Lawyer: Des Plaines Police Commander Appears ‘Unfairly Singled Out’
A former Des Plaines police commander accused of making false statements in connection with a federal traffic enforcement program appears to be singled out by federal prosecutors, said his defense attorney.
The defense attorney for a former Des Plaines police commander accused of falsifying federal grant records for financial gain said his client was possibly being unfairly singled out by federal prosecutors.
Timothy Veit, 55, of Mount Prospect, a 31-year law enforcement veteran, pled not guilty in federal court Feb. 27 on charges of making false statements.
Veit is accused of inflating the number of arrests for driving under the influence that would qualify for federal funds in a traffic enforcement program from 30 to 152, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, between 2009 and 2012.
The false information Veit provided, according to the charges, caused a loss of $132,893 in federal funds that were reimbursed to Des Plaines for impaired driving enforcement programs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.
Veit’s attorney, Anthony Masciopinto, of Kulwin, Masciopinto and Kulwin, said if Veit was the only person being investigated for this type of activity, that would be unfair.
“I don’t know that this is the case because I’m not privy to the government’s investigation, but it appears that [Veit is] being unfairly singled out,” Masciopinto said.
Des Plaines Police Chief William Kushner said 13 police officers could face suspensions in connection with the same federal grant Veit is accused of falsifying information for, the Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program. Kushner said he would make a public statement about the disciplinary action when the details were finalized.
The possible disciplinary action against the 13 Des Plaines police officers did not change his position that his client appeared to be singled out, Masciopinto said.
“That’s an internal process,” Masciopinto said. “To my knowledge the federal government is not involved in that, so my statement would still stand.”
There were problems inherent in the traffic enforcement program Veit oversaw at the Des Plaines Police Department for four years, Masciopinto said.
The Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program had a performance objective for law enforcement to arrest, on average, at least one person for DUI during every 10 hours of overtime officers worked during specific, qualifying hours, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“This DUI ticket writing quota system was administratively ill-conceived in the sense that it wasn’t based on convictions, it wasn’t based on actual court proceedings, it wasn’t based on any sort of population density, traffic crash results or other factors that might make more sense to use,” Masciopinto said.
Police officers gave Veit accurate information about arrests, according to the complaint, and inaccurate information was submitted by Veit for the grant funds.
Masciopinto said he was not aware of any other court case similar to Veit’s, and that fact also contributed to his notion that the former Des Plaines police commander was being unfairly singled out.
“That’s part of my thought process,” Masciopinto said.