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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Four Former East Tennessee Law Enforcement Officers And One Current Officer Indicted For Extortion

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - On Nov. 4, 2014, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Robert E. Cummings, 61, of Knox County, a former University of Tennessee Police Officer; Jimmy W. Douglas, 43, of Knox County, a former deputy sheriff for Knox County Sheriff’s Office; Samuel T. Hardy, Jr., 42, of Knox County, a former deputy sheriff for Knox County Sheriff’s Office; and Benito D. Lopez 62, of Knox County, a former TVA Police Officer. Also, indicted was David L. Joyner, 44, of Sevier County, a detective with the Pigeon Forge Police Department.

The indictment on file with the U.S. District Court charges Cummings, Douglas, Hardy, Joyner and Lopez each with two counts of violating the Hobbs Act. Count One charges conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. Count Two charges attempt to commit extortion under color of official right. Under color of official right, a public official obtains a payment to which he or she is not entitled, believing that the money is being given to him or her in return for taking, withholding, or influencing official action. If convicted, each faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

On Nov. 5, 2014, former Knox County Deputy Robbie D. Flood, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with a violation of the Hobbs Act.

This indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Valley Authority - Office of Inspector General, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Theodore represents the United States case.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 18, 2015