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Ex-Philly officer gets probation for lying about loan scheme

An ex-Philadelphia police officer has been sentenced to 3 years of probation and 200 hours of community service for false testimony to a grand jury during an investigation into another officer’s loan-sharking scheme.

Prosecutors at Cheryl Stephens’ sentencing Tuesday say she provided important testimony against ex-officer Gary Cottrell after initially lying about a $100 loan she received from him.

Stephens pleaded guilty in March. Cottrell was convicted in November of obstruction of justice. Both former officers are 48.

Prosecutors say Cottrell made high-interest loans and used force and threats to collect the money.

They say Cottrell, a 14-year police veteran who retired in 2011, extended hundreds or thousands of dollars of credit to borrowers and charged an interest rate of $25 per $100 borrowed to be repaid in four weeks.

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