BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa will serve 10 months in federal prison for tax fraud, marking a stunning fall from grace for the man who headed the city’s police force this time last year.

The government had asked for a one-year sentence. De Sousa’s lawyers pleaded for no prison time.

“This is a sad day for you and for our city,” said Judge Catherine Blake. “We all agree this city needs a police force we can trust. The trust has been severely challenged over the past year. What you have done further erodes that trust.”

DeSousa’s prosecution was connected to the Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal earlier this month.

Prosecutors allege De Sousa failed to file his taxes for years, and when he did, they said he lied on his forms.

Prosecutors said he claimed a mortgage deduction when he did not own a home, claimed charitable deductions he never made and claimed deductions for work-related expenses he never had.

“Simply put, Darryl De Sousa is a tax cheat,“ said Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise. “This conduct is a product of greed, contempt for the law and a sense of entitlement on his part. There is simply no other way to describe what he did.“

Wise said there is a wider problem of tax fraud among officers on the city’s police force and cited the case of Jemell Rayam, a disgraced detective who was part of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force and also cheated on his taxes.

Former BPD Police Chief’s Tax Fraud Linked To Gun Trace Task Force Scandal

De Sousa’s Defense Attorney Gerard Martin told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren after the hearing “of course I didn’t like it” and told the judge he wanted to make clear De Sousa was not involved in the GTTF’s wrongdoing.

He also described the roughly $67,000 De Sousa owed the government as a “pretty low number” and said his client cashed out his retirement and already paid the amount due to the government.

Former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa Pleads Guilty

De Sousa begged the court for mercy. “I stand here before you humbled and ashamed by what I did,“ he said. “These were crimes of 100 percent irresponsibility and neglect. It was a failure of judgment. Period.”

The former commissioner told Judge Blake, “I’ve basically lost it all.”

The court also heard from De Sousa’s sister who said he spent time and money caring for their ailing parents.

“He’s devastated. He’s very sorry for the mistakes he’s made, very disappointed with himself,” Denise De Sousa said.

In an exclusive interview with Hellgren after the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said he hoped the prison sentence was a deterrent to others.

“As police commissioner, Mr. De Sousa held a position of public trust and unfortunately, betrayed that public trust by cheating on his taxes during the course of about 10 years,“ Hur said. “The laws apply to everyone whether you wear a badge or not.“

De Sousa was Mayor Catherine Pugh’s choice for commissioner — appointed in January 2018 — capping a 30-year career with the BPD. He resigned in May.

But the government said IRS agents notified the police department years before that De Sousa was incorrectly filling out withholding forms — raising concerns about the vetting process.

In court, De Sousa’s attorney said his client never even wrote the statement he tweeted after the initial charges.

“Someone else at the department wrote that,” Martin said after Wise attacked part of that statement as untrue.

Upon leaving court, De Sousa declined to say anything to the citizens he once served.

He remains free, but is expected to self-report to federal prison within the next six to eight weeks.

“It’s important for all citizens to understand, when they cheat on their taxes, there’s got to be consequences,” Blake said.

She also ordered De Sousa to perform 100 hours of community service once he is released.

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Comments (3)
  1. Jim Pappas says:

    “De Sousa’s attorney, Gerard Martin, says co-workers advised how he could save money on taxes but that he didn’t understand what he was doing.”
    How stupid could this guy be? And, if he was the cream of the crop and rose to the office of commissioner, what does that say about the rest of the force?
    I know a couple of city police and they are hard working and pretty intelligent. Did De Sousa just keep getting kicked upstairs?
    And now the mayor and Healthy Holly.
    If someone wrote the recent history of Baltimore as fiction, no one would buy it as being over the top. It has become embarrassing to tell people where I’m from.

    1. Tickedoff Person says:

      Jim,
      It’s called the Magic Wand promotion system. It’s who you know. Started with O’Malley. Rampant within the Police and Fire dept. Still goes on to the day. True story…I was light duty with a line of duty injury. I was told to drive a Lieutenant to HQ one morning. He came out lunch time wearing a Chiefs hat. Skipped right over Captain. Wasn’t even on the Captains promotional list. How about a probationary cadet that graduates from the academy and is made liaison officer with City Hall as a first assignment. That guy NEVER served day one in the field for what he was trained . No, he wasn’t getting probationary pay either for his Magic Moment. As far as this clown goes and his taxes. He shows up for court dressed like a pimp and then asked for mercy. I think he had less than 15 years on the job and he was a Major. IMPOSSIBLE to obtain that rank with 15 years of service. He did it tho…..It’s who you know and the Magic Wand

  2. IRS notified the MAYOR and the city she still chose hire him, she sure can pick them she is batting a big fat O! Says a lot about her judgement! Why she is in trouble herself for ETHNIC VIOLATIONS and questionable financial dealings! She needs to be lawfully investigated and forced to RESIGN ASAP!! It shows how corrupt this city is from TOP to BOTTOM, time to clean house from all the democratic liberals that have the MORALS of RATS!! The democratic voters that keep voting in these losers you are also the direct cause of the demise of this once great city! Don’t whine or complain the condition this city is now in rests solely on you the voters who keep putting these liberal losers in! SHAME ON YOU ALL!!

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