Nolensville TN March 4 2012 A Nolensville Police Department officer was indicted Thursday on charges of accepting payments to not make arrests, according to the United States District Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Kenneth D. Lee, 51, of Nashville, is charged with extortion and mail fraud. Prosecutors say Lee devised a scheme to accept money in lieu of making an arrest for alleged criminal activity, U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said. Lee surrendered to authorities Friday morning at the federal courthouse in Nashville.
The allegations are said to have occurred between Aug. 17 and Feb. 1.
As part of the scheme, Lee is accused of taking steps to conceal his activity and the scope of his dealings with the individual by directing the person to call him on his personal cellphone while not on duty, to send money to a post office box rented by Lee and by cashing money orders he received.
Also according to the indictment, the individual mailed three Western Union money orders, totaling $200, to a post office box in Nolensville at Lee’s request. These money orders were subsequently cashed by Lee, and in exchange, Lee did not arrest or cite the individual for the alleged criminal activity.
“When a police officer is entrusted with the life and safety of others, it doesn’t matter if it’s $2 or $200,000,” said Aaron T. Ford, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Memphis division.
Nolensville Police Chief Paul Rigsby released a statement saying: “Officer Lee has been placed on administrative leave without pay until further notice. He has served his country and this department for several years. We believe judgment should be withheld until all facts of the case have been heard, and he is innocent until proven guilty.”
Lee is the third Middle Tennessee police officer to be indicted on federal corruption charges in the past year.
The others were John Patrick Edwards of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and Richard Wilson of the Metro Nashville Police Department.
“If you use your badge to commit crimes, we’re going to find out, and we’re going to prosecute you,” Martin said.
If convicted, Lee faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each charge.