BALTIMORE (NEWS RELEASE/WJZ)— A Baltimore City police officer has been sentenced to prison as a result of an extortion scheme at Majestic Towing Company.
Officer Rafael Concepcion Feliciano Jr., 31, of Baltimore was sentenced Friday to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit and committing extortion in connection with a scheme in which brothers Hernan Moreno and Edwin Mejia paid Feliciano and other officers to allow their car repair company, Majestic, to tow vehicles from accident scenes and make repairs rather than a city-authorized company.
Feliciano was also ordered to pay restitution of $24,084.84, including $10,000 to be paid to the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, in 2008, Feliciano was introduced to Moreno and Mejia by fellow officer Rodney Cintron. Feliciano knew that Cintron was being paid by Moreno to refer accident vehicles to Majestic. Feliciano and Moreno agreed that Moreno would pay Feliciano cash for each car that he referred from accident scenes to Majestic. Feliciano then began referring cars to Majestic. Feliciano, while acting as a police officer at accident scenes, would contact Moreno and Majestic for towing and repair services for vehicles even though Majestic was not an authorized tow company for Baltimore City. Moreno or Mejia would come to the accident scene and arrange for the car to be driven or towed to Majestic. Mejia or Moreno then paid Feliciano $150 and eventually $300 for each vehicle that arrived at Majestic. From January to August 2009, Moreno paid Feliciano in checks totaling $3,950 for vehicles that he had referred to Majestic. After August 2009, Moreno paid Feliciano in cash.
Although he never witnessed it, Feliciano also understood that Moreno and Mejia would create additional damage to certain vehicles in order to increase the vehicle insurance claims, thereby increasing the net profit for Majestic as well as covering both the cash bribe payment to Feliciano and the payment of the vehicle owner’s deductible. Feliciano also falsified police accident reports at Moreno’s request in exchange for money. Feliciano completed those false reports using information provided by Moreno, even though Feliciano had never been to the alleged accident scene, nor had he personally witnessed the damage caused. Feliciano would leave the reports in the mailbox at Majestic, knowing that Moreno would submit those reports to insurance companies for payment on false accident claims.
The total loss caused by Feliciano’s conduct is between $120,000 and $200,000.
Five other Baltimore Police officers have been sentenced to date: Jerry Diggs Jr., 25, of Baltimore, to 30 months in prison; David Reeping, 42, of Arburtus, to eight months in prison; Michael Cross, 29, of Reisterstown, to 10 months in prison; Henry Yambo, 29, of Owings Mills, to 15 months in prison; and Jermaine Rice, 29, of Woodstock, to eight months in prison.
Hernan Alexis Moreno, 31, of Rosedale, and Edwin Javier Mejia, 28, of Middle River, pleaded guilty to the extortion conspiracy and face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison at their sentencing, which has not been scheduled. A total of 14 police officers, including Rodney Cintron, have pleaded guilty to the extortion conspiracy in federal court and one officer pleaded guilty in state court. One officer was convicted by a federal jury after a six day trial.