East St. Louis tow truck operator Eddie Johnson Jr., 47, of Cahokia, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to theft of government property, making a false statement to a law enforcement officer and making a false declaration before a federal grand jury.
Johnson faces up to 15 years in prison, a fine of $750,000 and three years supervised release when he is sentenced on Feb. 22.
The charges against Johnson were a result of an investigation by the FBI, which focused upon allegations of corruption by tow truck operators in the city of East St. Louis.
The FBI conducted an integrity test in which federal agents placed diamond earrings, a purse, a debit card and other valuables in a Mercedes automobile that appeared to be an abandoned stolen vehicle. Audio and video surveillance was in place around the vehicle.
As part of the plea agreement, Johnson admitted that on Feb. 12, 2011, he responded following a call from the East St. Louis Police Department to a towing company. Johnson admitted that he stole the diamond earrings and other valuables. He also admitted that he made false statements to the FBI and to a federal grand jury in the investigation of the theft.