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Ex-Detroit Police Detective Charged With Bribery In Towing Corruption Probe

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) -- A former Detroit police detective is charged with bribery in a towing corruption investigation.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the bribery charge against 44-year-old Michael Pacteles, of Southgate, carries a 10-year maximum sentence and a $250,000 fine.

Pacteles resigned from the Detroit Police Department in 2020 and is currently an officer with the Hamtramck Police Department.

Officials say this is the fifth person to be charged under "Operation Northern Hook," which investigates corruption within the government and DPD relating to the towing industry.

"I am disappointed with these allegations but fully supportive of this investigation. I would like to emphasize, that the alleged actions of one former officer does not represent the vast majority of the exceptional men and women of the Detroit Police Department who go above and beyond the call of duty for our community each and every day," Chief James White said in a statement.

According to a criminal complaint, officials say Pacteles allegedly accepted a vehicle and $3,200 in cash from a towing company operator. In return, he agreed to offer "favor" for the operator, such as removing vehicles from the database to show they were stolen instead of recovering them from the operator. He also allegedly agreed to share information about vehicles from the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN).

"The vast majority of police officers are hardworking dedicated public servants. Our office is committed to prosecuting those officers who cast a stain on these officers and who betray the public trust by accepting bribes," said Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin.

Last month, former DPD police officer Alonzo Jones pleaded guilty to accepting bribes, facing up to 10 years in prison.

Two other police officers, including a lieutenant who worked in the integrity unit, were accused of taking bribes to break rules and steer cars to a favored towing company, according to an indictment last month.

Lt. John Kennedy is accused of accepting more than $14,000 in cash, cars, and car repairs from a towing company as an undercover federal agent. The government said he was supposed to be investigating the towing company.

Officer Daniel Vickers accepted $3,400, according to the indictment. Both were charged with bribery and conspiracy.

In September, Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting that he and an aide accepted nearly $36,000 in bribes related to oversight of towing.

In November, White recently announced proposed changes to eliminate corruption in the towing industry.

Some of those changes included new computer software used to track and audit towing businesses, all towing companies needing to apply for a new contract, and a new app to be developed for those requesting towing services so they know how much it will cost.

"We will continue to fully cooperate with our federal partners to ensure that Detroit Police Department employees involved with alleged corruption and misconduct are held accountable for their actions," White said. "The Detroit Police Department takes pride in our transparency and aspire to achieve high standards of service and accountability and recognize that these alleged actions fall far short of those goals."

FBI Special Agent Timothy Waters said the investigation is ongoing.

"The citizens of Detroit deserve a city government that is free of bribes and corruption. These individuals erode the public's trust in government and in the men and women who serve the city with integrity," Waters said.

Any instances of public corruption can be reported to the FBI at

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