Former Detroit Deputy Chief Of Police Sentenced To 12 Months In Prison For Bribery
Former Deputy Chief of Police for the Detroit Police Department, Celia Washington, 57, of Detroit, was sentenced to twelve months in prison today based on her conviction for conspiring with Gasper Fiore to commit bribery in connection with the corruption of towing permits in Detroit, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced today.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Timothy Slater, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service.
Washington was sentenced today before United States District Judge David Lawson who also ordered Washington to pay a fine of $2,500 and be under supervision of the court for a period of two years following completion of her sentence.
While serving as a Deputy Police Chief and the legal advisor to the Chief of Police, Washington accepted multiple bribes from the owners of towing companies while Washington’s responsibilities included overseeing the Detroit Police Department’s permitting, licensing, and use of private towing companies. Washington was convicted of bribery conspiracy in January 2018 after she admitted accepting $4,000 in cash from tow company owner Gasper Fiore. Previously, in December 2017, Fiore had pleaded guilty to bribing Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds in connection with a Clinton Township towing contract.
At her guilty plea hearing, Washington had admitted that she knew that Fiore was using the cash bribe to seek to influence her in the selection of tow rotations in the City of Detroit for Fiore’s towing companies. Under the city’s towing rotation, private towing companies are called by the police to tow cars that are seized by the police or had been stolen. When she accepted the bribe, Washington was aware that Fiore was violating the City of Detroit’s rules prohibiting a towing company owner from having more than one company in the rotation for a particular police precinct or district. After she accepted the $3,000 cash bribe from Fiore, Washington assisted in issuing a police towing rotation list that continued to allow Fiore to violate the city’s towing rules and that significantly benefited Fiore’s companies.
Besides accepting $4,000 in cash from Fiore in 2016, Washington had accepted other bribes from Fiore and another owner of a towing company. Fiore had paid over $800 for drinks at Washington’s birthday party at the Granite City restaurant. Washington also accepted $2,400 in repairs on her personal car from another tow company owner, as well as a $2,700 cash “loan” from that same owner, half of which Washington claimed she paid back. Finally, Washington purchased a car for $5,000 from one tow company owner, and then Fiore gave Washington $5,000 in cash to pay for the car purchase for her.
United States Attorney Schneider said, “Former Deputy Police Chief Washington’s corruption was particularly egregious because she was a high-level police official and a licensed attorney at the same time. While the grand majority of police officers are honest and dedicated, we will not tolerate bribery by any police officer charged with protecting the rule of law and our community.”
“Former Deputy Police Chief Washington violated the public’s trust by accepting bribes for her own financial gain,” said Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit FBI. “These actions are not representative of the dedicated men and women of the Detroit Police Department. The FBI will continue to investigate individuals who commit criminal acts that erode the public’s confidence.”
This case is part of the government’s wide-ranging corruption investigation centered in Macomb County, Michigan. The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Gardey and R. Michael Bullotta.