BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A third Baltimore police officer has pleaded guilty in federal court to robbing and illegally detaining residents and billing for overtime hours not worked.
Former Baltimore Police Detective Jemell Rayam admitted to terrorizing citizens, committing robbery after robbery, and trying to cover it all up.
The feds say he also falsified overtime reports and even spent a day gambling at a casino, when he was supposed to be on the clock.
Former Detective Rayam was part of an elite gun unit that prosecutors say went rogue, committing at least 15 robberies, sometimes using his police-issued weapon. He’s now the latest officer to plead guilty in the scandal.
“Under a federal system, you automatically get three points reduced off the sentencing guideline for pleading guilty. So it’s always advantageous to plead guilty if you think you will be convicted,” says Rayam’s attorney, Dennis Boyle.
Among the victims is the owner of a feed store on Patapsco Avenue. Detective Rayam was involved in a plot to steal hundreds of dollars from her. She declined to speak on the advice of her lawyer, but says she would have never known he was involved, if not been for the FBI contacting her.
Prosecutors say Rayam intercepted police officers responding to the robbery, saying he had it under control. He even placed a tracking device on a victim’s car so he could see when he wasn’t home.
Rayam’s family had nothing to say following the plea, though his father defended him earlier this year.
“He’s a good man,” says his father.
He’s the third of eight officers indicted in this scandal to make a plea deal.
Two other police officers plead guilty to racketeering over the summer. Maurice Ward, and Evodio Hendrix admitted to stealing from citizens, lying on police reports, taking tropical vacations while claiming they were on the job.
The big question remaining: will he cooperate with prosecutors to bring down the rest?
“There’s a lot more that is going to happen. Sentencing will in several months. And maybe we will be able to say more at that time,” says Boyle.
The feds say Rayam initially tipped off fellow officers to this investigation. A fourth officer, Det. Momodu Gondo, called “G Money” in wiretapped phone calls is expected to plead guilty on Thursday.
Rayam told the judge he will pay back the money he stole and an exact amount will be determined at sentencing
Sergeants Wayne Jenkins, as well as Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor have plead not guilty. Their trials are scheduled to begin in January.
The case has had a profound impact on criminal cases in Baltimore. Prosecutors have dropped more than 100 cases involving the indicted officers.