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Illinois Prison Official, Parole Board Member Indicted For Corruption

On December 9, 2005, a Lee County, Illinois, grand jury returned indictments against former Illinois Department of Corrections official Ron Matrisciano and former Illinois Parole Board member Victor Brooks. Matrisciano was indicted for five counts of official misconduct and two counts of wire fraud while Brooks faces one count each of official misconduct and wire fraud. The charges stem from Matriscianos testimony at the December 2002, parole hearing for and Brookss vote to release Harry Aleman, who had been convicted of the 1972 murder of Teamsters official Willie Logan and was, according to prosecutors, a mob hit man. Aleman was acquitted in his first trial, but retried and convicted after prosecutors proved that he had bribed the judge. The board voted 10-1 not to grant parole at the 2002 hearing.

According to the indictment, Matrisciano testified that Brooks was a model prisoner who would not be a threat if released. Soon after the 2002 hearing, Matrisciano was laid off for budgetary reasons and the DOCs second-highest official was fired for having given Matrisciano permission to testify at the hearing. Matrisciano has also been charged with perjury for falsely representing his support as the DOCs official position, then lying under oath in a deposition during the investigation by claiming he made it clear to the Prisoner Review Board (PRB) that his position supporting Aleman was personal.

Matrisciano was entitled to a lower-ranking DOC position after he was laid off, but was placed on paid administrative leave on March 2, 2004, when he got the new posting. He is suing the DOC over the incident.

Brooks allegedly voted in Alemans favor in exchange for Matrisciano helping his son, Nicholas, land a job in Las Vegas. Nicholas Brooks is a singer with some success and local renown, having sung the national anthem at Cubs and Bears games. He is currently residing in Las Vegas.

Summing up the states case, Attorney General Lisa Madigan stated the basis for the charges.

How Harry Aleman had access to a high-ranking IDOC official and why a member of the PRB would vote for his release are serious questions that have been raised, said Madigan. We allege that public corruption is part of the answer.

Aleman, who came up for parole again on December 7, 2005, is mad, very mad that the DOC fired, then rehired, then demoted, then suspended his friend Matrisciano for testifying in his favor.

Youre saying anybody who speaks on my behalf gets into trouble? ... No one can talk for me or they get into trouble right away? asked Aleman.

Sources: Sun Times, Associated Press

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