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Former Chicago cop pleads guilty to extortion in towing scam, selling weapons to felon

Ali Haleem Chicago Police officer used his skills as an undercover narcotics officer serve as an informant for feds corrupticases.

Ali Haleem, a Chicago Police officer, used his skills as an undercover narcotics officer to serve as an informant for feds in corruption cases.

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Updated: May 24, 2013 6:25AM

A former Chicago police officer working as an informant for federal investigators in a wide-ranging political corruption probe pleaded guilty Monday to charges he extorted a tow truck driver and sold firearms to a convicted felon.

Ali Haleem, 46, of Chicago, was charged with one count of extortion and two counts of selling a firearm to a felon in January following a federal investigation into allegations of bribery and extortion involving tow truck drivers hired to remove disabled cars.

He is the 11th Chicago police officer to be charged since 2008 in the federal “Operation Tow Scam.” Charges are still pending against an additional three officers.

Haleem entered his plea before Judge John Z. Lee in U.S. District Court in Chicago, admitting he sold three firearms to the same tow truck driver he accepted bribes from, knowing the driver was a convicted felon.

The Sun-Times previously reported that Haleem’s cooperation with federal investigators, which involved wearing a wire, lead to corruption charges for nine defendants, including a former campaign treasurer for state Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago). Seven of the defendants are charged with taking kickbacks in exchange for government grant funds, and two are charged with taking bribes to fix property-tax appeal cases. Haleem became an informant after he was approached by federal investigators in 2008 and was subsequently placed on desk duty for the Chicago Police until his resignation from the department in September.

Under the plea deal, Haleem faces up to 40 years in prison, a fine of up to $750,000, a period of supervision following release, fees related to his court costs and restitution for money he received during the investigation. He waived his right to appeal or withdraw the plea, and will forfeit the three firearms he sold to the driver.

Haleem agreed to delay his sentencing until he has completed his cooperation in the federal corruption investigations as part of his plea deal. He will be sentenced on Oct. 18.

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