17 Baltimore Police Officers Charged In Extortion Scheme

ROSEDALE, Md. (WJZ)—An elaborate extortion scheme generated thousands of dollars. Investigators say it was Baltimore City police officers and the owners of a local business who were behind it all. 

Kelly McPherson explains how investigators say the operation worked.

In a two-year investigation, federal authorities claim 17 officers took kickbacks for illegally steering car accident victims to a Rosedale auto body shop.

Majestic Auto Repair Shop in Rosedale is at the center of the massive kickback scheme, involving 17 city police officers.

A 41-page federal criminal complaint outlines the allegations, claiming the officers would respond to car accidents and convince car owners to have their cars towed and repaired by Majestic rather than a city authorized towing company.

In exchange, Majestic paid the officers kickbacks of $300 per vehicle with one officer allegedly making more than $14,000 over two years.

According to that complaint, one officer said to the shop owner:  “My pay made me cry with that two percent cut, which is less $100 from my check.”   The shop owner responds, “Keep an eye out for cars.  That’s where you’ll make it.”

 The following defendants, all from Maryland, are charged in the conspiracy:

Hernan Alexis Moreno Mejia (Moreno), age 30, of Rosedale; Moreno’s brother, Edwin Javier Mejia, age 27, of Middle River; Eddy Arias, age 39, of Catonsville; Eric Ivan Ayala Olivera, age 35, of Edgewood; Rodney Cintron, age 31, of Middle River; Jhonn S. Corona, age 32, of Rosedale; Michael Lee Cross, age 28, of Reisterstown; Jerry Edward Diggs, Jr., age 24, of Baltimore; Rafael Concepcion Feliciano Jr., age 30, of Baltimore; Jaime Luis Lugo Rivera, age 35, of Aberdeen; Kelvin Quade Manrich, age 41, of Gwynn Oak; Luis Nunez, age 33, of Baltimore; Samuel Ocasio, age 35, of Edgewood; David Reeping, age 41, of Baltimore; Jermaine Rice, age 28, of Owings Mills; Leonel Rodriguez Torres, age 31, of Edgewood; Marcos Fernando Urena, age 33, of Baltimore; Osvaldo Valentine, age 38, of Edgewood; and Henry Yambo, age 28, of Reisterstown.

The Baltimore Police Department requires that when police request vehicle towing services, they only use towing companies that are under contract with the city of Baltimore to provide towing services for the Baltimore Police Department.

Defendants Moreno and Mejia are brothers who own Majestic Auto Repair Shop LLC (Majestic), located in Rosedale. Majestic provides towing and automobile repair services.  Majestic is not an authorized tow company with the city of Baltimore.  The remaining defendants are Baltimore police officers.

The commissioner set up the sting arrest by bringing the accused officers to the police academy Wednesday.

Police commissioner Fred Bealefeld says he purposefully chose to have the officers arrested at the police academy to serve as a reminder to the city and his officers of their commitment to fight corruption.  He says the officers were told to report there Wednesday morning for an equipment inspection.

“I personally took the badges from every one of those men who were arrested today,” said Commissioner Fred Bealefeld.  “There will be important lessons for us to learn from start to finish in this whole thing and I didn’t and don’t want to miss a single opportunity to capitalize on that and that’s why I chose that location. We just can’t give order to corruption.  We can’t and won’t and will exhaust every means to eliminating it from our ranks.”

The FBI says the investigation began with the city police department and involved wiretaps and electronic surveillance all started by the city police department.

“There is absolutely nobody in this police department that should be hanging their heads right now. The police department did a very good job rooting out alleged corruption within their own ranks and they should be very proud of that effort,” said Richard McFeely, FBI.

Fifteen of the officers had their first court appearance Wednesday. Police are trying to track down two of the officers who have not yet been arrested because they were on previously scheduled vacation.

All of them have been stripped of their police powers and are suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

“When we have a few bad apples, they make it bad for all of them.  And the officers that we have in our city make too many sacrifices for that to be the case,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

She also released a statement.

“I expect all City employees to serve the public with the highest level of integrity, and I will not tolerate criminal or unethical activity by any city employee. I appreciate the efforts of Commissioner Bealefeld and our federal partners for working closely together to investigate, arrest, and prosecute these individuals. Any criminal activity by a Baltimore police officer dishonors our city and the 3,000 men and women of the Baltimore Police Department who serve with great professionalism and integrity.”

Police say the owners of the Majestic Body Shop spent thousands of dollars in exchange for bringing cars to their shop for repair work.

Federal agents and officers were at the shop Wednesday for several hours, according to witnesses. They were pulling out boxes, presumably full of evidence from inside the shop.

The shop is currently closed.

WJZ spoke to a nearby business owner who said sometimes the business at Majestic would get so busy that cars would have to park in the lot across the street.

That business owner says he did not suspect anything.

“I know them because they are my neighbors,” said Hanrek Singh, Club 7400 owner. “But I don’t know what they’re doing in there.”

While Singh says Majestic owners were “good guys,” another neighbor did say that he was not surprised to see police activity, but he was not aware of what was going on.

Click here to read the full affidavit.

Stay with WJZ.COM for the latest on this developing story.

  • Taylor

    This recycling bit. How come they use to have a plant where all the garbage was taken and they had people sorting it all. Now they want citizens to do it for them. Oh I see they canned their butts so they wouldn’t have to use the graft money to pay them for the stinky job. And I pay taxes to pay them.

    • porchhound

      Ummm…how many latino names can you get on one charge sheet…just wonderin

    • Uncle Buck

      Doesn’t surprize me. Most cops are corrupt. I notice a lot of the names are Mexican or Blacks. Living in America but not really American.

      • adw

        So, if someone is white we say that they are mentally ill of we don’t report it at all. The basis of your comments are racially motivated whether you admit it or not. Crime is crime whoever the persons who committed them. They should be prosecuted based on their crime not their race and that should be done equally.

      • Bmore Boss

        yea a redskin like u


      Who cares? theirs just as many thieves in the police department as there are in any other industry. Is this a shock. What id like to know is why this website is hiding the story about the new law being considered in Annapolis legalzing Medical Marijuana.

      This story has almost 100 comments but other stories with half as many comments are being featured in the “Most Commented Stories” section. Is is really the most commented stories or is it merely a place for our local politicians to highlight more propaganda courtesy of this website?

  • Danielle Gerecht

    hmmm… could some tell me wat a “corruption case” is?

  • Christy

    We were involved in an accident on Orelans street and the officer was going to let us drive the vehicle home but when his commander showed up he was a very rude person and demanded we get our vehicle towed. He would not let us drive it for nothing. Karma is payback.

    • Atim Ant

      BCPD protocol states if a vehicle is immobilized in an accident, then it is required to be towed, either by a company contracted by BCPD or by means of the Accident victim.
      However, If the vehicle is drivable, then IT CAN BE DRIVEN AWAY FROM THE SCENE OF THE COLLISION. The “commander” violated your rights by demanding your vehicle to be towed. If you remember his name, you should open a suit for unnecessary expenses, and violation of civil rights.

      • jimmy king

        perhaps the “commander” believed it was not drivable due to damage suffered in the accident?

  • Jim Nollik

    That’s it? A towing scheme? Dig deeper FBI.

    • vince

      Are you serious. Evern heard of “kickbacks”, “corruption”, “insurance fraud”.

      • SIU

        Hey Sven, did you ever stop and think for a just a second to release that you pay so much for insurance mostly because of all the fraudulent claims being filed. hmmmmm

      • sven

        I wouldn’t call insurance fraud a crime…..with the amount of money they make off of us.

  • ha-ha

    Seriously,,,that’s it..just sounds like a side hustle…nothing wrong with that with the econmy like it is today..

    • Bill Evans

      There is a lot of wrong with that. I had a minor accident. Cop insisted that my car was towed. Next day, when I went to take a look at my car, instead of small dent, the whole back was smashed in. To add insult to injury, I had computer monitor in the trunk and it was gone, together with tools and fishing equipment. When I filed complain with state police, instead of investigating them, police started to investigate me. I had to hire a lawyer to make the thing to go away. Insurance company was sympathetic, but since I had no proof, there was nothing they could do. Do you still think that there is nothing wrong with it ?

      • Pat

        I had a similar situation – but not nearly as bad. I got towed from a legal spot, but how do you prove that? Lots of things removed from my car including credit cards I was STUPID to leave in the car. But when I spoke up, I was suddenly “behaving suspiciously”. It was clear the police wouldn’t investigate anyone except possibly me unless I backed down. On my own, I was able to track down the person who started using my credit cards (Son of person who owned the towing company) and got the bank involved in that. Suddenly the police showed up – to convince the bank not to press charges!!!

      • Sara Rall

        I think you should call the FBI and tell them your story. There may be more than one shop involved.

    • jimjim

      lol. yeah right. COPS taking kick backs? Put it on their permanent record. If it were me or you with as Security clearance (which they have) we’d be in deep doodoo. EVEN IF THEY ARE BLACK!

    • RD

      Are you serious ha-ha? From a police officer, this is unexcusable. While it may not be some ugly case like taking bribes from drug dealers, the officers should know better. Besides, if they are willing to do sometihng as stupid as this, how far are the willing to step over the line. BCP has a number of great officer and BCP should not be judged as a whole on this incident, but these officer deserve whatever they get.

    • Tired of Idiots

      Its idiots like you that help the system fail

  • 1uniquemonique

    My car was impounded by the city back in Dec. 2009 to Pulaski Hwy. Well, the driver alleges he was working for the city. When me and my friend arrived to pick up my car about an hour later, they had no record of my car ever being impounded. We found it sitting behind an auto repair shop on Pulaski Hwy. I wonder if these are the same people.

  • MD Ex-pat

    My roommate’s car was stolen out of the Cordish powerplant employee parking lot while she was at work. That is literally half a block from the downtown police station. It was found a week later at a park and ride. Instead of letting her come and pick it up even though it was driveable, they told her in advance they were towing it to an impound yard. That way she was forced to pay $200 to get it back.

    When we got it back it was full of some guys stuff including his mail with his full name and address. When I called the police to inform them of this potential suspect they laughed and told me to call back in 6 weeks when a certain officer came back from vacation.

    Not much justice, but hey, at least the city got $200 out of it. I still wish I’d gone over to that house in Glen Burnie to ask that guy how his mail and belongings ended up in her car.

    I have met a few honest and decent Baltimore cops but only a few. A couple of homicide detectives and a few “violent crimes task force” members come to mind… The majority of uniformed patrol officers I’ve met have been rude and quick to violence so that’s why stories like this warm my heart. While I know none of these cops will see jail time they will loose their jobs, pensions, and the ability to be untouchable sociopaths. I sincerely hope one of these guys is one of the two cops who threatened me with arrest for “loitering” on a public sidewalk when I had just been assaulted by 4 people I’d never met.

    • San Diego Steve

      We are really in trouble when we need protection from the police. A crooked or rogue officer is the most dangerous person around, since he or she has the authority to use deadly force and is backed up by the law’s power. My cousin was severely beaten by a cop in Atlantic City, although he did nothing. When he protested the beating, this brutal cop said: “Why don’t you call the cops?’ Very funny. I hope that these crooked Baltimore cops get exactly what they deserve, including appropriate prison time.

    • zaks5thave

      Just remember keep voting demoncrat. We all know they are for the little guy. Oops, sorry that does not include the fetus variety.

      • Julie

        Amen zaks. Crooked cops in Baltimore City? I’m shocked! Shocked I say! And with all the rampant violent crime in the city, (a city that has been run 100% by the Democratic Party for over 50 plus years and yet they blame everything on Republicans) and the idiots in the city keep voting them in office. Also ironic how the bunny huggers and save the little baby seals people have no problem with crushing the skulls and sucking the brains out of innocent babies via abortion. Go figure.

  • nika c.

    This is really sad here we are looking for the police to help us but damn the too bzy scheming now tell me y the government just shouldn’t just let us as citizens just do watever cuz the police aren’t protecting us and by time the fbi is through with there investigation we will be protecting ourselves anyway. The jail system is corrupt the police are corrupt really where is our protection? I guess its in ourselves this is a lesson to be learned that u just can’t trust no 1 at all….. GOD please help us I pray to u

    • Atim Ant

      Like it or not, the police department provides checks and balances to the economy. If there was no police department, the city would be a warzone. there would be crime everywhere, every day. You, and countless other women would be raped repeatedly, and no one could do anything about it. Not even your God.
      Just because a few police officers are dirty, doesn’t mean they all are.

      • datroot

        “You, and countless other women would be raped repeatedly,”

        Don’t sound so hopeful, dirtball. Plenty of good men are willing to step up and defend the innocent without sucking the taxpayer’s teat. A rape in progress can be stopped with a brick to the aggressor’s skull even quicker than it can be stopped with a phone call to some disinterested party across town.

      • jimjim

        yeah there was uh…. 400 dollars in the car maam. Nope we dont see your 1000 dollars. we only found 400. sorry maam. A Cop wouldnt lie now would he?

  • redemption

    How bout the cops who work second jobs because they can carry a firearm, get paid under the table in cash (no W-2 here), do not report the income on their tax returns, and nothing happens to them.


    • Atim Ant

      How do you know this to be true?

      • Darrkwingg

        Come on Atim Ant We both know redemption is right! That happens ALL the time!
        Officers work unauthorized all the time and pocket the money with no taxes or reported income! Trust me!

  • sonetelle

    Wake up people, this has been going on for years. The other company they used to use was Bermans. And before your vehicle would even hit the impound lot any and everything including freshly brought groceries would be stolen. I know from personal experience.

  • Mark Matis

    What a surprise! More corrupt pigs!

    The stench is overwhelming. But a sincere “Thank You!” to those officers who DARED arrest this swill!

  • Dettom

    Why does that list of cops read like a who’s who of Tijuana Mexico PD?

  • Billiam

    Any of those involved illegals? Wouldn’t surprise me if they were. Look, people, it doesn’t matter what the profession is any more. People are going to dishonest things at the drop of a hat; this should come as no surprise to anyone. The entire towing system (if you can call it that) is a sham. $200 for the tow and then another $80 a day for “storage?” Like 95% of the cars at the Pulaski Highway lot are ever going to be claimed? My thought process is how could they think someone wouldn’t have blown the whiistle on them? I’m surprised it took this long for this half-baked idea to come to the attention of the public. But, in the end, let’s see what kind of “sentence” they get.

    • It's a shame

      They were not illegal! Hum Baltimore city is ticked off because they didn’t get their cut. Bad part is how many other serious criminal charges-drugs,murder,battery, etc will be overturned or dropped because of this.

    • lovely

      hey dumb ass…”any of those involved illegals? Wouldn’t surprise me if they were.” Those listed are cops, impossible to be illegal, and the two business owners. Also impossible to have a company registered to an illegal. I happen to know those owners, and they are naturalized citizens of The Unites States of America!

      • jr

        Yes, impossible to be illegal and be a cop… like it is impossible to be president of the USA without being a natural born citizen?

      • Billiam

        Oh, lovely, you are sadly mistaken – you need to check your “dumb ass” at the door. It’s not impossible to do anything, it’s not impossible to be someone you’re not, and it’s certainly not impossible to be an “illegal” and obtain work in the fair city of Baltimore. Trust me on this one. If you know the owners, that’s enough said. Maybe the question to ask was Majestic employing “illegals?”

  • Nunyabizness

    It’s “Charm City” folks what did you expect??
    It could be worse, it could be D.C.!!

  • Pa Girl

    How fascinating that they mostly appear, from the names, to be Hispanics and Blacks. No wonder there are no photos of the alleged perpetrators. Doesn’t go along with the Press’ pro minority, anti White, bias. Might this have something to do with the Baltimore Police Department’s crusade for “diversity” ? The stated desire of the Baltimore Police Department to hire and promote minorities even when they do not score as high as Whites in testing has consequences? Shocking!

    • tony

      Wow. now its a race thing. Let’s see if u can do the job these men and women do. Let’s see u risk ur life for a stranger. When ur ass is getting robbed or victimized in any serious crimes I bet u will be wishing that the pigs showed up to help u.

      • leelee

        Doesnt make it right of what they did. How stupid can they be?

    • ridthem

      you sound hot. i like how you think

  • felipe

    This things happens everywhere are they are not limited to those officers. If this occurred they will have to respond for these accusations, and the State’s Attorney will have to prove the charges. However, this is the exception but not the rule. we still having a large group of officers which work hard to protect the citizens, not limited to the City of Baltimore. Indeed to make firewood for these fallen trees, just pray for their wives and children who have to face their neighbors and knowns, because their friends will be there always if they are real friends.

    • Joe Blow

      What are you talking about? That wasn’t legible English. Good lord, do you work for Charm City or something? Sounds like it based on your awesome grammar skills.

  • Sinjin

    How about that diversity! 90% Spanish last names. Great job liberals. Are these all the cops they recruited from Puerto Rico a few years ago?

    • What?

      Yes, it is.

    • jimmyking

      but…but….but …diversity is so good right?

  • CrabtownUSA

    Hey Freddy Bealefeld, your guys stink from all the corruption! How long are you going to let it go on? Maybe you’d be better working for your old man’s electrician business….just watch your shorts.

  • KingSlav

    Did the accused pay income tax on their “earnings” or will tax evasion charges be next? BTW, didn’t see any Italian or Irish names in that bunch. Coincidence?

  • Just Tex

    Has the Mexican Mafia infiltrated the Baltimore Police Department? Sure seems that way…

  • tijuana her I COME

    that list of defendants does not sound like mayberry U.S.A.-

    Sounds like the daily haul on the Rio Grande by the Border Patrol.

    Baltimore = third world mess.

    this is what happens when you admit third world nationals and pretend that every culture is the same…
    you find that very shortly, the third world immigrants re-create the third wrld mess they originate from, IN YOUR COUNTRY.

  • Slavtrader

    Nearly every name is tied to a Hispanic or black. Tell us again how the notion that increased crime is associated with minority groups is racist and a lie. When will we grow up and realize that it’s time to end affirmative action in the public sector. Thank goodness that we have 2nd amendment rights out here in Arizona, otherwise we’d be at the mercy of crime and corruption like all those peaceniks back east.

    Also, tell Derek to lose the pin in his tongue. The speechimpediment isn’t appropriate for an announcer.

  • Legitimate Shop

    It’s is shops like this one that give honest businesses a bad rap. No wonder people don’t trust mechanics or bodyshops when there are so many scammers out there. You can read the actual filing on the Baltimore Sun’s webpage. There were multiple instances where the bodyshop owner and the police officers damaged the vehicle more in order to make more money.

  • jremminizer

    I can proudly say that I completed 25 years with BPD and never did I take anything. Everything I found or recovered was turned in. Never did I become part of any criminal activity. These guys deserve everything coming to them if they were involved. Just remember, not all police are involved in criminal activity.There are still alot of good police out there doing a good job.

    • eanmdphd

      Good for the good guys!

    • Kttn

      Thank you for all the years of putting your life on the line to protect and serve. There will always be wolves mascarading as Sheepdogs, but the Sheepdogs will still dog their jobs and protect the flock. Well done, Warrrior.

  • Just Tex

    SinJin, don’t be silly. Although there’s probably an element of Affirmative Action in play, here in this (latest so called) “Public Servant” scandal, the problem is that we’ve not just imported too many people too quickly, but that we’ve also imported the same corrupt culture that has always kept Third World countries firmly planted in the Third World. Heck, even the Europeans are finally acknowledging that Multiculturalism hasn’t and won’t ever work. It’s past time that we catch on to that fact too!

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