Federal Red Light Scam Probe Heats Up – Coming to a City Near You

The dominos started to tumble in Chicago and Texas was named by the former employee at the center of this maelstrom as a state where these bribes took place. Wonder how long before the Justice Department looks this way?

Retired Chicago official charged with graft over red light cameras.

(Reuters) – A retired Chicago official who once ran the city’s red light camera program was charged with graft on Wednesday on suspicion of taking bribes in return for contracts worth $124 million for cameras used to catch motorists running stop lights.

John Bills, 52, was charged with one count of bribery in U.S. District Court for allegedly steering city contracts for 384 cameras and other services to Redflex Traffic Systems, the U.S. Department of Justice in Chicago said in a statement.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Bills’ attorney, Nishay Sanan, said the veteran former city official was being used as a scapegoat by prosecutors who sought to implicate others in the scheme.

Redflex said it has been cooperating with authorities.

“Last year, we publicly released the findings of our internal investigation into the conduct of several former employees and announced new leadership, new policies and a line between our past and today’s Redflex,” it said in a statement.

Bills managed the red light camera program until he retired in 2011 after working for the city for 32 years, according to prosecutors.

An unnamed individual at Reflex was said to have funneled more than $643,000 in cash to Bills between 2006 and 2011, according to the complaint, which said he spent the money for travel, a luxury car and to pay off loans.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for an investigation of Redflex in 2012 before the city cut ties with the company, according to the Tribune.

As a follow up to this article, I’d like to add that a whistleblower blew the lid off this thing in 2010 and Redflex had its own internal investigation which, of course, showed no bribery had taken place.  Only after the Chicago Tribune did some digging in 2012 did they finally admit to the scam after a second internal investigation and on the eve of the city being forced to recognize the fraud.

We can win. Information is our ammunition. Our voices are our weapons. I am continuing to request more from our city each day regarding their dealings with this scandalous company. Whether through recognition that these laws are unconstitutional or that the people behind them are money hungry criminals, these cameras will come down.

Text of Redflex Internal Investigation


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