East St. Louis Tow Truck Operator Charged with Theft of Government Property, Making False Statements to the F.B.I. and Making False Declarations Before a Federal Grand Jury
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Eddie Johnson, Jr., 46, of Cahokia, IL, was indicted by a federal grand jury. The three count Indictment charges theft or conversion of government property, making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer, and making a false declaration before a federal grand jury. The Indictment alleges that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the course of investigating allegations of potential corruption in the City of East St. Louis, conducted an integrity test where federal agents placed diamond earrings, a purse, a debit card, and other valuables in a vehicle which appeared to be an abandoned stolen vehicle. Audio and video surveillance was in place around the vehicle. The Indictment alleges that on February 12, 2011, Johnson responded to the location following a call from the East St. Louis Police Department to a towing company. The Indictment further alleges that Johnson stole the diamond earrings and other valuables and that Johnson made false statements to the FBI and to a federal grand jury in the investigation of the theft. If convicted, Johnson faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years’ supervised release on these charges.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Smith.
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, that charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.