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Ex-cop sentenced in towing extortion case

CHICAGO – A former Chicago police officer has been sentenced to 42 months in prison for his part in scheme to extort tow truck operators.

Juan Prado pleaded guilty in July to accepting payoffs from a tow truck operator who was secretly working for the FBI.

The 12-year veteran allegedly steered business to a tow truck operator following three accidents in 2006. He then allegedly solicited more than $1,100 from the operator who was secretly working for the FBI. When entering his guilty plea, the 47-year-old Prado admitted to accepting a total of $3,790 in bribes.

Authorities say 10 Chicago police officers have been snared as part of an undercover FBI probe code-named Operation Tow Scam. Seven of them have been convicted. Three civilians, including two tow truck operators, have been convicted.

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