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Former Chicago Police Officer Arrested for Extortion as Part of Ongoing Towing Probe

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Former Chicago Police Officer Arrested for Extortion as Part of Ongoing Towing Probe

FBI Chicago Division
January 28, 2009

Special Agent Joan Hyde (312) 829-1199

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was joined today by Jody P. Weis, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD); Al Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, in announcing the arrest of a former Chicago Police Officer in connection with the ongoing “Tow Scam” investigation.

JIMMIE L. AKINS, age 41, of Chicago, was taken into custody this morning, without incident, by FBI and IRS Special Agents and CPD Internal Affairs Investigators at his residence. AKINS resigned from the CPD in November of 2007 after nine years of service. AKINS was most recently assigned to the 18 th District, located at 1160 North Larrabee Avenue, where he was a uniformed patrol officer.

AKINS was charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago with multiple counts of extortion, which is a felony offense. The complaint alleges that from March of 2006 until April of 2007, AKINS solicited and accepted bribe payments from a tow truck driver in return for that driver receiving preferential treatment from AKINS at accident scenes within the City of Chicago.

The 5-year investigation leading to the charges announced today, code named “Operation Tow Scam,” has been a joint effort by the FBI, IRS and CPD Internal Affairs Division, which is investigating allegations that CPD Officers were soliciting bribes and extorting cash and other payments from tow truck operators throughout the City of Chicago. This investigation, which is still ongoing, has thus far resulted in criminal charges being filed against six (6) individuals, including AKINS, four of whom were active duty CPD Officers at the time the alleged crimes were committed.

In announcing today’s arrest, Mr. Grant said, “Resigning from active duty, as Officer Akins did, will not deter our efforts to uncover and prosecute wrongdoing by public servants. We take our oath to serve the public seriously and expect all of those who enforce the laws to do the same.”

Superintendent Weis added, “I expect all of our police officers to uphold the law. When one fails to do so, we are all forced to work even harder to repair the damage and restore the community’s trust. The actions of one officer should not tarnish the star of those who serve with honor and distinction every day.”

AKINS is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow in Chicago at 2:00 P.M., at which time he will be formally charged. If convicted of the charges filed against him, AKINS faces a possible sentence of up to twenty (20) years incarceration.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Copies of the criminal complaint filed in this case are available from the Chicago FBI’s press office at (312) 829-1199.

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