CHICAGO (CBS) — A 10th Chicago police officer has been indicted in the FBI’s ongoing investigation of a scheme in which tow truck operators were paying bribes to cops who steered them work.
CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman first exposed how tow truck drivers were paying off cops who arranged for them to tow away cars damaged in traffic accidents.READ MORE: Simeon Career Academy Student Jamari Williams Shot And Killed Just Blocks From School
Gregory Garibay, an 18-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, was charged Friday with mail fraud and attempted extortion.
He’s accused of scheming to defraud insurance companies by filing a false accident report in one accident, staging another accident, and taking $2,200 in extortion payments from a tow truck operator who was cooperating with the FBI.
The tow truck operator said in an exclusive interview how he inflated towing, storage, and other fees charged to accident victims; in order to cover the cost of corruption.
“We had to pay the cops in order to get the tows; $400 or more a car,” he said.READ MORE: 'Teach To One 360' Software Program Revolutionizes Math Class At Northwest Side Elementary School
The FBI’s “Operation Tow Scam” also uncovered evidence of some cops staging accidents to make more money. All it took in those cases was finding a couple damaged cars, bringing in a crooked insurance adjustor, and filing a falsified police report.
Staged accidents cost more.
“They’d come there, write the report, pay them some money right there on the spot – $2,000, $3,000 – and that was it,” the tow truck operator said.
Garibay, 44, has been stripped of his police powers. If convicted, he’d face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: High Waves, Dangerous Conditions Along Lakefront
The federal probe already has led to convictions of seven police officers, two tow truck drivers, and one other person.