Fifth City Officer Pleads Guilty in Towing Case

… Admits taking $1,500 in kickbacks …

By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

6:01 PM EDT, July 14, 2011

As part of a federal plea deal, Baltimore police officer Eddy Arias on Thursday admitted pocketing $1,500 in kickbacks from the owners of Majestic Auto Repair as part of an extortion scheme that may have involved more than 50 city officers.

Arias, 39, is the fifth officer to plead guilty in the case, though court documents claim dozens were involved. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at his sentencing, set for Nov. 15. Prosecutors are likely to request a sentence between 12 and 18 years, according to the plea agreement.

Arias steered motorists who had been in car accidents or had disabled vehicles to Majestic, saying the company would waive towing fees and help them with insurance claims. In return, the owners of Majestic, who also pleaded guilty this week, paid him $300 per referral.

Arias is one of 17 city officers arrested in the case; 14 others were placed on administrative duty while the investigation continues.

Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun

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