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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts U.S. Customs Agent of Stealing Cash from Overseas Passenger at O’Hare Airport Screening Station

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal jury has convicted a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent of pocketing $5,000 in cash from an overseas passenger at a screening station of O’Hare International Airport.

SALVATORE PICARDI took the cash on Feb. 22, 2016, after the female passenger had arrived at O’Hare on a flight from China. The woman noticed her money was missing when the customs inspection ended and she was allowed to leave. As other officers began searching for the money, Picardi tried to avoid detection by stuffing the cash into a jacket belonging to the woman and claiming he had discovered it.

The jacket, however, had been searched multiple times before Picardi’s purported discovery.

Picardi, 38, of Park Ridge, was convicted of one count of embezzlement by a federal officer under color of law. The jury returned its verdict on Wednesday after a three-day trial in the Chicago courtroom of U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin.

The conviction was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Armando Lopez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) Chicago Field Office; and Aaron Poyer, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Office of Professional Responsibility (CBP-OPR).

The conviction is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Judge Durkin scheduled a sentencing hearing for Dec. 12, 2017, at 12:00 p.m.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laurie J. Barsella and Lindsay C. Jenkins.

Updated September 14, 2017

Public Corruption