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Former review board official who was bribed for tax cuts will be put behind a three-month bar

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This photo could be straight out of a classic Chicago-style corruption movie. A veteran employee of the Cook County Board of Review is wading through a pile of cash allegedly received as a bribe to lower someone’s property taxes. .

Danilo “Danny B” Barjaktarevich told a federal judge on Tuesday that the FBI investigation that led to the photo “doesn’t portray me as a person.” Rather, he said he had a “weak moment” when he received $43,000 in bribes.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman told Barjak Tarevich that he committed a crime that “gets to the heart of what people have as the American Dream.” And he’s “hit the trust people have” when it comes to paying property taxes.

Ultimately, however, Coleman sentenced Valjak Tarevich to a relatively light three-month prison sentence for the crime. Federal sentencing guidelines suggested he could have spent more than two years in prison.

Coleman also ordered Barjaktarevich to provide 100 hours of community service at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Barjaktarevich’s sentencing hearing at the Dirksen Federal Court put an end to a story that began in July 2021. That’s when the Chicago Sun-Times obtained his FBI affidavit detailing an investigation into Barja Tarevich.

Following the Sun-Times report, the review board hired prominent law firm Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila to substantiate Barjaktarevich’s allegations to federal informants that other members of the review board were involved. We are now investigating allegations involving

Federal prosecutors now say Barjaktarevich lied when he said he would share the money with others.

“He had it all in his pocket,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Peabody told the judge on Tuesday. “He knew it was wrong and did it for the money.” It is.”

Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila said the investigation was hampered by Barjaktarevich’s refusal to be interviewed and claiming he forgot the passcode for his county-issued cell phone. The company was hired through contracts worth up to $150,000.

Defense attorney Matthew McQuaid told Coleman that Barjaktarevich had already lost his review board job and would lose his pension. and suggested that he was involved in the scheme because he needed the money.

Still, prosecutors previously said Barjaktarevich took bribes, including “presumed payments” of $1,000 from one taxpayer in January 2021 and $1,500 from another taxpayer in the spring of 2021.

Barjaktarevich confirmed last year that he had agreed to help federal informants reduce the valuations of 25 assets in January 2021. They are said to have belonged to the informant’s associates.

Valuation is an important factor in calculating your property tax bill.

Barjaktarevich explained that the devaluation rate is $2,000 per commercial property and $1,000 per residential property, requiring a total bribe of $43,000. Half is prepaid and the other half is postpaid.

The two met in a Skokie parking lot in January 2021, and an informant delivered $21,000 to Valjak Tarevich, records show. That was the moment purportedly depicted in Barjaktarevich’s photograph.

Then, in May 2021, Barjaktarevich sent an email to the informant stating the status of the property valuation appeal.

However, the informant’s associate was owed an additional $22,000. The informant suggested delaying payment, but Barjaktarevich complained of having his head “chewed off” after talking to his colleague, according to an FBI affidavit.

“They said, ‘We made a deal. We proved to him [re]responsible, ”Barjaktarevich is quoted as saying. “He says, ‘They’ve already booked that money for the holidays, s—‘”

So the informant delivered the money before the July 4 holiday and promised to set up a meeting with Barjaktarevich on July 1, 2021, records show. The federal government filed his affidavit on June 30, 2021, asking for a judge’s permission to search Barjak Tarevich and his phone.

Later, when Barjaktarevic met an informant, Barjaktarevic accepted a second payment of $22,000, according to his plea bargain.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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