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Rosedale Tow Truck Operators Plead Guilty to Bribing Police

Majestic Auto Repair shop owners allegedly paid police officers between $200,000 and $1 million in bribes to steer business their way.

Two owners of Majestic Auto Repair in Rosedale pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday for paying Baltimore City police officers bribes of up to $1 million for steering car owners to their business in a complex scheme that also involved officers falsifying police reports, according to a press release from the Maryland U.S. Attorney's office.

Hernan Alexis Moreno, 30, of Rosedale, and his brother, Edwin Javier Mejia, 27, of Middle River, could each get a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the extortion conspiracy, according to the press release. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake is scheduled to sentence the brothers on Nov. 18.

In addition, four former Baltimore City police officers have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in September and October, according to the federal prosecutors.

The plea agreements allege that the brothers paid officers to have Majestic, and not a city-authorized company, tow vehicles away from accident scenes and make repairs.

Starting in 2008, the brothers allegedly agreed to pay two officers to contact them from hit-and-run and other accident locations for towing and repair services instead of contacting a company that the city had already authorized for towing, according to the press release. Mejia or Moreno would then pay $150-$300 for every vehicle that came to their repair shop, the release stated.

These first officers then began recruiting other officers into the scheme, prosecutors said. The plea agreement states that by early 2011, more than 50 police officers were in on the scheme. The officers and Majestic's owners then allegedly told the owner of a car involved in the accident that it couldn’t be driven, even if that wasn’t true. Prosecutors said that enabled Majestic to submit false towing charges to the insurance company. 

In other situations, Moreno and Mejia conspired with officers to further damage cars to increase the profit Majestic could gain from insurance payments—so that the insurance company would cover the cost of paying the police and the car owner’s deductible payments, prosecutors said.

A police officer could then falsify the accident report to make it look like the additional damage came from the accident, prosecutors said.

The additional damage to the vehicles caused an extra loss between  $200,000 and $1 million in insurance claims the companies paid out, prosecutors said.

Phil Resch July 12, 2011 at 12:47 PM
I am sure this makes it tough for a new tow business to even get started.
Buzz Beeler July 12, 2011 at 02:51 PM
The largest scandal in recent memory for the city police. I will say no more at this time!
rick j July 12, 2011 at 03:41 PM
They should be tried and if found guilty thrown in general population in some prison.This may keep someone else from doing the same thing.No special treatment for being a police officer.That right went out the door when they started this scam
Buzz Beeler July 12, 2011 at 04:15 PM
The city choose to be rather lapse in their background checks in their haste to hire Spanish speaking officers. You get what you background for. A little like the Dream Act on steroids.
Robert Armstrong July 12, 2011 at 04:55 PM
That's not even remotely true. They went through the same background check that every other candidate went through. It has nothing to do with the DREAM Act. Once again you are just trying to link together two disparate events to further your narrow minded cause.
Buzz Beeler July 12, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Now your are an expert on police work? Do you even know what the term means? Have you ever conducted one? I'll introduce to the executive core member who advised the city on their procedures in dealing with this issue. Of course I'm sure you personally know every ranking member of the city, county and every other police department. Walk us through the process why don't you? Since you claim to be a Major in the army of RA, you should no all about background checks, except the part about gathering the facts and reporting them truthfully. Do you know what the term facetious means? This is why I say you are ill prepared to engage in any kind of debate. Let me explain it so even you can understand it. The Dream Act is pandering to illegals for possible political advantage or a particular political agenda. Instead of requiring residents to learn English as those that came before, groups like CASA are demanding we accommodate the illegals and adapt to their language. Thus in the same response as to the Dream Act, the BCPD responds in a similar fashion in catering to the illegals and their language barrier. We are actually endorsing violating our immigration laws by pandering to the needs of the illegals as in language, heath care, education, law enforcement, housing, food, legal service, child care, ESOL ...! Three dots, that's it, get it? I'll bet this goes right over your head.
rick j July 12, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Buzz I know others have told you this but why debate with someone who lives in their own world and cannot see reality.I have often wonder if people like him on the left or on the right are plants just to sprew their point of view and not really deal with facts
Buzz Beeler July 12, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Rick, I am a fool and your are absolute right. A little bit of OCD at work here. Heck it was easier to quit drinking and smoking than backing away from this guy. Forty years without a drink and I can't stay away from this blithering for 40 minutes. If you think about it, he is actually winning. I know that and that is the sad part on my behalf. Every time I say I won't, I do. My friend from JHU chides me all the time over this. In retrospect it is demeaning and I become part of his world. Thanks for reminding me of the right thing to do and I'll try again. If I slip and I hope I won't, kick me in the butt. I would suggest my head but it's too thick.
Robert Armstrong July 12, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Dude, stay away from the lead paint. What in the world do "illegals" have to do with the BPD towing Scam? You need to get out of the heat Pronto! Why does it take you 5 paragraphs to say the same thing anybody else with a command of the English language cans say in one sentence?
Buzz Beeler July 12, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Hey Rick, one down many more to go. My lips are sealed. Thank you. A from of behavior modification with a helping hand.

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