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Former Redflex CEO jailed 14 months for Ohio bribes

The woman who headed a red light camera operator was sentenced Wednesday to 14 months in prison for bribing elected officials in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Karen L. Finley, 57, of Cave Creek, Arizona, pleaded guilty in June 2015 to one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and honest services wire and mail fraud. 

Finley cooperated with the government’s investigation and testified against John Raphael, an Ohio lobbyist Redflex hired to help it make illegal political contributions.

Raphael was sentenced in June this year to 15 months in prison. He pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Hobbs Act (interstate extortion). 

Finley was the CEO of Redflex from late 2005 to 2013. 

In return for illegal campaign contributions to officials in Columbus and Cincinnati, Redflex wanted red light camera enforcement contracts.

U.S. District Judge Michael Watson of the Southern District of Ohio ordered Finley assigned to the minimum security federal penitentiary in Phoenix, Arizona.

Prosecutors had asked for a 30-month sentence for Finley.

She still faces sentencing next month in Chicago for another corruption case involving red light cameras.

Finley pleaded guilty in August 2015 in federal court to helping Redflex pay $2 million to Chicago officials.

She made $500,000 a year as Redflex’s CEO. She told the court in Ohio she’s now broke.

In August this year, Chicago political insider John Bills was sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes from Redflex worth $680,000.

Bills was managing deputy commissioner for transportation in Chicago and oversaw the city’s red light camera program.

An investigation by the Chicago Tribune showed that thousands of drivers were ticketed $100 for red light violations they didn’t commit.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He’ll be the keynote speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016

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