Detroit police officer pleads guilty to extortion

(WXYZ) - A Detroit Police Department officer pleaded guilty to extortion for accepting bribes from owners of an auto collision shop in exchange for referring stolen and abandoned vehicles recovered in Detroit to that shop.

Charles Wills, 52, was actively employed with the Detroit Police Department at the time of the alleged offenses.

Wills was charged with four counts of extortion in an indictment on Dec. 13, 2017. He pleaded guilty to two counts of extortion.

He will be sentenced on June 12.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, it is alleged that Wills accepted cash payments from the owner of a Detroit collision shop in exchange for referring two abandoned vehicles to that shop for repairs.

The payments were in the amounts of $1,600 and $2,400.

Wills is the fifth defendant to have pleaded guilty as a result of the investigation. The others are:

  • James Robertson, age 45; pleaded guilty to an Information charging 2 counts of Extortion
  • Jamil Martin, 46; pleaded guilty to an Information charging one count of Extortion
  • Martin Tutt, 29; pleaded guilty to an Information charging 2 counts of Extortion
  • Anthony Careathers, 52, pleaded guilty to an Information charging one count of Extortion

A sixth defendant, Deonne Dotson, 45, is awaiting trial.

All of the officers were charged in engaging in extortion for using their official positions as police officers to refer cars to certain collision shops in exchange for cash payments.

"The vast majority of Detroit Police Officers are courageous, dedicated, superb public servants, but unfortunately, these defendants are an exception to that rule," U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said.

Each of the extortion charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

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