Crestwood mayor charged in red-light camera bribery scheme

The mayor of southwest suburban Crestwood has been indicted by a federal grand jury for using an interstate facility in aid of bribery, and lying to federal law enforcement about his request and receipt of benefits from a representative of a red-light camera company,  authorities say.

Louis Presta, 69, is also charged with filing false tax returns and lying to the FBI and IRS in connection to money he allegedly took in a 2018 meeting with a representative of the red-light camera company, according to the report.

According to the indictment, the red-light camera company was providing camera services to Crestwood that enabled the municipality to issue tickets to motorists for certain traffic violations.  While working with the company, Presta asked for and accepted benefits from representatives of the company.

In a Sept. 2019 interview between Presta, the FBI and IRS, Presta denied receiving cash, gifts or campaign contributions from the red-light camera company.

A recording of a meeting in March 2018 between Presta and a company representative showed Presta accepting an envelope containing $5,000 in cash. Presta falsely stated that no money was in that envelope, according to the indictment. 

The indictment also accuses Presta of failing to file an income tax return for 2014, and filing false income tax returns for 2015 and 2018. 

The bribery and false statement counts are each punishable by up to five years in prison.  

Filing a false tax return is punishable by up to three years and failing to file a tax return carries a maximum sentence of one year.