Former East Cleveland police officer sentenced to nearly four years in prison
A former East Cleveland police officer was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for his role in a conspiracy in which he kept thousands of dollars from alleged drug dealers, much of which was seized through illegal searches and fabricated reports, said Carole S. Rendon, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office.
Eric Jones pleaded previously guilty to one count of conspiracy against rights and one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy
Malone, of Cleveland, and Antonio Jones, of Cleveland Heights, were detectives assigned to the Street Crimes Unit. They were supervised by Sgt. Torris Moore. The unit, including Moore, Malone and Jones, were familiar with several drug traffickers, according to court documents.
From 2014 through June 2014, the defendants conspired to unlawfully enter premises and exceed the scope of lawful entry, thereafter conducting unlawful searches and seizures, used their power to seize money and property for themselves under the guise of legitimate search warrants, and created and approved false reports, affidavits and other documents to conceal their illegal searches and seizures, according to court documents.
These illegal searches took place in East Cleveland but also outside city limits, in various locations throughout Greater Cleveland. The conspirators placed false and inaccurate information in police reports, which Moore reviewed, knew was incorrect, but she failed to correct the inaccuracies. This false information was used to obtain search warrants, according to court documents.
The conspirators seized money and property during these searches, and diverted some of the seized money and property for their own use. Malone provided false information to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office about certain investigative techniques in order to conceal their illegal conduct, including attributing information to a confidential informant that did not exist, according to court documents.
For example, on Sept. 10, 2012, Jones presented an affidavit to an East Cleveland Municipal Judge, which the conspirators knew contained false and misleading statements. The judge, unaware of false information, issued a search warrant for a home on Sheldon Avenue. Moore, Malone, Jones and another officer then executed the search warrant and seized $20,000. On Sept. 11, Moore, Malone and Jones met at a park in East Cleveland and divided a portion of the $20,000, which each officer receiving between $2,000 and $3,000. Jones then authored a report reflecting that they had seized a total of $11,173, according to court documents.
On June 20, 2013, SCU officers searched a home on East 85th Street. Malone, without a search warrant, forced his way into a room that was secured by a padlock and seized approximately $100,000 in cash. Moore, Malone and Jones removed a portion of the cash before causing the remainder to be secured in the East Cleveland Police Department’s evidence room. Later that day, the three officers met at an East Cleveland park and divided the money, with each receiving about $10,000. Malone later wrote the search resulted in the recovery of $74,670, according to court documents.
On June 19, 2014, Malone encountered a parked car driven by a known drug trafficker, identified in the indictment only as M.M. Malone arrested M.M., who told the officer he had approximately $11,000 or $12,000 in the car’s glove box. Malone agreed to release M.M. but insisted on towing the car. Malone said: “I looked out for you. You gotta look out for me,” before instructing M.M. to get the cash from the glove box but to leave behind $3,000. Malone removed $3,000 from M.M.’s car but did not list the money when he completed the vehicle’s inventory form, according to court documents.
Torris Moore pleaded guilty late last year to one count each of conspiracy against rights, Hobbs Act conspiracy and false statements to law enforcement and two counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. She was sentenced to nine years in prison
Officers Antonio Malone pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against rights and one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy. His sentencing is pending.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward F. Feran following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Cleveland Division, with assistance from the East Cleveland Police Department and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.