Former Detroit Police Department Officer Charles Wills was sentenced today to twenty-six months’ imprisonment for accepting bribes from an owner of an automobile collision shop in exchange for referring stolen and abandoned vehicles recovered in the City of Detroit to that shop, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced today.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Timothy Slater, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Patricia Armstrong, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Detroit Division and Chief James Craig, Detroit Police Department, Patricia Armstrong, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Detroit Division and Chief James Craig, Detroit Police Department. The defendant was actively employed with the Detroit Police Department at the time of the offense.
Charles Wills, age 53, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland. Wills previously pleaded guilty to two counts of extortion.
According to the facts alleged in the superseding indictment and further developed at the plea hearing and in sentencing briefing, Wills accepted cash payments from the owner/operator of a Detroit collision shop in exchange for referring abandoned vehicles to that shop for repairs. Wills also accepted cash from other collision shops, wrote false police reports, and introduced another officer to the scheme of accepting cash in exchange for referring vehicles to collision shops.
This is the fifth defendant to have been sentenced as a result of this investigation. The sixth defendant, Deonne Dotson, is awaiting trial.
All of the Officers were charged with engaging in extortion for using their official positions as Police Officers to refer cars to certain collision shops in exchange for cash payments.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Detroit Police Department and the following agencies from the FBI Detroit Area Corruption Task Force: Michigan State Police and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Professional Responsibility, Investigative Operation Division.
The FBI Detroit Area Corruption Task Force is comprised of personnel from the Detroit Division of the FBI; Michigan State Police; Michigan Department of Attorney General; Detroit Police Department; U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Professional Responsibility, Investigative Operations Division; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General; U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General; U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General; and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Inspector General.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Resnick Cohen and Craig A. Weier