Schaumburg settles 15th lawsuit against former undercover cops
Schaumburg trustees Tuesday approved the 15th settlement stemming from lawsuits filed against the village over the actions of former undercover police officers arrested on drug conspiracy charges in January 2013, leaving just one case still pending.
At $90,000, the settlement with plaintiff Victor Alvarado of Elk Grove Village is the largest to date. Under the terms, Alvarado will receive $65,000, with the remaining $25,000 going to his attorney.
While the majority of the lawsuits have named all three former officers -- Terrance O'Brien, Matthew Hudak and John Cichy -- Alvarado's suit does not name Cichy, but does list three other Schaumburg police officers who were not linked to their peers' criminal activity.
The suit, filed Dec. 2, 2014 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleged the officers falsely arrested Alvarado on drug-related charges at his home in December 2010, then planted evidence and fabricated testimony against him, leading to his wrongful conviction and imprisonment for nearly a year. After the officers' arrests, Alvarado's conviction was vacated and the charges against him were dismissed.
With the latest settlement, Schaumburg has to date paid $413,501 as a result of the lawsuits stemming from the officers' actions. None of the out-of-court deals admit to wrongdoing on the part of any past or present employee of the village.
Schaumburg attorney James Sotos has said the village believes it could have presented a defense to every lawsuit, but the settlements are a more cost-effective way of disposing of the cases.
O'Brien and Hudak have pleaded guilty to felony charges and are serving prison sentences of 38 and 26 years, respectively. Cichy still is awaiting trial.
Authorities say the officers were part of a special undercover narcotics unit that at times worked cases outside the village's borders. A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation found evidence that for at least six months the officers stole cocaine and marijuana from dealers and police seizures and then resold the drugs through an informant, authorities said.