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Police chief pleads in bribery/prostitution case

I-Team first exposed Scott Fitts in a tale of two cities
May 29, 2009 12:11:20 PM PDT
When the sex customer was showering off in anticipation of a romp with a prostitute, the local police chief would swoop in for the arrest.It seemed like a normal vice raid. There were just a couple of problems.

The badge-carrying lawman was a crook and the prostitute was in on his scheme to shake down clients.

Now, former federal agent and Grant Park police chief Scott Fitts has admitted taking thousands of dollars in bribes from at least 100 people accused of soliciting prostitutes. In exchange for the gratuities, which averaged $3500 per customer, Fitts would then drop the vice charges.

The plea deal, that brings Fitts' long case to an end, includes admissions to three of 10 federal criminal counts: wire fraud, filing a false federal income tax return and illegal structuring of financial transactions.

The 41-year old Fitts on Wednesday admitted his role in the remaining seven counts alleging that he ran an illegal prostitution sting out of his police department in 2006. Those admissions were part of his plea agreement with federal prosecutors following an indictment that also alleged that he accepted more than $400,000 in "fines" from victims of the sting operation.

Among the facts that Fitts admitted were that he paid a woman $38,242 to pose as a prostitute. She solicited clients through an internet ad and met them at a Manteno motel. After the customer would arrive, the "prostitute" would ask them to take a shower. At that time, according to the court filing, Fitts would enter the room and make the arrest.

He told those in custody that the case would be dropped if they paid a "fine". The money, usually cash, ended up in the chief's pocket, according to authorities.

READ PLEA AGREEMENT

Fitts, police chief of tiny Grant Park south of Chicago, had been on the job since 1994. He was indicted last June. Under the plea bargain, Fitts agrees to cooperate with authorities. Federal prosecutors have agreed to recommend a lighter sentence for the former lawman. The prostitute, identified only as "Brooke" from Texas, has not been named or charged. Neither have the other officers who helped in the "raids." Authorities believe they too may have been duped into believing the sting operations were real.

The I-Team last summer uncovered Fitts' role in a corruption investigation in west suburban Melrose Park. He was working as an agent for the U.S. Department of Labor at the time. Full details on that part of the story are at: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=6214210


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