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updated: 4/18/2014 7:09 PM

Former informant charged with wire fraud

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Associated Press

A Chicago real estate developer who was a key government witness in corruption cases is facing federal charges after authorities say he stole $370,000 from South suburban Riverdale.

Prosecutors charged John Thomas with wire fraud and arrested him Friday. The Chicago Sun-Times reported he pleaded not guilty at an afternoon court appearance.

Prosecutors say the 51-year-old used money awarded to his company to repay personal loans, legal fees and other expenses.

The $900,000 from Riverdale was supposed to be used by Thomas' company for a redevelopment project at the now-closed Riverdale Marina, although prosecutors say only a portion was used for legitimate work.

Thomas was an undercover informant in a series of corruption cases, including the case against fundraiser Tony Rezko, who's serving time in prison.

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