CHICAGO—Illinois State Representative Derrick Smith (10th District) was indicted Tuesday for allegedly accepting a $7,000 cash bribe to write an official letter of support for a daycare center that he believed was seeking a state grant. Smith was charged with federal bribery in a single-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury after he was initially charged in a criminal complaint and arrested on March 13, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Smith was initially charged following an FBI undercover investigation that began in December 2011. Smith and an individual identified as CS-1, who worked on Smith’s political campaigns and who, unbeknownst to Smith, was cooperating with the FBI, had numerous conversations about helping a fictional daycare owner obtain a purported state grant in exchange for $7,000, according to court documents. On March 2, Smith allegedly provided CS-1 with an official letter of support for the daycare owner to obtain a $50,000 Early Childhood Construction Grant from the state’s Capital Development Board. In return, during a recorded meeting on March 10, CS-1 gave Smith $7,000 cash, purportedly from the fictional daycare owner.
After he was arrested in March, Smith, 48, of Chicago, was released on his own recognizance. He will be ordered to appear for arraignment on a later date in U.S. District Court. The indictment seeks forfeiture of approximately $4,500 in unrecovered proceeds of the alleged bribe payment.
The bribery count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Deis.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.