By Stephen Janis, Special to the AFRO
A recent filing by federal prosecutors outlines a tax fraud scheme within the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) with ties to the now notorious Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF). But, it also reveals one of the first direct links where both the command staff and members of the GTTF pursued the same corrupt practices.
In a sentencing memorandum filed March 15 by prosecutors in the case of former Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa authorities called for one year of jail time for the former top cop.
The memorandum justified the harshest sentence allowed by federal guidelines by outlining how De Sousa claimed fraudulent deductions, fake business expenses, and claimed dependents who didn’t exist.
“De Sousa was a police officer for nearly twenty years,” prosecutors wrote. “For half of that time, he also cheated on both his state and federal taxes.”
“This is a serious offense. The Defendant did not make a mistake or simply fail to act as required by all citizens. He deliberately took steps to defraud the State of Maryland and the federal government.”
The memorandum recounts a much broader scope of law breaking than the original allegations the former top cop simply failed to file the forms, but otherwise paid his taxes.
Last year De Sousa resigned after he was charged with failing to file tax returns for three consecutive years: 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Since then the former commissioner has claimed the failure to comply with the tax code was simply a personal oversight.
“While there is no excuse for my failure to fulfill my obligations as a citizen and public official, my only explanation is that I failed to sufficiently prioritize my personal affairs,” De Sousa declared on twitter shortly after the charges were announced.
But, as prosecutors recount in the filing, DeSousa actively took part in a scheme to falsify a variety of fake deductions; a ploy to evade taxes they say started in 1999 and was not limited to De Sousa.
“The IRS and FBI learned in the course of their investigation in this case and in the investigation of the BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force other BPD officers engaged in similar conduct,” prosecutors wrote.
“For example, Jemell Rayam, the GTTF officer that this Court will sentence, falsely claimed deductions for charitable giving and for unreimbursed employee expenses, the same fraudulent deductions that the Defendant claimed. That is not a coincidence.”
The new allegations of wrongdoing come as prosecutors continue to widen their investigation into the Gun Trace Task Force.
The GTTF was a group of eight officers who dealt drugs, robbed residents, and stole overtime pay.
Earlier this month a federal grand jury indicted former Baltimore Police Sergeant Keith Allen Gladstone, 51, on charges of denying the civil rights of a Baltimore man who was wrongfully charged. The indictment alleged Gladstone planted a BB gun on the suspect after a member of the GTTF identified only as WJ intentionally struck him with a police vehicle.
Gladstone’s attorney confirmed that WJ was Wayne Jenkins, the ringleader of the GTTF who is now serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison.
The charges allege Jenkins panicked after he intentionally ran over a suspect with his police vehicle. Jenkins called Gladstone who is alleged to have driven to the scene and placed a BB gun near the injured suspect who was incapacitated. The victim was charged with possession of a handgun, but the case was eventually dropped by prosecutors.
No date has been set for De Sousa’s sentencing.