Eleventh Baltimore Police Officer Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison In Majestic Towing Company Extortion Scheme
Also Filed False Insurance Claims to Pay for Repairs to His Personal Car
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Baltimore Police officer, Rodney Cintron, age 32, of Middle River, Maryland, today to 42 months 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 Alexis Moreno and Edwin Javier Mejia paid Cintron 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 ordered Cintron to pay restitution of $20,000 to the Baltimore Police Department and $20,604.49 to four insurance companies.
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, Cintron agreed with Moreno and Mejia that while acting in his official capacity as a Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officer at an accident scene, Cintron 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. Cintron admitted that while on the scene of an accident, he would call Moreno or Mejia and provide details of the accident, including the type of car and extent of damage. Moreno or Mejia would come to the accident scene and arrange for the car to be driven or towed to Majestic. Mejia or Moreno would pay Cintron up to $300 for each vehicle that arrived at Majestic.
From January to August, 2009, Moreno paid Cintron in checks totaling over $13,000 for vehicles that he had referred to Majestic. From mid - 2008 to June 2010, Moreno also paid Cintron in cash and by check to Cintron’s wife.
Further, Cintron agreed that Moreno and Mejia would create additional damage to other 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 Cintron, and the payment of the vehicle owner’s deductible. Cintron falsified police reports indicating that some vehicles had more damage than they actually had.
Cintron also recruited other BPD officers to participate in the scheme.
Additionally, on June 11, 2009, Cintron made a false claim to his insurance company, claiming that his personal car had been vandalized when he was on vacation, resulting in damage to the sides and hood of the car. In reality, Cintron’s car was scratched on one side prior to the vacation, and had damage to the other side from running into an object. Cintron wanted to have his entire car repainted. Moreno agreed to add additional damage to the car to support Cintron’s vandalism claim. Cintron’s insurance company paid Cintron $4,346.06 for the repairs. Thereafter, on February 17, 2010, Cintron called his insurance company again claiming that he had damaged his car while driving in the middle lane of Pulaski Highway in Baltimore City, and that a car next to him lost control and hit his car, causing him to hit a gate. Cintron also claimed that another police officer responded to the incident. In reality, Cintron’s wife damaged the car while pulling out of their garage. The insurance company paid Majestic $5,121.85 to repair the car and $250 to Cintron directly.
The total loss caused by Cintron’s conduct is at least $120,000.
Ten other Baltimore Police officers have been sentenced to date, to eight to 30 months in prison: Leonel Rodriguez, age 32, of Essex, Maryland; Osvaldo Valentine, age 40, of Edgewood, Maryland, Jhonn Corona, age 33, of Rosedale, and Jerry Diggs, Jr., age 25, of Baltimore, each to 30 months in prison; Rafael Concepcion Feliciano, Jr., age 31, of Baltimore, to two years in prison; Henry Yambo, age 29, of Owings Mills, to 15 months in prison; Michael Cross, age 29, of Reisterstown, to 10 months in prison; and Eddie Arias, age 40, of Catonsville, David Reeping, age 42, of Arburtus, and Jermaine Rice, age 29, of Woodstock, all 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 is scheduled for September 5, 2012. Fourteen police officers 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.