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Chicago police officer indicted in towing investigation

Updated: November 16, 2012 12:56PM

A former Chicago police officer schemed to defraud two insurance companies by making a false police report of an actual accident and by also staging another accident, according to a federal indictment announced Friday.

Gregory Garibay is the 10th Chicago cop to be charged in the FBI’s Operation Tow Scam. So far, seven officers and three civilians, including two truck drivers, have been convicted, and charges are pending against two other officers in addition to Garibay.

In both instances, Garibay obtained extortion payments totaling $2,200 from a cooperating tow truck driver, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.

Garibay was assigned to the South Chicago District at the time and was relieved of his police powers following the alleged crimes in late 2007 and early 2008, according to federal prosecutors.

Garibay, 44, of Chicago, an officer for about 18 years, was charged with seven counts of mail fraud and two counts of attempted extortion in an indictment returned Thursday by a federal grand jury. The indictment seeks forfeiture of $2,200. Garibay will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court.

He allegedly obtained extortion payments — $200 and $2,000 — from the cooperating tow truck driver in January 2008, violating several Chicago Police Department rules and orders, prosecutors said.

In one instance, Garibay is accused of filing a police report saying a fully insured driver was at fault in a collision because the other driver had only liability insurance so the fully insured driver’s carrier would pay for damages and cover the towing fees from the cooperating driver.

Each count of attempted extortion and mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, with restitution mandatory.

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