December 14, 2018

Third Baltimore Police Detective to Plead Guilty in Federal Racketeering Case

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Baltimore Police Det. Jemell Rayam will plead guilty Tuesday in federal court to robbing people he detained, billing for overtime hours he didn’t work, and forging reports to cover his tracks, his attorney, Dennis Boyle, said.

Rayam’s guilty plea would bring to three the number of police detectives who have admitted to the criminal charges filed early this year in a federal racketeering case with far-reaching implications. The scandal has toppled the elite gun unit of the police department and led prosecutors to drop criminal charges against more than 100 people whose cases hinged on the word of the officers.

A fourth officer, Det. Momodu Gondo, called “G Money” in wiretapped phone calls, is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday to change his plea of not guilty. His attorneys did not respond to messages Monday.

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Both detectives live in Owings Mills and remain suspended from the police department. They have been held in detention since their arrest and each faces as much as 20 years in prison. A hearing for Rayam, to change his plea was initially scheduled for next month.

Two Baltimore detectives plead guilty to racketeering charges, face up to nine years in prison
Six other officers have been indicted in the racketeering case, including the plainclothes gun unit’s former commanders, Sergeants Thomas Allers and Wayne Jenkins. Both men pleaded not guilty, as have Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor. Their trials are scheduled to begin in January.

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Detectives Evodio Hendrix and Maurice Ward both pleaded guilty in July and await sentencing next year. They face seven to nine years in prison under sentencing guidelines, though the judge could choose to impose the maximum 20 years.

The indictments led Police Commissioner Kevin Davis to end plainclothes policing in Baltimore, saying the style encouraged officers to cut corners.

Rayam, 37, and Gondo, 34, both joined the force 12 years ago, and they conspired to carry out a campaign of robbery and extortion stretching back at least two years, federal prosecutors wrote in the indictment.

The two men also are accused of routinely cheating on their overtime. Wiretaps recorded them discussing schemes to inflate their paychecks from $3,000 to $4,000 to $5,000, prosecutors wrote.

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Rayam once filed for overtime pay for the hours he spent inside the poker room at the Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County, prosecutors wrote.

“One hour can be eight hours,” Gondo allegedly told him by phone in a July 2016. “Easy money J. Easy money.”

Both men earned a salary of about $71,400 during the fiscal year 2016, but also received nearly $30,000 in overtime pay, prosecutors wrote. Mayor Catherine Pugh began an audit of police overtime costs after the allegations emerged of widespread overtime fraud.

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