Former Detroit cop sentenced in collision shop extortion scheme

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Correction: The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the sentencing of Deonne Dotson.

A former Detroit police officer has been sentenced to federal prison for his part in a collision shop extortion scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office  announced Tuesday. 

Deonne Dotson, 49, was sentenced Tuesday to 80 months in prison, said acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin. 

Dotson was convicted of six counts of extortion following an eight-day jury trial in November 2019 before U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland in Detroit. His sentencing was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Dotson was accused of accepting bribes in 2014 for referring stolen and abandoned vehicles recovered in Detroit to local collision shops. He also was accused of creating false police reports in exchange for money from the owners and operators of the collision shops. The federal investigation involved several alleged illegal towing schemes in Metro Detroit.

Officials said vehicle owners were unaware that Dotson was being paid by the collision shops when they agreed to have the shops fix their vehicles.

“The overwhelming majority of Detroit Police Officers are honest, hard-working, and superb public servants,” Mohsin said in a release. “Dotson’s conviction and 80 months’ sentence shows that no one is above the law, and when police officers commit crimes and violate their oath to protect and serve the public, they will be held accountable."

Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit Division said: "Mr. Dotson abused his authority as a law enforcement officer by engaging in conduct designed to benefit him personally.

"His actions are in stark contrast to the professionalism and integrity shown by the Detroit Police Department on a daily basis."

Dotson was one of six former Detroit police officers charged with engaging in similar criminal activity while working for the department. The other five pleaded guilty and served time in federal prison. The other former officers are Charles Wills, James Robertson, Jamil Martin, Martin Tutt and Anthony Careathers.