6/9/2015Redflex Chief Expected To Plead Guilty To Bribery
Former head of US operations for Redflex Traffic Systems to change her plea in Chicago, Illinois bribery case to guilty.
The former head of US operations for Redflex Traffic Systems is expected to plead guilty to federal bribery charges. During a status hearing Monday in the Chicago, Illinois federal courthouse, lawyers for Karen Finley told US District Judge Virginia M. Kendall that their client intended to change her previously entered "not guilty" plea at a hearing scheduled for August 11 at 9:45am.
Last August, federal prosecutors charged Finley with nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, three counts of federal program bribery, and one count of conspiracy in connection with attempts to influence Chicago officials to expand the highly lucrative red light camera contract with the Australian firm. If Finley was offered a plea bargain similar to the one that bribery bag-man Martin O'Malley accepted in December, she will concede to a single count of bribery to avoid a trial.
"Defendant will plead guilty because he is in fact guilty of the charge contained in the indictment," O'Malley admitted in his December plea agreement. "Beginning in at least January 2003... defendant O'Malley did conspire with John Bills, Karen Finley, Individuals A and B, and others to corruptly solicit and demand... cash payments and other personal financial benefits for the benefit of Bills and O'Malley intending that Bills, an agent of the city of Chicago... be influenced and rewarded in connection with... the digital automated red light enforcement program."
Finley was under extreme pressure to cut a deal with prosecutors, considering her former lieutenant, Redflex Executive Vice President Aaron M. Rosenberg, has already admitted that he bribed public officials in a dozen states on Finley's orders. Rosenberg has been providing evidence, possibly even audio tapes, as "confidential source 1." According to court documents, recordings of several key conversations involving individuals tied up in the bribery controversy are in the hands of the US attorney's office. Finley and her attorneys have had several months to review the weight of evidence against her.
"With respect to the persons the government intends to call in its case-in-chief, most, if not all, such material that currently exists has already been turned over to defendant, even though the government has no obligation to provide any such information prior to trial," Assistant US Attorney Carrie Hamilton explained to the court in January. "The government has already produced the grand jury statements of witnesses the government believes at this time will be called at trial in the government's case-in-chief."
By taking his plea deal, O'Malley limited his potential time behind bars to five years, plus a $250,00 fine and other restitution of at least $100,000. Finley's trial before a jury was to begin on October 26.
This is not the first instance of red light camera bribery. Shawn Brown, then-mayor of St. Peters, Missouri, was convicted for soliciting bribes from Redflex in 2006. Brown was released from prison in 2008. Jay Morris Specter, a salesman for Redflex, was released from federal prison in 2010 after serving time on fraud charges related to a previous business deal.