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Baltimore police officer ordered to reimburse insurance company in kickback conspiracy

A federal judge on Monday ordered Baltimore police Officer Samuel Ocasio to repay a Pennsylvania insurance company more than $1,900 for a fraudulent claim connected to a kickback scheme.

A jury convicted Ocasio, 37, of conspiracy and extortion this winter for taking cash from Rosedale's Majestic Auto Repair Shop in exchange for customer referrals in a plot that involved dozens of city officers. He was later sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay the Police Department $1,500 — the amount he accepted in kickbacks from January 2010 to January 2011.

But Ocasio balked at a prosecution request to also reimburse Erie Insurance for unnecessary repairs to his wife's car, which were made by Majestic's owners after Ocasio brought the vehicle in for service after a minor car crash, according to trial testimony.

"The Government has not shown Mr. Ocasio's complicity in any additional damage," his lawyer wrote in a court filing. But prosecutors contended that Ocasio was aware of the extra work, which was added to boost the insurance payout.

A hearing was held Monday to discuss the issue, and U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake sided with the prosecution, finding Ocasio responsible for Erie's expense.

Ocasio was the only officer convicted in the scandal by a jury. Fourteen others pleaded guilty in federal court, while one pleaded guilty to theft in state court. An additional 14 officers were not charged criminally but are facing administrative penalties within the department.

The two body-shop owners, Hernan Alexis Moreno and Edwin Javier Mejia, have also pleaded guilty in the scheme and are set to be sentenced in September. They testified against Ocasio during his trial.

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