Friday, July 21, 2006
Four St. Louis County deputy sheriffs were indicted on corruption charges for taking cash payments from moving companies to schedule evictions. The four sheriffs took money in exchange for recommending movers to landlords and owners who had obtained eviction orders that were subject to enforcement by the Sheriff's Office. A press release (here) issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri states:
The indictments allege that Curley Hines, David Rodriguez, Marcus Lipe, and Richard Robinson accepted cash payments from representatives of several St. Louis area commercial moving companies to facilitate evictions. Deputy sheriffs have discretion as to the scheduling of evictions assigned to them. They decide the number of eviction orders to be enforced in one day and which order the evictions will be done. As part of the ongoing practice of making cash payments to the deputies, the commercial movers also sought the advantage of being recommended by a deputy sheriff to a landlord or property owner who had obtained a court order of eviction but had not hired a moving company. According to the indictments, these four deputies unlawfully received cash payments totaling thousands of dollars in time frames from 2003 through 2006.
Due to the conduct of these deputies, a commercial mover which stopped making cash payments risked losing a competitive advantage to other movers who complied with the practice. The commercial movers made the payments in order to remain competitive and, if possible, gain an edge on the competing businesses.