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Chicago cops arrested, charged in tow truck bribery probe

Updated: October 27, 2012 12:07AM

Two Chicago Police officers who allegedly sought and received extortion payments from tow truck drivers became the sixth and seventh cops busted in the federal Operation Tow Scam on Friday.

Deavalin Page, 46, a 19-year veteran officer, was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of attempted extortion, according to federal prosecutors. In a separate indictment, Francis Zoller, 43, a 17-year veteran, was charged with one count each of attempted extortion and mail fraud.

Both were assigned to the South Chicago District at the time of the alleged crimes, from 2007 through 2008, and both have been relieved of their police powers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. They remain free on $10,000 recognizance bonds.

The indictments were returned Thursday by a federal grand jury as part of the FBI’s Operation Tow Scam, in which seven Chicago police officers and three civilians, including two truck drivers, have been convicted so far, according to prosecutors.

The indictment claims Page took bribes from a tow truck driver cooperating with authorities in November 2007 and January 2008, while Zoller received an extortion payment in January 2008.

Zoller is also charged with creating a false police report in order for the vehicle’s owner to make an insurance claim for an accident that never happened. The indictment claims Zoller accepted $2,000 from the cooperating tow truck driver for his role in the scheme.

Each officer faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. Restitution is mandatory and the indictment seeks $4,000 from Zoller and $3,200 from Page.

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