CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Police officer was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday for insurance fraud by staging an accident and soliciting payoffs from a towing company in exchange for steering it accident business.
He’s one of nearly a dozen officers charged or already convicted in the towing scandal first exposed by CBS 2’s Pam Zekman.
Altogether, Gregory Garibay pleaded guilty to making more than $3,000 from the schemes a federal prosecutor described as “portraying deep seated corruption.”
“He used his power in the street to line his own pickets,” the prosecutor said.
After leaving court Zekman tried to ask Garibay why he demanded the money, but he did not answer. In court Garibay explained to Judge John Grady that he was “going through a difficult time” in his life when all this happened and “I got lost.” He said he made a mistake he now regrets.
Before sentencing Judge John Grady noted that Garibay had received many commendations during his 19 years as a police officer. But he also said that because “police have unlimited opportunities to shake people down,” prison time is needed in cases like this as a deterrent for other police officers.