On June 24, 2016, Brent Watson, a City of Chicago firefighter, was arraigned on criminal charges including two counts of theft (720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)) and one count each of burglary and wire fraud (720 ILCS 5/19-1(a) and 720 ILCS 5/17-24(b)). State of Illinois v. Brent Watson 16-CR-09145-01 (Cir. Ct. of Cook County, Ill.).
The indictment alleges that Watson and his wife, Wendy Watson, accessed a foreclosed unit in their condo building without the permission or authority of the owner. The couple subsequently rented the units out to new tenants, representing themselves as the owners of the properties and collecting monthly rent payments on the units. Because Watson had represented himself as a firefighter to the tenants, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) partnered with the Cook County State’s Attorney in the investigation, bringing this matter before the Grand Jury.
On August 24, 2017, the Circuit Court of Cook County acquitted Brent and Wendy Watson of all criminal charges in this case.