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Press Release

Former City of Harvey Employee Found Guilty on Five Counts of Facilitating Bribery

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

CHICAGO — A federal jury in Chicago has found a former building inspector for the City of Harvey guilty on five counts of using a facility of interstate commerce (a cell phone) to facilitate violations of the Illinois state bribery statute.

Evidence at trial revealed that between February to April of 2018, Lester Crowder, 73, of Ohio met nine times with an individual who said he was looking to open a nightclub in Harvey.  In those meetings, Crowder communicated that the individual would need to pay up to $50,000 in cash bribes in order to obtain the nightclub property and obtain the necessary permits.  Crowder collected approximately $13,000 in bribe payments from the individual, who was cooperating with the FBI and recording their conversations.  During the same time, Crowder was captured on court-authorized recordings communicating with another individual confirming their intent to take bribes.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled before the Honorable Martha Pacold.  Each count could carry a sentence of up to five years in federal prison. 

The conviction was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert W. Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Machelle L. Jindra, Special Agent in Charge of the Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Franzblau and Megan DeMarco.

Updated February 28, 2023

Public Corruption