Â In continuing effort to fight local level corruption in â€œOperation Cookie Jarâ€Â
The Cook County Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Office in a joint investigation with the City of Chicagoâ€™s Office of the Inspector General has charged a supervisor in the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection with stealing evidence confiscated by city inspectors and selling the merchandise for profit.
Abd Ayesh, 32, employed by the city as a supervisor of Tax and License Compliance was charged with the Class 2 felony offense of Theft of Government Property and the Class 3 felony offense of Official Misconduct. If convicted, Ayesh faces up to seven years in prison.
According to prosecutors, Ayesh was responsible for storing items confiscated by city investigators prior to them being inventoried in a secured location. A revenue inspector for the city told investigators that he assisted Ayesh steal numerous cigarette cartons which the city had confiscated. Many of these cartons had been confiscated because they did not have the required tax stamps. After taking the cigarettes, the parties sold them for profit.
Investigators allege that Ayesh would remove confiscated cigarette cartons from the evidence area, put them in a plastic bag and then place the bag in his office. The revenue inspector would then pick up the bag with the cigarette cartons and drive them to south side convenience stores, where he would meet Ayesh or one of his relatives and exchange the confiscated cigarettes for money.
According to prosecutors, the revenue investigator agreed to assist investigators in this case. Recorded conversations obtained during the investigation revealed that in April 2010, Ayesh again stole numerous cigarette cartons from a city office where confiscated items were being stored. He then met with the revenue investigator and had the cigarettes delivered to a south
side convenience store operated by Ayeshâ€™s brother. The cigarettes were valued at over $2000.
â€œThis is a blatant example of an employee abusing his position for his own financial gain,â€ said Alvarez. â€œMy office takes these cases seriously and will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to root out corruption on the local level.â€
Alvarez thanked the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General for their assistance in the investigation. Ayesh appeared in court today and Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan set bail at $25,000D. The next court date for this case is July 9, 2010.
The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.