Pine Lawn Mayor Caldwell sentenced for extortion charges - KMOV.com

Pine Lawn Mayor Caldwell sentenced for extortion charges

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Sylvester Caldwell, former mayor of Pine Lawn, was sentenced to 33 months in prison on Monday for charges of extortion and attempted extortion. In addition to his prison time, Caldwell was ordered to pay $5,500 dollars in restitution.

Caldwell pleaded guilty in April to charges of extorting cash from a local towing company and the owner of a convenience store in Pine Lawn.

An investigation into Caldwell's activities conducted by the FBI between December 2013 and April 2014 determined then-Mayor Caldwell met with the owner of the towing company on at least five occasions to receive cash payments. The payments were made to Caldwell to continue a relationship between the towing company, the owner of which was working with the FBI, and the city of Pine Lawn as the primary towing service.

Court documents state that Caldwell encouraged additional payments by threatening to use a competing towing company.

Caldwell was also sentenced for extorting payments from the owner of Pine Lawn Market between February 2013 through September 2014, by calling them donations to the city of Pine Lawn. The owner reportedly was afraid that if he did not comply, Caldwell would cause trouble for the market. The store's owner also allowed Caldwell to take goods from the store without payment out of fear of Caldwell.

"Now because he got charged, he's going away to jail, I'm happy, I'm free," said Akram Abdelsamed, owner of Pine Lawn Market said after Caldwell pleaded guilty in April.

The case against Caldwell was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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