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Former Illinois State Employee Gets Jail Time for Extortion

John H. McGowan, Jr., a former employee with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Chicago to four months in prison. McGowan pled guilty in April to charges of extortion by accepting money ($100 - $700 each) in exchange for reinstating drivers’ licenses of ineligible individuals. McGowan’s actions included removing records on the initial license revocations from the National Driver Register (NDR), a database used by state licensing officials nationwide in determining whether any state has revoked or suspended a driver’s license for “driving under the influence” (DUI) or other serious violations. McGowan’s employment with the Illinois Secretary of State has been terminated, and his pension forfeited. The investigation was conducted jointly with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.