U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Missouri
September 26, 2014

Pine Lawn Mayor Arrested on Charges of Extortion

ST. LOUIS, MO—The mayor of Pine Lawn, Missouri, Sylvester Caldwell, has been arrested as a result of an indictment charging him with extortion of cash payments from the owner of a local towing company.

Caldwell, 54, Pine Lawn, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one felony count of interference with commerce by extortion. He was arrested by FBI agents Thursday. He appeared in court late yesterday afternoon and was released on bond. Caldwell is scheduled for arraignment Monday, September 29th at 9:30.

According to the indictment, Mayor Caldwell exercised authority over which towing companies provided the towing services for the City of Pine Lawn. The indictment alleges that between December 2013 and April 2014, Caldwell extorted cash payments from the owner of one local towing company, referred to in the indictment as “John Doe,” in exchange for directing the Pine Lawn Police Department to use Doe’s towing company.

If convicted, this charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Reginald Harris is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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