CHICAGO (CBS) — The final defendant has been sentenced in a towing scam that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars for crooked police officers.
Former Chicago police officer Francis Zoller was sentenced to a year in prison Wednesday, after pleading guilty to fraud and extortion last year.
Zoller was charged with participating in an insurance fraud scheme involving a staged accident, in which he accepted a $2,000 bribe from a tow truck driver who was cooperating with the FBI, after creating a false police report about an accident that never happened, so the driver could bill an insurance company.
He was the last defendant sentenced in connection to the FBI’s “Operation Tow Scam,” which targeted 11 police officers and four tow truck drivers.
The officers were accused of shaking down tow truck drivers for bribes, so the officers would steer towing jobs to those drivers.
In some cases, like Zoller’s, cops staged accidents, brought in crooked insurance adjustors, and filed false police reports in exchange for payoffs from tow truck drivers who billed insurance companies for towing away the purportedly damaged vehicles.
Ten officers pleaded guilty in the scheme. One was convicted at trial.