Former D.C. Police Employee to Spend 39 Weekends in Jail for Taking $40,000 in Bribes

A former employee of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has been sentenced to 39 weekends behind bars after admitting to taking over $40,000 in bribes.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sentenced 46-year-old Kendra Coles to 78 days in jail to be served on weekends and ordered her to pay $6,000 in restitution on Monday, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Coles will also be required to serve three years on probation and forfeit the $40,000 she took in bribes.

Coles pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in March 2019. In exchange for bribe money, Coles provided personal identifying information about car crash victims to two "runners" that provided the information to lawyers hoping to pursue lucrative personal injury cases.

Coles began working for MPD as a customer service representative in 2006, before becoming a Patrol Services and School Safety Bureau staff assistant in 2012. The criminal scheme began in 2015 after an order restricted access to traffic accident police reports. The reports had previously been publicly available information.

After the new policy went into effect, the runners paid Coles cash to provide them with the crash reports, which she still had access to as an MPD employee. In addition to personal information identifying victims, the reports included information about what type of crash occurred, details about injuries and property damage, and information on whether the crash was a hit and run.

Washington, D.C. Police Bribery Insurance Fraud Bribes
Kendra Coles, a former employee of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, was sentenced to 78 weekend days in jail on Wednesday after taking over $40,000 in bribes. This undated file photo shows a bribe being offered with a hand holding out a stack of cash. designer491/Getty

Coles took photos of the reports and provided them to the runners in emails or texts. A 2017 audit of police records found that, during only a four-month period that year, she had accessed traffic crash reports 3,367 times. One of the runners paid her between $400 and $500 per week for providing the information, while the other paid her $350 per week.

One of the runners was identified as Marvin Parker, a 62-year-old from Silver Spring, Maryland. Parker pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and was handed an 18-month prison sentence in January 2020. The identity of the other runner has not been disclosed, although the DOJ says that the investigation is ongoing.

Separately, Coles took part in an insurance fraud scheme involving her personal vehicle around the same time. After learning that a needed car repair could cost her up to $3,100, and having already owed the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles $1,505 in unpaid parking fines, Coles asked a family friend to help make her car "disappear." The car was abandoned and set on fire, at which point she filed a false theft report and later collected over $1,000 from her insurance carrier.

Newsweek reached out to MPD for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.