More indictments in Illinois license probe

| 5/28/2002

Federal officials have indicted two former Illinois Secretary of State employees and a third man in Florida on fraud charges in the ongoing license-for-bribes investigation.

Frank Catanzarite Jr. and John Nowak worked until 1999 at a Watkins Motor Lines terminal in Lyons, IL. They allegedly accepted cash bribes for fraudulently certifying that driver applicants had passed the carriers' safety requirements.

In exchange for the cash, the men fixed the tests of unqualified drivers who could not sufficiently speak English and did not know the rules of the road, U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald announced Wednesday.

Also, Peter Gregus of Miami was charged with assisting non English-speaking applicants, many of whom lived in Illinois, fraudulently obtain licenses in Florida. He allegedly paid out cash payments to another Florida licensing official to fix the tests of about 100 applicants.

The latest indictments bring to 54 the number of state employees and others charged in the government's four-year investigation of corruption in the secretary of state's office, then run by current Illinois Gov. George Ryan. More than 40 have been convicted with many of those being tied to bribes paid for CDLs, with some of that money going into Ryan's political campaign fund.