State Briefs 5/30/08
‘Four Corner Hustlers’ boss captured in drug sweep
ST. CHARLES – In the largest criminal drug conspiracy operation brought down by the Chicago Police Department, a St. Charles resident, the alleged "Four Corner Hustlers" boss, was arrested on a charge of felony cannabis violation.
"Shakey" Shawn Betts, who served as the enforcement arm of the organization, which was formed in the 1990s, was arrested at his St. Charles residence Wednesday, according to Chicago police.
During the investigation, dubbed Operation Capitol Hill, more than 20,000 calls between gang leaders, drug sellers and distributors were intercepted, and multiple surveillance operations were conducted throughout the west side of the city. Members of the investigation made more than 100 purchases of illegal narcotics, according to police.
The investigation was launched in 2004, said Chicago Police Organized Crime Chief Frank Limon in a release. Search warrants were conducted in several western suburbs, including St. Charles, Villa Park, Wheaton, Western Springs and Aurora.
Officers charged 75 members of the gang, known as the Body Snatchers, and arrested 55 individuals Wednesday, according to police. Betts was a priority target.
During the investigation, police recovered about 300 grams of heroin, 450 grams of crack cocaine, 140 tablets of ecstasy and more than 1,000 grams of cannabis. Eight vehicles and 19 firearms were seized.
Suburban Life Publications
Real-estate agent sentenced for wire fraud
ROCKFORD — Rockford real-estate agent Raymond Talan was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison without parole Thursday on a count of wire fraud as part of a mortgage-scam investigation.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Talan admitted that from June 2002 to March 2004, he conducted a scheme to defraud the Department of Housing and Urban Development and commercial lenders by causing unqualified borrowers to receive conventional and federally insured loans.
Specifically, he misrepresented the amount of income the borrowers were earning and provided other false information to convince the lenders to give money to unqualified borrowers.
In addition to his prison sentence, Talan was ordered to pay $162,525.66 in restitution to HUD and private lenders who were defrauded.
Talan was charged in a 10-count indictment in July 2007. He pleaded guilty in February.
Rockford Register Star
County officials ask to have their salaries frozen
SPRINGFIELD – Sangamon County Circuit Clerk Toni Libri, Coroner Susan Boone and Auditor Paul Palazzolo will not get a pay increase next year if they win re-election in November.
But to compensate, the coroner’s and auditor’s pay the following year will rise by more than usual.
All three Republicans asked this week that the Sangamon County Board’s finance committee freeze the 2009 salaries of their offices due to the uncertain financial times.
“It’s one of those things we can do as team players,” Libri said.
The board traditionally sets the salaries in four-year-increments prior to the election.
The countywide positions up for election Nov. 4 include circuit clerk, coroner, auditor, recorder and state’s attorney.
Incumbent Recorder Mary Ann Lamm, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election. Republican State’s Attorney John Schmidt’s salary is set by the state.
The finance committee agreed Thursday to a one-year salary freeze for the elected offices, which is expected to save about $21,000.
Man attacked with golf club
SPRINGFIELD – A 45-year-old man told police he was struck from behind with a golf club as he walked in Springfield between 8:45 and 9 p.m. Wednesday.
The victim said an unknown man came up behind him and hit him on the elbow and neck, then ran away.
The victim walked to St. John’s Hospital with a 2-inch cut on his neck that required stitches. He was unable to provide police with a description of the assailant.