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Former Des Plaines police officer gets prison time for padding DUI numbers to win more federal grants

A federal judge sentenced a former veteran of the Des Plaines Police Department to six months in prison Thursday for steering nearly $184,000 in federal grant funds to the city by padding DUI arrest statistics.

Timothy Veit, 57, apologized in front of U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan for what he said was the unintended harm to the northwest suburban community. He retired after serving the department more than 30 years.

But Des Plaines Police Chief William Kushner said Veit’s crime did a “tremendous amount of damage to trust” between the city’s officers and residents.

“We have a tremendous schism in the community because of this,” Kushner said.

Veit’s sentence is the result of a deal in which Veit agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of embezzlement. Der-Yeghiayan approved the deal, but said Veit otherwise served the community admirably.

He compared the situation to a “Shakespearean tragedy, where a good man went bad.” And after handing down the sentence to the former police commander, the judge said, “Sir, you know you messed up. It happens.”

Veit submitted false forms in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, drastically inflating the number of DUI arrests made as a result of enforcement campaigns, according to the plea agreement. Those campaigns were funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

IDOT paid Des Plaines $183,984 in NHTSA grant funds as a result of the false forms Veit submitted, according to the plea deal, and Veit received $31,915 in overtime pay.

The judge ordered Veit to pay $34,448 in restitution to IDOT.

Veit’s lawyer, Anthony Masciopinto, told the judge Veit didn’t commit his crime in secret.

“To put this all at his feet seems tremendously unfair to me,” Masciopinto said.