By Kim Glovas
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two Philadelphia police officers were indicted today in connection with an alleged loansharking scheme.
Former officer Gary Cottrell was indicted on charges that he operated as a loan shark while he was employed with the police department, and continued the enterprise even after he was informed that he was under investigation.
Assistant US attorney Anthony Wzorek explained the main charge against Cottrell:
“Making extortion at extensions of credit — quite simply, that is making loans at a high interest rate with the understanding being, at the time of the loan, that the person making the loan wasn’t able to repay it, that violence might be used to get the money back.”
Wzorek says Cottrell charged $25 interest on a $100 loan that ran for four weeks on average.
Officer Cheryl Stephens was indicted on charges of providing false information to the investigating grand jury when she said that a loan she had received from Cottrell had been interest-free. Stephens has been suspended from the Philadelphia Police Department with intent to dismiss.
If convicted, Cottrell could face up to 320 years in prison.