Final Baltimore Police Officer Sentenced in Towing Extortion Scheme
15 Police Officers Convicted and Sentenced in the Scheme
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Kelvin Quade Manrich, age 43, of Middle River, Maryland today to 41 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit and committing extortion under color of official right in connection with a scheme in which brothers Hernan Moreno and Edwin Mejia paid Manrich and over 50 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 Manrich to pay restitution of $5,000 to the Baltimore Police Department and $5,714.37 to the victim insurance company.
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 Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Barksdale of the Baltimore City Police Department.
Manrich changed his plea to guilty after five days of trial. He admitted that, beginning in the spring of 2008, he agreed to contact Moreno and Mejia for towing and repair services for vehicles even though Majestic was not an authorized tow company for the City of Baltimore. In exchange, Mejia or Moreno paid Manrich $300 for each vehicle sent to Majestic.
Specifically, while responding to the scene of an accident, Manrich would contact Moreno and provide him with the details of the accident. Manrich would persuade accident victims to allow their cars to be towed or otherwise delivered to Majestic by telling the victims that Majestic could tow the car, provide repair services, help with the insurance claim, assist in getting a rental car and waive the owner’s deductible. In some cases the accident victims’ cars were towed even if the vehicle was not actually disabled. Later, Manrich arranged to meet Moreno or Mejia to receive cash for steering the car owner to Majestic.
At sentencing, the Court agreed with the government that Manrich was aware that other officers were involved in the scheme and that Majestic was adding damage to vehicles to increase its profit. Accordingly, the Court found that between $70,000 and $120,000 in losses was reasonably forseeable to Manrich.
Hernan Alexis Moreno, age 32, of Rosedale, and Edwin Javier Mejia, age 29, of Middle River, previously pleaded guilty to the extortion conspiracy and are scheduled to be sentenced on 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. Manrich is the last officer to be sentenced. The officers received between eight and 42 months in prison.
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.