Former CEO Sentenced for Bribery and Fraud Scheme Involving Red Light Camera Contracts in Ohio
A former CEO of a traffic light enforcement camera vendor was sentenced today to 14 months in prison for her role in a multi-year bribery and fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio and Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office.
Karen L. Finley, 57, of Cave Creek, Arizona, was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson of the Southern District of Ohio. She pleaded guilty on June 19, 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and honest services wire and mail fraud. Finley cooperated with the government’s investigation against John Raphael, an Ohio lobbyist, who pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Hobbs Act for his involvement in the scheme. On June 8, 2016, Raphael was sentenced to serve 15 months in prison.
From December 2005 to February 2013, Finley served as CEO of a red light camera enforcement company. During this time, she participated in a scheme in which the company made campaign contributions to elected public officials in the cities of Columbus, Ohio, and Cincinnati through Raphael, a consultant retained by the company. Finley and others, including another executive of the company, agreed to provide the conduit campaign contributions through Raphael with the understanding that the elected public officials would assist the company in obtaining or retaining municipal contracts, including a red light camera enforcement contract with the city of Columbus. Finley also admitted that she and her co-conspirators concealed the true nature and source of the payments by Raphael and the company’s payment of false invoices for “consulting services,” which funds Raphael then provided to the campaigns of the elected public officials.
The FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office, Columbus Resident Agency, investigated the case with the assistance of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorney Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous of the Southern District of Ohio prosecuted the case.