Former Chicago Police Officer Charged With Attempted Extortion Of Tow Truck Driver And Selling Guns To Felon
CHICAGO — A former Chicago police officer was charged today with attempting to extort a cash bribe to steer business to a tow truck owner and also with selling three firearms to the same towing operator, who is also a convicted felon. The defendant, ALI HALEEM, was charged as part of Operation Tow Scam, a federal investigation of past bribery and extortion involving police officers and towing operators in several Chicago police districts.
Haleem is the 11th Chicago police officer to be charged in the corruption probe since 2008. So far, seven officers and three civilians, including two tow truck drivers, have been convicted. Charges are pending against three other officers who were charged last fall.
Haleem, 45, of Chicago, a police officer from 1994 to 2012, was assigned to the 8th District, also known as Chicago Lawn. He was assigned to desk duty after being confronted by law enforcement authorities in 2008 until he resigned last September. He was charged with one count of attempted extortion and two counts of selling firearms to a convicted felon in a criminal information that was filed today. No date has been set yet for his arraignment in U.S. District Court.
The charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Garry McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.
According to the charges, between March 13 and 20, 2008, Haleem attempted to extort Individual A, who owned a towing business, and who unbeknownst to Haleem was cooperating with law enforcement at the time.
On Dec. 11, 2007, Haleem allegedly sold a .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol and a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol to Individual A, knowing that Individual A was a convicted felon. On March 13, 2008, Haleem allegedly sold a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol to Individual A, knowing that Individual A was a convicted felon. The indictment seeks forfeiture of the three firearms.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Donovan.
Attempted extortion carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while each count of delivering a firearm to a convicted felon carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, and all three counts carry a $250,000 maximum fine. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that the charges are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.