By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun
4:39 PM EST, November 17, 2011
Two Baltimore police officers assigned to the Northeast District pleaded guilty this week to sending car customers to a Rosedale auto repair shop in exchange for bribes from the owners, bringing the number of officers convicted in the federal case to 11.
Leonel Rodriguez, 31, was convicted of conspiracy and extortion during a U.S. District Court hearing Thursday, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office announced, and Rodney Cintron, 32, pleaded guilty to the same charges Tuesday. They each could receive up to 25 years in prison at their sentencings, which are set for early next year.
Seventeen officers were charged in the scheme, which involved taking kickbacks from the owners of Majestic Auto Repair, though the case against one officer was later dropped. Cases for the remaining five police defendants have yet to be publicly resolved. Trial is scheduled for three of the defendants in February.
According to Rodriguez's plea agreement, he falsified police reports to account for additional car damage added by Majestic, accepted more than $8,000 in kickbacks and recruited other officers into the scheme. He also reported his own car stolen to collect the insurance funds, knowing that he had given it to Majestic to be sold to a "chop shop."
Cintron's plea agreement claims that he also accepted payment — more than $13,000 — for referrals to Majestic, recruited other officers into the conspiracy and created false accident reports for Majestic. He also filed at least two false and exaggerated claims with his insurance company, which paid Majestic to repaint Cintron's car in 2009 and repair it in 2010.
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