? If so, the system here truly is broken.

Re:Offtopic: Messages and Karma Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693953)

Who cares - go away clown

Re:Offtopic: Messages and Karma Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694355)

Good advice - thanks for reminding me why I haven't posted here for months.

Re:Offtopic: Messages and Karma Lost (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 4 months ago | (#47694815)

Well, we really missed all your insightful, on-topic posts in the months you were gone. Thank the lord that you're back here with some more of your erudite posts.

Re:Offtopic: Messages and Karma Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694925)

"Just think of all the fun you'll be missing - you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore."

-- Richard Nixon (paraphrased)

A slapped wrist at best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693899)

This is how the whole country operates. Kickbacks, donations, non-executive but highly paid positions on boards. If you're in a position of power to aid a company, you will be bribed one way or another.

Chicago and corruption. They just go together. (0)

AndyKron (937105) | about 4 months ago | (#47693903)

Chicago and corruption. They just go together.

Re:Chicago and corruption. They just go together. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694283)

As a resident of Arizona, I'd have to say: "Redflex and Corruption. They just go together."

Apologies from Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693909)

As an Australian I sincerely apologise for Redflex, possibly the most embarrassing export from this country.

Re:Apologies from Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693981)

As an Australian I sincerely apologise for Redflex, possibly the most embarrassing export from this country.

Really?! I would think that award would go to Mel Gibson.

Re:Apologies from Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694025)

Especially when he tried to use a Scottish Accent. (Braveheart)

Re:Apologies from Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694085)

Actually, Mel moved to Australia when he was twelve. Born in New York. He's one of yours.

And don't mention Russell - he's from New Zealand.

Re:Apologies from Australia (2)

Amtrak (2430376) | about 4 months ago | (#47694083)

Actually Mel Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York, U.S. according to wikipedia. [wikipedia.org]

He did attend acting school in Australia though so you can blame them for his acting skill.

Re:Apologies from Australia (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | about 4 months ago | (#47694185)

Maybe since Mel Gibson was born in America, of an American father, and lived there until he was 10, he shouldn't really be counted as Australian. On second thought, he's Australian.

Re:Apologies from Australia (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 4 months ago | (#47697099)

Pump your brakes kid, that man is a national treasure.

Re:Apologies from Australia (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 4 months ago | (#47694771)

Don't forget about Rolf Harris and his wandering hands.

Re:Apologies from Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47696085)

No. Fosters. It's Australian for Budweiser.

And all fines were refunded on the company's dime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693921)

Right? Right?

someone doesn't understand the game (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#47693931)

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.

No congress is usually more clever (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 months ago | (#47694395)

What usually happens there is that you get a job with a lobbying firm or their clients when you leave. There is no direct tit for tat, it is just a generally understood thing. They lobby you, you do what they want. When you leave, they'll pay you very well to then go and continue lobbying the next guy. Extremely shady, but not outright illegal.

This sounds like a straight up bribe, which is illegal, money in exchange for a contract.

Chicago's finest (2)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 4 months ago | (#47693935)

The city has an endemic culture of corruption, officials should be treated with skepticism in all affairs.

Used to be Chicago was known as the Windy City (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693975)

But now. Just like any other city. Run by corrupt people.

Corruption in Chicago? What a surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47693991)

And this is where America got her President.

Good going, you idiotic dingbats. I hope you're happy that your 2008 populist emotional outburst is wrecking the entire world.

Re:Corruption in Chicago? What a surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694067)

Go back to Yahoo News Comments where you belong.

Re:Corruption in Chicago? What a surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694131)

Half the Yahoo News stories are straight from the HuffPo page.

Corruption in Chicago? What a surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47697073)

And this is where America got her President.

Good going, you idiotic dingbats. I hope you're happy that your 2008 populist emotional outburst is wrecking the entire world.

Yep. Well, not exactly happy. But happier than I would have been with McCain/Palin or Romney.

Well duh (5, Interesting)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 4 months ago | (#47693999)

Red light cameras have been known to be a cash cow for cities, a way to generate revenue.

And just like for for profit prisons, they have to generate more money each quarter. It's the way of business. Which is why neither should be done on a for profit mode

We've already had examples of shortening yellow light duration to make certain that more people are fined, more profits. This has already caused rear ending crashes to increase as people bitten once jam on the sprags once they see the yellow light. (not to excuse tailgating - it shouldn't be done.

And the amount of revenue generated has to be significant if they consider expensive cars and condos as a cost of doing business.

But after doing things like shortening yellow lights to increase profit, what's next? Hey who knows? Maybe hire a few graphic artists and do matching of redlight cam photos and photoshop license plates on 'em of owners of similar cars.

Technology is awesome! But the shareholders must be served.

Re:Well duh (3, Informative)

Amtrak (2430376) | about 4 months ago | (#47694115)

Oh it's worse than you think. The Chicago Tribune has already caught the city randomly changing the rules of the cameras so that there are occasonal large spikes of tickets generated. The rule changes are things like removing turn on red or changing the speed approached to the light for ticket triggering. The Chicago Tribune's website has a whole section on the ongoing red light issues. [chicagotribune.com] Sorry some of it is pay walled but not all of it.

The US of A (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694293)

One of the best pieces of satire I have ever seen. [youtube.com]

I really think we in the US are heads to Third World status. We have the political and economic base for it and it is increasingly going that way.

Re:Well duh (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47694331)

If they really wanted to help traffic, they would install green light cameras that took pictures of people who sit still well after the light turns green, then post them to a public shame wall.

Re:Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694633)

Red light cameras are easily defeated: don't drive over the posted limit.

Re:Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695195)

What the hell does the speed limit have to do with red light cameras?

Re:Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47697069)

If you're not speeding you'll have plenty of time to stop.

Re:Well duh (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 months ago | (#47695663)

You are going to pay my fines, right?

I took you advice and drove a little below the posted limit, while driving straight through all the red lights. I now have a dozen tickets for going through those red lights!

Settle for 1M. No harm done (1)

Maxwell (13985) | about 4 months ago | (#47694063)

They settle out of court for 1M, he'll get to keep the car named condo and nothing will come of it. The city needs the revenue too badly to take the cameras down. Remember kids, white collar crime *does* pay!

Re:Settle for 1M. No harm done (1)

KamikazeSquid (3611985) | about 4 months ago | (#47696887)

This is a federal indictment of criminal charges, not a civil case that can be settled out of court for a cash payment. Everyone involved could get up to 20 years in a federal prison, if convicted.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694105)

a friend of Bills was hired as a contractor

That's what they get for hiring an alcoholic.

lol (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#47695447)

Lol.

Shocked I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694249)

A red light camera company employee accused of fraud?

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

corruption in Chicago: film at 11 (every night) (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 4 months ago | (#47694833)

What's really news is that corruption in Chicago makes the news.

Re:corruption in Chicago: film at 11 (every night) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695657)

While I generally agree with your statement; you are an outsider.

CBS, NBC & ABC have local news at 10PM, FOX & WGN are at 9PM CST.

Sigh (3, Insightful)

maliqua (1316471) | about 4 months ago | (#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

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695731)

Particularly when its politicians or police being sentenced, they should always receive maximum penalties for abusing the power they're given. perhaps it will help to reduce corruption if they know they will always get the worst available

Re:Sigh (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47696619)

Presumptive sentencing.

Here's Arizona's example chart - other states are similar.

http://www.azleg.state.az.us/a... [state.az.us]

A class 2 felony (rape, arson, and other terrible non-murder activities) has a scary "Maximum Sentence" of 10 years, and an aggravated sentence of 12.5 years. The presumptive sentence is half that. Fraud here is a Class-3 felony, so it has a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years.

I believe the argument that says being a public official (legislature, law enforcement, etc.) should count as an aggravating factor (not a mitigating one!), but you're right, the news never comes on and says:

Important person was arrested for drunk driving today, they could face up to 8 hours in a holding cell and a trip to a private rehab facility where they will receive daily spa treatments, but will be denied bloody marys at breakfast.

In Chicago, they'll drag it out forever, and someone else that they hold leverage over will accept a plea to a much, much lower crime, which will result in, at best, probation and public (and pointless) firing. Redflex will then keep them employed as a "consultant."

Cocks.

This is nothing new in the way of problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695105)

You want to look at a police force? Look who gets promotions. It's not those who don't have crime to deal with. It's those who do deal with crime, who make big arrests and get the headlines.

The police officers who have quiet communities, who don't have incidents that draw attention? Nothing.

Nobody appreciates the people who make sure there aren't bumpy roads or squeaky wheels.

Heck, when was the last time Linus Torvalds got attention on Slashdot? Was it thanking somebody for their contribution, or was it yelling at some damnfool?

Pics of hookers with Chicago politicians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695237)

Come on now, that was a reasonable expectation from TFH.

Roooox---annnne

Avoid red light camera intersections. Dangerous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695325)

I avoid all red light camera intersections because it's a dead giveaway that it's a dangerous intersection and they didn't bother to fix it.

Q: "Hey, this intersection is dangerous. What can we do about it?"

A: Engineer it so it's safer.
B: Let's take pictures!
C: Profit!
D: B! & C!

Thank god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695483)

I knew it was bullshit from the start. It's just a racket to make money for the company and the city, with innocent motorists getting fucked.

Re:Thank god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47696891)

And a bunch of uppity-christian-like folks all thought you were just negative and childish.

Then the truth comes out and you were right.

Now those same people act like it was obvious all along and roll with it. (Weren't you telling us to be more positive like we were wrong?)

Wait, you're surprised? (1)

TheEmpyrean (788742) | about 4 months ago | (#47696319)

Well duh, this is Chicago. Did you expect different?

The only honest politicians we have here are the ones who at least have the decency to stay bought.

Re:Wait, you're surprised? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 4 months ago | (#47697001)

The only honest politicians we have here are the ones who at least have the decency to stay bought.

Yes, and as long as that's your attitude, nothing is ever going to change. Start enforcing the laws that are supposed to prevent this type of thing and stop voting for corrupt, machine politicians because right now, you're getting exactly the kind of government you're voting for.

Re:Wait, you're surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47697927)

We try. Good gods we try. But our cries fall on willfully deaf ears, and any LEGAL recourse we have is manned by those same corrupt people.

But this is the first (and one of rare times) where someone not only gets caught but might actually go to jail for it, as opposed to "an investigation" or "a committee" where everything gets swept under the rug.

Until heads roll a bit more literally, this is as good as we can get.

Re:Wait, you're surprised? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 4 months ago | (#47698071)

We try. Good gods we try.

Yes, I'm sure that some of you do. Alas, not enough.

I live in LA, where there are lots and lots of police scandals. Why? Not because our police are so bad, but because we don't put up with police misconduct or sweep it under the rug. Almost all of the scandals out here would be ignored in New York or regarded as "business as usual." Stop putting up with the corruption, get the voters to care enough to vote the crooks out of office and keep them out, and Chicago will clean itself up because it won't happen on its own.

Re:Wait, you're surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47698535)

You mean to say no Chicago politicians ever die?

It's not about the money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47697267)

It's about public safety! If you don't run red lights, you have nothing to worry about!

 

...Just keep telling yourself that.

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