City worker sentenced in Chicago Hired Truck scandal

| 7/7/2005

A former city foreman involved in Chicago’s scandalous Hired Truck Program has been sentenced to prison time.

In May, Dennis Natale, who took $3,000 to $5,000 in bribes from truck drivers to falsely report that they showed up for city work, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and bribery. On Wednesday, July 6, Natale was sentenced to one year in federal prison and must pay $19,600 in restitution to the city, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Natale’s attorney, Robert Novelle Sr., told the Tribune that his client was hoping for home confinement or a staggered sentence, so that he could continue supporting his family. He said his client’s family was borrowing $2,000 a month to pay bills, and is in danger of losing their $300,000 home.

So far, 27 people have been charged in the ongoing federal investigation of the corrupt program that permeated the city’s water and sewer departments. Eighteen people – eight of whom were city workers – have pleaded guilty, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.