CHICAGO — Three men have been indicted on federal kidnapping charges for allegedly abducting several victims at gunpoint in the Chicago suburbs.
The defendants last year carried out two kidnappings in Naperville and Westchester, and attempted a third in South Holland, according to a superseding indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Charged with participating in a kidnapping conspiracy are SEDGWICK WILLIAMS, 43, of Chicago; IVAN AYERS, 33, of Chicago; and TAI HON LA, 31, of Beach Park. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in federal prison. All three defendants are currently detained in law enforcement custody. Arraignments are scheduled for Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth W. Jantz.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Robert Marshall, Chief of the Naperville Police Department. Valuable assistance in the investigation was provided by the Westchester Police Department and South Holland Police Department. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jared C. Jodrey and Corey B. Rubenstein.
According to the indictment and a recently unsealed federal search warrant, the first kidnapping occurred on Oct. 17, 2019, in Naperville, when the defendants posed as law enforcement officers to abduct a man outside of an electronics store he owned. The defendants allegedly physically assaulted the victim, extorted his family, and burglarized his business. The victim received medical treatment in a hospital.
The defendants carried out a second kidnapping on Nov. 16, 2019, in Westchester, the indictment states. Again posing as law enforcement officers, the defendants abducted a man outside of his residence and forced him back inside his home, where they seized another victim and forced them both into the basement, the indictment and search warrant state. Two other victims later arrived at the residence and were also forced into the basement at gunpoint, the search warrant states. The defendants allegedly stole cash and jewelry before leaving the residence.
The defendants attempted a third kidnapping on Dec. 11, 2019, in South Holland, but were unsuccessful in gaining entry to the intended victim’s home, the search warrant states.
In addition to the conspiracy count, the defendants are also charged with individual kidnapping and attempted kidnapping counts, as well as a count of illegal firearm and ammunition possession. Each of the defendants was prohibited from legally possessing a firearm or ammunition due to a previous felony conviction.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.