Prosecutors recommend two-year prison sentence for former Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta
Federal prosecutors say Presta “cynicially exploited” a public safety initiative.
Federal prosecutors are recommending a minimum of two years in prison for former Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta, who pleaded guilty late last year in a red-light camera bribery scheme.
In their memo to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin, prosecutors say Presta “cynically exploited” what was supposed to be a public safety initiative.
“There is a strong need for a sentence that will assure the public that corruption from their elected officials is not tolerated and that will serve as a warning to Presta and other officials,” prosecutors wrote in the memo filed Friday.
Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 2 to 2 1/2 years in prison, which falls within federal guidelines.
An attorney for the ex-mayor couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Presta, who led southwest suburban Crestwood for nearly a decade, has admitted that he not only took a secret $5,000 cash payment from a red-light camera company’s representative, but that he did so while promising tickets there would “creep up higher,” prosecutors say.
Presta even bragged about the higher percentage of red-light traffic violations approved by Crestwood and issued to drivers in February 2018, telling the person with an ownership stake in SafeSpeed LLC, “You got a new sheriff in town.”
Presta resigned as mayor in November 2021, just before pleading guilty to the bribery and official misconduct count, as well as to filing a false tax return. Presta admitted filing false tax returns for 2015 and 2018, and that he failed to file a tax return for 2014, causing a loss to the IRS of more than $67,000 and a loss to the Illinois Department of Revenue of roughly $3,400.
SafeSpeed has not been charged with wrongdoing, and a spokeswoman for the company said last November that the person who paid Presta did not do so on the company’s behalf.
“The company had no knowledge of his criminal conduct, did not authorize it, and does not condone it,” the spokeswoman said at the time.
Presta’s sentencing is set for April 1. Presta has no previous criminal history, prosecutors say.