Ex-deputy gets one month sentence for stealing while evicting tenants
by KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter August 29, 2013 3:54PM
Updated: October 1, 2013 6:28AM
A light-fingered Cook County Sheriff’s deputy who stole from poor tenants he was evicting was sentenced to a month behind bars Thursday by a judge who told him he was “lucky” he wouldn’t do more time.
Sam Spino, 36, did “a terrible thing” when he targeted “people who have quite enough troubles in life,” Judge James Zagel said.
The former deputy was dogged for six years with allegations of wrongdoing. Whenever he went into a home to evict tenants, things allegedly went missing — including video games, a video camera and a $5,000 watch.
The allegations were hard to prove, but when the sheriff’s department reached out to the FBI last year, it set up a sting.
Spino, of Melrose Park, was caught on a hidden camera helping himself to $1,100 in rolled up bills that agents had stashed inside a glass in a home Spino was evicting tenants from.
He pleaded guilty earlier this year and on Thursday tearfully told Zagel that he was sorry. “It’s embarrassing for me, for my family, for everyone,” Spino said.
Spino, who could have faced up to six months in prison, asked to be sentenced to probation.
But Zagel told him that the one month sentence he imposed was “probably less than you deserve,” noting that Spino’s crime was all the worse because he’d used his position in law enforcement to commit it.
The judge said Spino only got the shorter sentence because he’s tried to turn his life around since his arrest.