FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
APRIL 13, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE POLICE OFFICER SENTENCED TO 2 YEARS IN PRISON
IN MAJESTIC TOWING COMPANY EXTORTION SCHEME
Sixth Baltimore Police Officer Sentenced to Date
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Baltimore Police officer Rafael Concepcion Feliciano, Jr., age 31, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit, and committing, extortion under color of official right in connection with a scheme in which brothers Hernan Moreno and Edwin Mejia paid Feliciano and other officers to arrange for their car repair company, Majestic, rather than a city-authorized company, to tow vehicles from accident scenes and make repairs. Judge Blake also entered an order that Feliciano pay restitution of $24,084.84, including $10,000 to be paid to the Baltimore Police Department.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III.
According to his plea agreement, in 2008, Feliciano was introduced to Moreno and Mejia by fellow officer Rodney Cintron. Feliciano knew that Cintron was being paid by Moreno to refer accident vehicles to Majestic. Feliciano and Moreno agreed that Moreno would pay Feliciano cash for each car that he referred from accident scenes to Majestic. Feliciano then began referring cars to Majestic. Feliciano, while acting as a police officer at accident scenes, would contact Moreno and Majestic for towing and repair services for vehicles even though Majestic was not an authorized tow company for the City of Baltimore. Moreno or Mejia would come to the accident scene and arrange for the car to be driven or towed to Majestic. Mejia or Moreno then paid Feliciano $150 and eventually $300, for each vehicle that arrived at Majestic. From January to August, 2009, Moreno paid Feliciano in checks totaling $3,950 for vehicles that he had referred to Majestic. After August 2009, Moreno paid Feliciano in cash.
Although he never witnessed it, Feliciano also understood that Moreno and Mejia would create additional damage to certain vehicles in order to increase the vehicle insurance claims, thereby increasing the net profit for Majestic as well as covering both the cash bribe payment to Feliciano, and the payment of the vehicle owner’s deductible. Feliciano also falsified police accident reports at Moreno’s request, in exchange for money. Feliciano completed those false reports using information provided by Moreno, even though Feliciano had never been to the alleged accident scene, nor had he personally witnessed the damage cause. Feliciano would leave the reports in the mailbox at Majestic, knowing that Moreno would submit those reports to insurance companies for payment on false accident claims.
The total loss caused by Feliciano’s conduct is between $120,00 and $200,000.
Five other Baltimore Police officers have been sentenced to date, to eight to 30 months in prison: Jerry Diggs, Jr., age 25, of Baltimore, to 30 months in prison; David Reeping, age 42, of Arburtus, Maryland, to eight months in prison; Michael Cross, age 29, of Reisterstown, Maryland, to 10 months in prison; Henry Yambo, age 29, of Owings Mills, Maryland, to 15 months in prison; and Jermaine Rice, age 29, of Woodstock, Maryland, to eight months in prison.
Hernan Alexis Moreno, age 31, of Rosedale, Maryland and Edwin Javier Mejia, age 28, of Middle River, Maryland pleaded guilty to the extortion conspiracy and face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison at their sentencing, which has not been scheduled. A total of 14 police officers, including Rodney Cintron, have pleaded guilty to the extortion conspiracy in federal court and one officer pleaded guilty in state court. One officer was convicted by a federal jury after a six day trial.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Tonya N. Kelly and Kathleen O. Gavin, who prosecuted the case.