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Ex-Detroit cop gets 16 months in prison

The Detroit News
BYLINE: Paul Egan

Detroit, MI

Detroit - A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a former Detroit police officer to 16 months in prison on a tax charge, telling the man he got a break when a key witness against him died in 2008.

Vincent L. Crockett, 41, indicted in 2007 on charges he stole about $2 million worth of cocaine from a police evidence room and replaced it with corn starch, pleaded guilty in April to tax evasion.

One reason prosecutors agreed to the reduced charge was the 2008 death, from natural causes, of chemist Michael Williams, making it hard to form a consistent chain of evidence.

U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson rejected a request for a probationary sentence, saying that although Crockett wasn't convicted of the embezzlement charge, the overall allegations against him and deterrence to others had to be taken into account. He sentenced Crockett at the top of the sentencing guideline range.

"There's a substantial likelihood that Mr. Crockett swayed from his sworn obligation to protect the law and engaged in conduct that undermined the law," Lawson said.

"It's not simply a tax case."

Crockett, represented by Andrew Densemo of the Federal Defender Office, declined to speak before he was sentenced.
Lawson also ordered Crockett to pay restitution of $14,547 for the federal income taxes he evaded.

Crockett, who works as a manager at a freight company in Ann Arbor, admitted to evading taxes on $72,000 he received as a result of "an illegal act."

Crockett, who was raised in Alabama and is the father of twin 15-year-old sons, was a Detroit police officer from 1989 to 2007, serving on the SWAT team, the vice and narcotics squads and the mayor's executive protection unit.

He is to serve two years of probation after his release from prison.

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