Former St. Louis Board of Alderman president and a former alderman plead guilty to bribery, other charges
(STL.News) The former president of the St. Louis Board of Alderman, along with a former alderman, pleaded guilty Friday to all charges against them and admitted accepting bribes to misuse their official positions in schemes that ran from 2020 through March of 2022. The alderman also admitted to committing insurance fraud in a separate case.
Lewis Reed, the former board president, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Court Judge Stephen R. Clark to two bribery-related charges.
Former 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey L. Boyd pleaded guilty in front of Judge Clark in a separate hearing to two bribery-related charges related to a land purchase in his ward and two counts of wire fraud in an unrelated insurance fraud scheme.
Reed admitted accepting cash bribes from a businessman, identified in court documents as “John Doe,” to help Doe obtain Minority Business Enterprise certification and win city trucking and hauling contracts. In total, Reed accepted $6,000 in cash and $3,500 in campaign contributions for helping Doe.
Reed also admitted accepting a total of $9,000 in cash bribes to get a property tax abatement for a Doe-owned property located in the ward of another former alderman, John Collins-Muhammad. Reed and Collins-Muhammad, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges related to that bribery scheme, worked together to pass the board bill providing the property tax abatement.
Boyd admitted accepting a total of $9,500 in cash bribes from Doe in exchange for the misuse of his official position. Boyd helped Doe obtain a commercial property on Geraldine Avenue in Boyd’s ward from the city’s Land Reutilization Authority by convincing LRA staff to accept Doe’s $14,000 bid. The LRA initially listed the property as worth $50,000.
In addition to the cash, Boyd accepted free repairs from Doe for two vehicles owned by Boyd.
Boyd then issued an aldermanic letter of support for a property tax abatement for Doe’s property, helped Doe prepare a tax abatement application and submitted and sponsored a board bill which provided a substantial tax abatement for the property.
The insurance fraud scheme occurred after a Jan. 17, 2021 vehicle accident at Doe’s used car lot in Jennings, Missouri. The crah damaged vehicles including three cars owned by Doe and one owned by Boyd’s used car company, The Best Place Auto Sales on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis, that was there for repairs.
After Doe learned his insurance would not cover the damage to his vehicles, Boyd suggested falsely claiming that his company owned them.
On Jan. 21, 2021, Boyd falsified and backdated vehicle sales records and Missouri Department of Revenue documents claiming that Boyd had paid $22,000 for the vehicles on Jan. 2. Doe’s insurance company denied the claims, and the pair then decided to submit the claim under Boyd’s company’s insurance and split any resulting proceeds. Boyd also falsely attempted to claim a $200 daily storage fee for the damaged vehicles. Boyd’s insurance company ultimately rejected the claim, despite his attempt to have his insurance agent intervene.
Reed and Boyd are scheduled to be sentenced December 6. One of Reed and Boyd’s bribery charges carries a 10-year maximum and the other has a five-year maximum. Each charge could also result in a $250,000 fine. Boyd’s wire fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Both will be required to pay restitution equal to the value of the cash bribes and other things of value received during their schemes.
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