Cops: Cicero Men Collected ‘Fines’ For False Zoning Violations
UPDATED 05/18/11 6:48 p.m.
MAYWOOD, Ill. (STMW) — Two men, including a former town employee, are charged with mailing false zoning citations to Cicero residents, then collecting “fines” and keeping the money for themselves.
Cicero police on Friday arrested Eduardo Gonzales, 34, and Ramiro Rosales, 68, who were charged with running the scheme using official town documents obtained by Rosales, a former Cicero Building Department inspector who was fired after his arrest, according to town spokesman Ray Hanania.
Rosales was charged with one count of officials misconduct. He is being held in the Cook County Jail on a $25,000 bond. Gonzales was charged with three counts of bribery and three counts of false impersonation of a public official, Hanania said. Court information was not immediately available.
Using documents that appeared to be official town citations, the suspects would mail false building code violation notices to homeowners, Hanania said. One of them would then go to the victim’s property and attempt to collect the “fine.”
The suspects used real town ticket booths, but retained the receipts and cash for themselves, did not report the payments and then destroyed the receipt books, he said.
It was not clear how long the scheme had been going on or how much money was collected. Two homeowners called police and one of them had been fined about $200, Hanania said.
“We suspect there are further victims out there and possibly thousands of dollars collected,” he said.
Two of the victims contacted Cicero police and an undercover sting operation was initiated by police and the town Inspector General’s office on May 12. The sting caught the men in the act of soliciting fines for false violations, and resulted in the arrests, Hanania said.
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