FBI corruption probe nets guilty plea from former Detroit deputy police chief | Michigan Radio

FBI corruption probe nets guilty plea from former Detroit deputy police chief

Jan 2, 2018

A former Detroit Police Department Deputy Chief and legal advisor today pleaded guilty to accepting bribe money from the owner of a towing company.

Celia Washington’s attorney says Washington accepted $3,000 from Gasper Fiore more than two years ago, initially believing she was taking a loan from a friend.

Celia Washington could spend up to five years in prison for accepting $3,000. Her attorney says she didn't know it was a bribe at first.
Credit North Charleston / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

“She took money ... shortly after that; she became aware he was trying to influence her to get on (the city of Detroit’s) tow rotation,” Reed said. “She tried to pay the money back, he wouldn’t take it. She spent some of the money, and she knew basically he was trying to influence her.”

Detroit police often call private towing companies to tow cars seized by police or believed to be stolen.

Fiore, the owner of multiple southeast Michigan towing companies, himself pleaded guilty to bribery in a separate case last month.

Washington ultimately kept the money from Fiore, even after realizing Fiore was trying to get more business sent his way. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit, Washington officially pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.

“Former Deputy Police Chief Washington’s crime was a serious breach of the public’s trust. The public must have every confidence that its police force is free of corruption and bribery,” acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in the press release.

Reed didn’t say why Washington wouldn’t have alerted officials once she realized Fiore was attempting to bribe her.

“Gasper gave so much money and did so many favors in the city of Detroit, that you would have to charge half the city,” Reed said.

Washington’s guilty plea is a byproduct of a broad FBI government corruption investigation primarily focused in Macomb County. Nearly 20 people have been charged with crimes stemming from the investigation so far, including Fiore.

According to the press release, Washington faces up to five years in prison and a $250 thousand fine. She has a sentencing hearing scheduled in April.