Pugh seeks audit of Baltimore police overtime after seven officers indicted

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh orders an audit of police overtime.

Mayor Catherine Pugh said Friday she is seeking an audit of Baltimore Police Department overtime after seven officers were indicted on federal racketeering charges — including allegations that they committed overtime fraud.

"We want to root out corruption and crime in our city," Pugh said. "When you think about the overtime these individuals have been allowed to accumulate, that's taking money from the citizens of Baltimore."

The Police Department is on pace to spend $43 million on overtime this fiscal year, even though only $16 million is budgeted for overtime.

The federal indictment includes allegations that the officers claimed to be working overtime when they were not even in Baltimore. The officers claimed overtime when they were in the vicinity of their homes in the surrounding counties or even farther away.

The Police Department would have been audited within the next two years because, in November, voters mandated that city agencies be audited biannually. But Pugh wanted an audit of police overtime to happen sooner. She said she's not sure whether city auditors or an outside firm will conduct the review.

The mayor said she has met with Comptroller Joan Pratt, who oversees city auditors, and should have more details to announce soon.

"I need it done as soon as possible," Pugh said. "We allow police overtime to run up when a lot of other areas of the city, like schools, housing and parks and recreation, could benefit from that money."

The indictment alleges that Detective Marcus Taylor, for instance, filed for overtime on days when he was in New York City on vacation. It alleges that Sgt. Wayne Jenkins filed for overtime on days when he was in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on vacation. It alleges that Detective Maurice Ward also filed overtime for a day when he was in Myrtle Beach on vacation.

The indictment alleges Detectives Jemell Rayam and Momodu Gondo were recorded discussing being in the poker room at Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County and getting a drink with a friend, respectively, on a day when they claimed to be working overtime.

The indictment does not provide total dollar amounts for the alleged fraudulent overtime payments, but does calculate the total amount of overtime the officers made in fiscal 2016.

Jenkins, whose annual salary was $85,406, made the most of any of the officers, taking in $83,345 in overtime. Gondo, whose annual salary was $71,412, made the least amount of overtime of any of the officers, taking in more than $29,000.

In addition to overtime fraud, the officers are accused of shaking down citizens, filing false court paperwork and making fraudulent overtime claims, all while Justice Department investigators were scrutinizing the department for what they concluded were widespread civil rights violations.

Six of the officers were ordered held without bail Thursday by a federal magistrate judge.

The seventh, Taylor, also remained behind bars on Friday afternoon after a scheduled detention hearing was postponed when he suffered an unspecified medical issue, his attorneys said.

Taylor's attorneys declined to say what his medical issues were, but said he was fine as of Friday night.

The office of U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein said prosecutors had agreed with Taylor's counsel to the postponement.

A new date for Taylor's hearing has not been set.

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