Former Chicago Policeman Gets Life for Plan to Kidnap, Torture, Extort and Murder

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:


CHICAGO — A northwest suburban man was sentenced today to life in prison for plotting in 2012 to

  • kidnap
  • torture
  • extort and
  • murder

an innocent victim and then take control of the victim’s real estate holdings.

STEVEN MANDELL, 64, formerly known as “Steven Manning,” of Buffalo Grove, was tried in February of this year and convicted of

  • conspiracy to commit kidnapping
  • extortion conspiracy
  • attempted extortion
  • possessing a firearm during a violent crime
  • being a felon-in-possession of a firearm, and
  • obstruction of justice

“This was an extremely serious and disturbing offense,” U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve said in imposing the life term following a hearing in Federal Court.

“Your actions in this case, Mr. Mandell, were evil . . . and showed a complete disregard for human life.”

The judge also imposed a mandatory consecutive five-year sentence for use of a firearm and a $5,000 fine. Mandell has been in custody since he was arrested in October 2012 and there is no parole in the federal prison system.

“Mr. Mandell was the mastermind of a truly barbaric crime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amerjeet Bhachu said in court today.

Mandell “was the principal author of an exceptionally sadistic and depraved plan to kidnap, torture, extort and murder,” Mr. Bhachu and Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur argued in a sentencing memo.

Mandell, a Chicago police officer for approximately 10 years until 1983, served more than a decade on Illinois’ death-row for a murder conviction that was later overturned on legal grounds involving the admissibility of evidence at his trial, not because of innocence.

A co-defendant in the 2012 murder plot, Gary Engel, who was 61 at the time, of Homer Glen and a former police officer in Willow Springs, committed suicide shortly after he was arrested with Mandell.

The evidence at trial showed that Mandell rented a location in the 5300 block of West Devon Avenue, known to him as “Club Med,” not knowing at the time that the FBI had installed a hidden camera and recording equipment after a cooperating witness reported Mandell’s plan.

Mandell and Engel outfitted the rental location to restrain, torture and kill the victim.

Zachary Fardon

Zachary Fardon

They developed a plan to lure him from his residence; stocked “Club Med” with all the tools they needed to carry out the crimes; and obtained all the trappings they needed to pose as police officers in connection with the victim’s abduction.

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Former Chicago Policeman Gets Life for Plan to Kidnap, Torture, Extort and Murder — 4 Comments

  1. maybe I missed something but this guy gets life just for thinking about creating some mayhem

    did he actually commit a crime?

  2. A conspiracy can be abandoned right up to the moment of the actual act, thus the conspiracy itself and not its aim is the crime he was tried for.

    He’d gone pretty far down the road toward doing the deed, and the surveillance video was pretty grisly.

    But until he actually committed the act, no matter how gruesome it was planned to be, I’m with Bill, the sentence seems out of proportion to the actual crimes that were committed.

    What would he have gotten had he actually committed the murder, 2 life sentences?

  3. You know if you folks don’t have the stomach for it.

    I’m sure you could work out a fee arrangement with Texas Corrections Huntsville Unit.

    Instead of spending millions in defending and housing this steaming hot mess, he should have been sent to the infernal regions his first mis step.

    Instead you folks worry if he got a fair shake after a lifetime of lunacy.

    Only in Illinois.

  4. Bill and Steve, if this is the same man I’m thinking of–he had quite the history of high level crime and mayhem (as in gangland style heavy hitter stuff).

    If that’s the case and I’m remembering right, I see no dis proportionality here and this is one bad guy in need of being housed away from the world.

    As I recall this man was on death row for years and got off due to a technicality.

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