11/11/2016Judge Adds $2 Million Fine To Corrupt Camera Executive Sentence
Federal judge doubles prison time for Redflex executive found guilty of red light camera corruption in Chicago, Illinois.
The former head of US operations for Redflex Traffic Systems will spend an extra year in jail and pay a $2 million fine for red light camera bribery in Chicago, Illinois. On Thursday, US District Judge Virginia M. Kendall more than doubled the fourteen month sentence another federal judge had given to Karen Finley last month for bribing politicians in Ohio.
Finley's deal with federal prosecutors limited the maximum time she could spend behind bars to no more than five years, with all prison time served concurrently. As a result, her total sentence is now thirty months and a fine equal to ten percent of her annual income for the rest of her life. The first payment for the fine is $35,000.
Finley was well paid during her tenure at the Australian camera vendor, typically pocketing $500,000 in annual salary and benefits. Despite this, Finley told the court that her "difficult boss and co-workers" forced her to hit the bottle and take Wellbutrin for depression.
"Now, instead of celebrating her years of hard work with the prospect of a well-earned and comfortable retirement, Karen, at age 57, is going to jail and facing financial ruin," Finley attorney Jacqueline S. Jacobson wrote to the court. "Unemployed since the indictment two years ago, Karen even lost a minimum wage job at a bakery after her employer read about her case in the paper."
Prosecutors were grateful for Finley's willingness to testify against her colleagues, but they also wanted the punishment to be severe enough to send a message that the conduct at Redflex was unacceptable.
"As a senior executive of a company that chose to compete for city business in Chicago, Finley and others at Redflex chose to play dirty," US Attorney Zachary T. Fardon wrote. "Because of the power of her position, and her failure to use that position to eliminate the corruption that was taking place, Finley played a more integral role in the conspiracy than O'Malley, the bagman, who agreed to Bills's offer to participate in the conspiracy when he was in desperate financial straits."
Finley argued for leniency, saying she had been goaded into the offense by her boss, Bruce Higgins, and Redflex Executive Vice President Aaron M. Rosenberg. Higgins is an Australian who has never been charged, and Rosenberg received a full immunity deal from prosecutors.
"Karen's very public journey through the criminal justice system will serve as a cautionary tale to others," Jacobson wrote.