Mayor of Pine Lawn pleads not guilty -

Mayor of Pine Lawn pleads not guilty

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By Sarah Heath By Sarah Heath

PINE LAWN, Mo. ( – Sylvester Caldwell, the mayor of Pine Lawn, Missouri, who was arrested Thursday and charged with extortion of cash payments from the owner of a local towing company, pleaded not guilty in a federal court room in downtown St. Louis Monday.

Caldwell, 54, was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on one felony count of interference with commerce by extortion.  He's due back in court at the end of October.

Caldwell was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday. He appeared in court Thursday afternoon and was released on bond. He is currently scheduled for arraignment on Monday at 9:30 a.m.

The indictment alleges Caldwell exercised authority over towing companies which provide services for the City of Pine Lawn. The indictment alleges between Dec. 2013 and April 2014, Caldwell extorted cash payments from the owner of one towing company owner in exchange for directing the Pine Lawn Police Department to use the company.

If Caldwell is convicted he could serve a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. 

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