FORMER MIDWAY AIRPORT CUSTOMS OFFICER INDICTED FOR
ALLEGEDLY RECEIVING $52,000 IN BRIBES FROM RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES
CHICAGO — A former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervisor at Midway International Airport will be arraigned this week on federal charges alleging that he received bribes totaling approximately $52,000 to allow foreign employees of three restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs and their spouses to extend their stays in the United States. William Mann, a former CBP supervising officer at Midway, allegedly received approximately $700 to $2,000 per person from more than 30 restaurant employees and their spouses to alter a law enforcement database and provide false immigration and travel documents showing that the restaurant workers and their spouses had just entered the United States and were eligible to legally stay in the country for another year. Rogerio Charu, part owner and general manager of the former restaurants in Chicago, Downers Grove and Schaumburg, was charged with Mann, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced today.
Mann, 50, of Munster, Ind., is scheduled to be arraigned at 10 a.m. Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez in U.S. District Court. He was charged with one count of conspiracy, three counts of bribery, and three counts of immigration fraud in a seven-count indictment that was unsealed last week after being returned by a federal grand jury on May 20.
Charu, whose last know residence was in Downers Grove and is currently believed to be in Brazil, was charged with conspiracy and aiding and abetting the remaining six counts against Mann. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $52,000 from Mann, representing the alleged bribes he received from the restaurant employees.
The indictment alleges that when Mann accepted the money in the spring of 2005, the employees and their spouses either already were required to leave the country or soon would be required to do so.
“Public employees serve the public and not themselves. This is especially true for those law enforcement officers who are responsible for our customs and border security. We will investigate and prosecute any persons shown to have compromised that security, whether by paying or taking bribes,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.
“The Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, will relentlessly pursue allegations of criminal misconduct concerning DHS employees to protect the integrity of the department and to ensure that the public trust is maintained,” said Armando Lopez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the DHS Office of Inspector General in Chicago.
Terence S. Opiola, Special Agent-in-Charge of the DHS/ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, Northeast, said: “A government official who accepts cash to issue immigration documents represents a serious breach of authority. We are pleased that with our partners at DHSOIG we have exposed this alleged violation of the public trust.”
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Grohman.
Mann and Charu each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy count. The three counts of bribery and aiding and abetting bribery each carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and each of the three counts of immigration fraud and aiding and abetting immigration fraud carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, and all seven counts carry a $250,000 maximum fine. Upon conviction, however, the Court would determine the appropriate sentence to be imposed under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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