On the 24 to Life episode “Fall From Grace,” the show follows John Bills during his last 24 hours of freedom before reporting to prison. The former Chicago City Hall worker was caught taking up to $2 million in bribes and gifts in exchange for giving red-light camera contracts to Arizona company Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. In August 2016, Bills, who worked in the Transportation Department for 32 years, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In court, Bills denied being the “mastermind” behind the criminal scheme but he did admit to accepting gifts including a Mercedes-Benz and a condominium in Arizona as well as trips. He said: “I was a midlevel manager who was directed by my superiors and given a responsibility that I obviously wasn’t prepared for.” But according to testimony heard at his trial, Bills accepted up to $2,000 for each of the 384 red-light cameras installed in the city.
A judge ordered Bills to pay restitution of $2.03 million and $224,000 in unpaid income taxes, once he is released from prison. According to the Chicago Tribune, almost 40 percent of the cameras installed during Bills’ scheme are “likely making intersections more dangerous because of a disproportion increase in injuries from read-end crashes as drivers stop short to avoid fines.” Note: Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Redflex as the city’s red light camera operator after the allegations first surfaced in 2012. Redflex admitted to fraud; settled with the City of Chicago and agreed to pay $20 million. 24 to Life airs Mondays at 10 pm on Lifetime.