Chicago Cop Who Lived Extravagantly on $300,000 he Stole in Tax Fraud Given 6 Months in Prison

When it was all over, only $238.47 was left in Chicago police Officer Steven Segura’s bank account.

Segura pocketed $300,000 in bogus income tax refunds, only to burn through the money in less than a year with extravagant spending on a convertible Jaguar, nightclub excursions and airline travel, according to federal prosecutors.

On Thursday, Segura was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay the $300,000 back.

“This really is a crime that impacts all of us as taxpaying citizens here in the United States,’’ U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood said.

Prosecutors had asked that he be sentenced to between 2 and 2 ½ years in prison as called for under federal sentencing guidelines.

Segura, 42, pleaded guilty in December to five counts of mail fraud and making false claims to the Internal Revenue Service.

The former cop sobbed several times as he spoke briefly before Wood handed down the sentence.

“In the military, there’s a saying, ‘No excuse,’ ’’ he said. “I take responsibility for my actions.”

Segura told the judge he had been an alcoholic for 25 years but was now sober.

“I take it day by day, and I will continue my sobriety,’’ he said.

In a sentencing filing, prosecutors said Segura created phony trusts and filed multiple tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009, falsely claiming refunds in excess of $1 million.

Segura deposited a $300,000 check into his bank account on Jan. 19, 2011. Just 12 days later, he spent almost $53,000 to buy the convertible Jaguar, prosecutors said.

He continued to spend lavishly in the ensuing months, including several thousand dollars on travel and airfare, more than $5,000 on nightclubs and bars, and nearly $1,500 on designer clothing and sunglasses, prosecutors said.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Segura’s lawyer, Jed Stone, said Segura suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as depression and anxiety that contributed to his poor decisions.

Segura had grown up in “a violent, turbulent, and chaotic household” with an abusive father, according to a court filing submitted by Stone. But after his mother remarried, he gained stability from his stepfather, graduating from high school and earning the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts, the filing said.

According to the filing, Segura was the victim of a sexual assault when he was 18 and in basic training with the Army.

“I lost my God at age 18,’’ Segura was quoted as saying in the filing. “I take six or seven showers a day because I always feel dirty.’’

At Thursday’s sentencing, Segura mentioned “sexual trauma,” though he struggled to even say the words.

In a sentencing filing earlier this year, however, prosecutors said that a psychiatrist who analyzed Segura concluded he had “proved himself an unreliable historian” and was likely embellishing or feigning “both psychiatric disorder and cognitive impairment.”

The psychiatrist wrote in his report that there was no mention of Segura’s alleged abuse in any available record and that he’d never sought treatment until after his arrest when he lost his police job, salary and benefits.

Stone urged the judge to give Segura probation or let him serve any sentence in a treatment facility, not prison.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Ebert asked the judge to impose a sentence of 2 to 2 ½ years in prison.

This was “not a fleeting lapse in judgment,’’ the prosecutor said.

Segura’s background as a Chicago police officer made “it all the more troubling,” Ebert said.

At one point while discussing the spending spree, Stone contended that “most” of the ill-gotten money went to finance a benefit concert for military veterans. Although the concert never actually happened, Segura’s motives were well-intentioned, Stone said.

“This is not Paul Manafort. He didn’t buy an ostrich coat,’’ Stone said in reference to the ongoing fraud trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager. While acknowledging Segura made a “terrible mistake,” Stone contended he did not live “high on the hog.’’

Records show Segura had 18 complaints filed against him during his career as an officer. He had risen to the rank of sergeant and worked in what is now the Ogden District on the city’s West Side.

The complaints ranged from extortion and bribery to illegal arrests and searches as well as two domestic incidents, one while on-duty and the other while off-duty. None of the complaints was sustained by the city’s notoriously ineffective disciplinary process.

Cook County records also show that at the time of the alleged fraud, Segura was going through a messy divorce and facing financial problems. His ex-wife recently accused him of failing to pay $187 a month in child support for their two children.

Two women also sued him for child support over the past five years after claiming he fathered children with them. Both suits were eventually dropped.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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