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Ex-suburban mayor pleads guilty in red-light camera scandal

May 23, 2022 GMT

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (AP) — A former suburban Chicago mayor pleaded guilty Monday to taking kickbacks to support the use of red-light cameras in his community.

Tony Ragucci, who resigned in 2020, admitted to getting $88,000 when he was leading Oakbrook Terrace. He pleaded guilty to fraud and tax crimes.

It’s the latest conviction related to how SafeSpeed LLC dealt with some Chicago-area communities that installed cameras to record traffic violations.

SafeSpeed said it didn’t authorize payoffs and that any kickbacks were part of a scheme by people who are no longer associated with the company.

In April, Louis Presta, who was mayor of Crestwood, was sentenced to a year in prison for accepting $5,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Durkin said Ragucci is cooperating with investigators, assistance that could help him when he gets a sentence. He was a police officer before being elected mayor in 2009.

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Oakbrook Terrace’s red-light cameras produced nearly $17 million in revenue from 2017 to April 2021, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Ragucci had defended the cameras as a way to encourage safe driving.