Former high-ranking cop Castro pleads guilty to extortion

A former Philadelphia police inspector who once aspired to be the city’s top cop, pleaded guilty in federal court today to a small part of an alleged extortion scheme to recoup money from a former business partner. Daniel Castro pleaded guilty to a single count of extortion.Back in April, Castro was convicted of one count of lying to the FBI, but the jury was hung on other counts.  Prosecutors had planned to retry Castro, but given his new guilty plea on the extortion charge prosecutors agreed to dismiss the others.  Castro’s attorney, Brian McMonagle, said this has been a difficult ordeal for his client,”The government has dismissed the honest services fraud against him,” said McMonagle.  “That will allow him obviously to keep his pension and to keep the integrity that he had as a police officer.  This was a personal situation, it didn’t involve the Police Department.”A number of jurors said they thought Castro was a victim of entrapment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen said with this guilty plea, prosecutors will dismiss the other counts.  “He certainly spent some time talking to his lawyer during the plea hearing.  This is a big decision for anybody but he admitted to the conduct in the case, and he pleaded guilty.”

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September.  Castro faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

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