Nov. 16--A Chicago police officer is accused of staging an accident involving two cars in return for $2,000 from a tow truck driver who hauled away the wreckage and billed an insurance company.
Gregory Garibay is also charged with falsifying a police report on a real accident, wrongly listing the driver with the best insurance coverage as at fault so the tow truck driver would be better compensated.
The scams occurred in late 2007 and early 2008 while Garibay was assigned to the South Chicago District. He was relieved of his police powers following the alleged crimes, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Garibay, 44, an 18-year veteran of the department, 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 also seeks forfeiture of the $2,200.
Prosecutors said the indictment was part of the FBI's Operation Tow Scam. So far, seven officers and three civilians, including two truck drivers, have been convicted. Charges are pending against two officers who were recently charged, in addition to Garibay.
Garibay allegedly filed a false police reporting stating that the driver of Toyota Avalon, who had full insurance coverage, was at fault in an accident with the driver of a Toyota Camry, who had only liability insurance coverage, according to the indictment.
Garibay filed the false report so the full insurance coverage would pay for part or all of the damage caused by the accident, including covering the towing fees, prosecutors said. The tow truck driver later paid Garibay $200, they said.
In another instance, Garibay participated in a staged accident so another insurance company would pay for damages, including the towing fees for the tow truck driver's company, according to the indictment. Garibay iis accused of accepting a $2,000 cash payment from the tow driver from the insurance pay-out.
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