Arbutus Man Among Those Sentenced in Illegal Towing Scheme
The scheme included more than a dozen officers, U.S. Attorney's Office officials said.
A 33-year-old Rosedale man was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in an illegal towing scheme involving more than a dozen Baltimore City police officers, including one officer from Arbutus.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, former city officer Jhonn Corona pleaded guilty in September in U.S. District Court to "conspiracy to commit and committing extortion under color of official right" in connection to a scheme in which officers illegally steered car accident victims to a Rosedale auto repair shop.
The owners of Majestic Auto Repair paid Corona and other Baltimore City Police officers to arrange for their company, rather than a city-authorized company, to tow vehicles from accident scenes and make repairs, the release stated.
According to Corona’s plea agreement, beginning in 2008, the officer contacted Majestic owners Herman Alexis Moreno and Edwin Javier Mejia for towing and repair services, even though Majestic was not an authorized Baltimore City towing company. Moreno, 30, of Rosedale, and Mejia, 27, of Middle River, pleaded guilty in July 2011 to bribing police.
In exchange, the owners paid Corona $150, and later $300, for each vehicle he referred to Majestic, according to the release.
Corona then persuaded accident victims to allow their cars to be sent to Majestic by telling the victims that the business could tow the car, provide repair services, help with the insurance claim, assist in getting a rental car and waive the owner’s deductible.
According to the news release, Corona and Moreno also intentionally drove the officer’s personal car into a pole to make a false claim with his insurance company. So, as part of his sentence, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake also ordered that Corona pay $10,743.75 to GEICO and Nationwide insurance companies and $10,000 to the Baltimore Police Department.
In all, seven city officers, including Corona, have been sentence to date, the release continued. They are:
- Jerry Diggs, Jr., 25, of Baltimore (30 months in prison)
- Rafael Concepcion Feliciano, Jr., 31, of Baltimore (two years)
- David Reeping, 42, of Arbutus (eight months)
- Michael Cross, 29, of Reisterstown (10 months)
- Henry Yambo, 29, of Owings Mills (15 months)
- Jermaine Rice, 29, of Woodstock (eight months)