Cop-turned-snitch is 11th Chicago officer charged in tow-truck scam
BY FRANK MAIN AND DAN MIHALOPOULOS Staff Reporters January 28, 2013 8:14PM
Ali Haleem, a Chicago Police officer, used his skills as an undercover narcotics officer to serve as an informant for feds in corruption cases.
Updated: March 2, 2013 6:32AM
An informant helped authorities bust a Chicago Police officer in a tow-truck scandal in 2008, federal prosecutors said Monday.
But instead of facing charges right away, Officer Ali Haleem stayed on the police department and became a snitch himself, court records show.
Haleem was a key informant for authorities before they brought bribery cases against nine people, including political workers for state Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago), according to records and sources.
On Monday, it was Haleem’s turn.
The U.S. attorney’s office charged Haleem with attempted extortion and selling firearms to a convicted felon.
He’s accused of trying to extort a bribe from a tow-truck owner in exchange for steering towing business to the owner in 2008.
And between 2007 and 2008, he allegedly sold three handguns to the tow-truck owner, who was prohibited from possessing firearms because he’s a convicted felon.
Prosecutors said the tow-truck owner cooperated with the government in their case against Haleem.
Haleem, 45, is the 11th Chicago Police officer charged in Operation Tow Scam, a federal probe of bribery and extortion involving cops and towing operators in Chicago. Seven police officers have been convicted.
Haleem, the self-proclaimed “Mayor of 63rd Street,” became an officer in 1994. He was lauded for helping build trust between the Southwest Side’s Arab community and the police department.
Haleem, who worked in the Chicago Lawn District, also offered his expertise to the FBI’s anti-terrorism efforts after 9/11, the Sun-Times reported at the time.
But, after he was confronted about the tow-truck probe in 2008, Haleem wore a wire to produce evidence that prosecutors used last year to charge nine corruption defendants — including Hendon’s former campaign treasurer, according to records and sources. Seven of those defendants are accused of giving illegal kickbacks for government grants.
In a separate case, two men are accused of taking bribes to fix property-tax appeals cases while they worked for Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers Jr. Hendon and Rogers haven’t been charged with any wrongdoing.
The Chicago Sun-Times revealed Haleem’s role as an informant in August. He resigned from the police department the following month, records show.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison on the gun charge and 20 years on the attempted extortion charge. But a stiff prison term is unlikely because he cooperated with the government as an informant.