Former Philadelphia Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Extortion Scheme
PHILADELPHIA - Christopher Saravello, 37, of Philadelphia, PA, pleaded guilty today, to a scheme to extort drugs and money from drug dealers and drug buyers while working as a Philadelphia Police Officer. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion and five counts of Hobbs Act extortion.
Between November 2011 and June 2012, while employed as a Philadelphia Police Officer assigned to the 6th District, Saravello conspired with others to rob drug dealers and drug buyers of cash and Oxycontin and other controlled substances. Saravello’s co-conspirators would alert him to a drug transaction. Saravello would then interrupt the planned drug transaction, identifying himself as a law enforcement officer by approaching the transaction in a marked police vehicle, wearing a police uniform, displaying an official badge and identification, or verbally identifying himself as a police officer. Saravello seized the money or narcotics brought to the transaction by the buyer or seller victim and shared the seized proceeds with his co-conspirators. In doing so, Saravello used his position as a police officer to extort drugs and money from others. The scheme resulted in the illegal taking of more than $9,800 in drug money and quantities of Oxycontin and other narcotics.
U.S. district Court Judge Eduardo Robreno scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 2, 2015. Saravello faces a maximum possible sentence of 120 years in prison, $1.5 million fine, three years of supervised release and a $600 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlene Fisk.