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Feds: Cook County revenue inspector’s scheme goes up in smoke
He was supposed to go from store to store, checking to make sure merchants were paying cigarette and other tobacco taxes, but the FB I says the Cook County revenue investigator was involved in an on-the-job bribery scheme.
Robert Mitchell, 39, of Chicago, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with attempted extortion in a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court. Authorities allege Mitchell would give merchants a heads up when investigators were about to head to their stores for a closer look at their tobacco in exchange for $600 monthly payments, according to the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.
The alleged scheme began last year after Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sheriff Tom Dart announced a crackdown on stores selling illegal cigarettes, including packs without the required tax stamp – evidence the $2 county levy has been paid.
Mitchell has been suspended from his $69,000-a-year county job, according to Preckwinkle’s office.