Episode 024: Terry Hake – Operation Greylord Judicial Corruption (Part 1)


Former FBI agent Terry Hake officially served seven years with the FBI. However, his service to the Bureau, the Department of Justice, and other federal law enforcement agencies actually spanned more than 23 years. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Terry is interviewed about working undercover as a crooked defense attorney in the largest public corruption investigation in America. When the investigation—code named Operation Greylord—was initiated, Terry was a young Assistant State’s Attorney fed up with corruption in the Cook County, Illinois court system. He wore a wire for three-and-a-half years fully aware that he could have been jeopardizing his reputation and law career in doing so. At the conclusion of the undercover operation, Terry testified in 23 trials over the next 10 years and eighty-three judges, lawyers, court personnel and policeman were convicted for accepting bribes to fix court cases. Terry has written a book—Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust— about his experiences and provides an insider’s look into the case.

Terrence Hake

Special Agent (Former)

2/2/81 – 2/1/88

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Operation Greylord

Several newspaper articles about Operation Greylord, along with an overview of the case found on the FBI website are linked below:

Investigations of Public Corruption Rooting Crookedness Out of Government

22 More Indicted In Greylord

Operation Greylord Winds Down

Operation Greylord Documentary (Video)

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The Cook County Courthouse where Terry passed bribes to judges through bagmen. In the last trial, a judge was convicted of fixing three murders cases. A first in the United States.










This is the “mini” recording device Terry used to record his conversations with judges, other lawyers, and bagmen during Operation Greylord. It was approximately the size of a thick iPhone. Interesting trivia: Nagra means “[it] will record” in Polish.













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Terry was sworn in as a special agent in a garage while still working undercover with Operation Greylord.









Terry’s true crime book Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust can be purchased here and at other local and online bookstores.















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 200 episodes available for free subscription on all popular podcast apps.

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