CHICAGO (AP) _ A federal jury Tuesday convicted a driving school instructor of bribing state employees to get truckers’ licenses in a scheme that poured money into Gov. George Ryan’s campaign fund.
After deliberating more than four hours, the jury convicted Alex McLeczynsky of racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy and one count of aiding and abetting extortion. He was acquitted of one count of aiding and abetting extortion.
McLeczynsky, 44, was accused of paying $750 to $1,500 to get a drivers permit for trucker Sylvester Pucher and $1,000 for a similar permit for Tadeuzs Jureczko. He faces 24 months to 30 months in prison.
The trial was the first stemming from a two-year federal investigation into the selling of Illinois truck driver’s licenses by secretary of state employees.
Thirty-one people have been charged thus far in the investigation and 27 have pleaded guilty. Most of those charged have been low-ranking officials and driving instructors.
Defense attorney Thomas Anthony Durkin had argued that McLeczynsky was no more than a victim of the scheme. But prosecutors argued that while he played a secondary role in the scandal, McLeczynsky was still a criminal.
Prosecutors say that drivers license fixing at Melrose Park and two other licensing centers sent $170,000 into Ryan’s campaign fund.
The governor says that he was unaware of what prosecutors have described as ``widespread corruption″ when he was Illinois secretary of state.
Awaiting trial in September is Dean Bauer, a longtime friend of Ryan’s and his inspector general accused of covering up seven years of scandals to spare Ryan political embarrassment.