Death of Hired Truck figure keeps pension money in widow's hands

| 10/24/2006

In an odd twist of fate, the death of an admitted Hired Truck co-conspirator may have actually helped his widow, financially speaking.

Roger McMahon, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud in May 2005, died Friday, Oct. 20, of cancer. However, the former city employee and a key figure in the scandal-ridden city program had not yet been sentenced or had a chance to appeal, which - under Illinois law - means he had not officially been convicted, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Because of his death, his widow, Barbara, will receive at least half of her late husband's pension, totaling about $75,000 a year, the Sun-Times reported. Had he been sentenced and exhausted his appeals prior to his death, his widow would've received nothing, per city policy.

"If the defendant dies prior to the time a defendant has basically exhausted his appeals - and (McMahon) wasn't even close, he wasn't even sentenced yet - everything gets abated," Irving Miller, and attorney involved in the Hired Truck investigation, told the Sun-Times.

McMahon's situation is similar to that of the estate of Ken Lay, founder of Enron, who died in July after being found guilty on 11 charges of securities fraud and other related charges, but before he could be sentenced. On Oct. 17, a judge vacated the conviction of the deceased Lay.