Two former Baltimore police officers pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering charges, admitting they robbed the citizens of Baltimore, sometimes for tens of thousands of dollars, lying on police reports, and taking vacations while claiming they were working.
Former detectives Maurice Ward, 36, and Evodio Hendrix, 32, were indicted in March along with five other members of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force, the entire unit, reported the Baltimore Sun. The gang was accused of robbing citizens for their cash, and committing massive overtime fraud.
CNN reported the stolen amounts range from $200 to $200,000, and in one case, Hendrix and Ward and another cop stole $17,000 in cash from a suspect’s house following a SWAT raid. In another instance, several officers stopped a nursing home maintenance supervisor and stole $1,500 that he was planning to use to pay his rent, according to the indictment.
The indictment said the seven officers schemed to steal money, property and narcotics by detaining people, entering residences, conducting traffic stops and swearing out false search warrant affidavits. They also committed “large-scale time and attendance fraud,” for a year, making at least $8,000 to $10,000 per month, according to prosecutors.
Ward earned a salary of nearly $73,000 and made an additional $62,000 in overtime during the 2016 fiscal year, according to court records. Hendrix earned a salary of about $69,400 and made about $52,000 in overtime during the same period.
“These are 1930’s style gangsters as far as I’m concerned,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in February. “This is a punch in the gut for the Baltimore Police Department.”
Wayne Jenkins, 37; Daniel Hersl, 48; Marcus Taylor, 30; Momodu Gondo, 34; and Jemell Rayam, 36 are also indicted, but they have not yet plead guilty. They are awaiting trial scheduled for January 2018.
“These are really robberies by people who are wearing police uniforms,” said then-Maryland US Attorney Rod Rosenstein in March.
The case comes about seven months after the Justice Department, under former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and the city of Baltimore announced a consent decree mandating police reforms in Baltimore.
That followed a DOJ report which said unconstitutional practices by some of Baltimore’s officers lead to a disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests of black residents, and excessive use of force against juveniles and those with mental health disabilities.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)