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October 9, 2013

Cop guilty in towing kickback scheme


Lopez was convicted for his involvement in the M & W Towing scheme, which involved him purchasing several vehicles at reduced rates and receiving a $4,000 snow plow in exchange for sending an increase in police-ordered tows to M & W from December 2010 to June 2011.

M & W at that time was one of four city companies that towed for the city of Lawrence on a rotating basis. Calixto, who was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony against Lopez, said he made roughly $150 off every tow ordered by police.

Last Tuesday, the day the trial opened, Calixto testified at length about his arrangement with Lopez. He said he gave the officer reduced rates on car purchases — a Suzuki Reno, Ford Escape and Nissan Altima — and also gave him a $4,000 snow plow in exchange for sending extra tows to M & W.

Mayra Colon, who worked under the table at M & W as Calixto’s secretary, testified last week that after the FBI started questioning her and others about Lopez, she created a fake receipt showing Lopez paid $4,000 for a snow plow. Colon was also granted immunity from prosecution.

She then told Calixto to lie to FBI agents by saying Lopez had paid the $4,000 but he had forgotten he was paid because he was drunk. Calixto, when he testified, acknowledged he had had a drinking problem.

Colon later told FBI agents she fabricated the receipt and made up the payment story.

Calixto, in his testimony, said he repeatedly went along with Lopez because he didn’t want to get thrown off the Lawrence tow list or blackballed in city business.

Calixto, who once had seven tow trucks, now only has one truck he runs out of this home. He works full-time as a driver for JRM, he said.

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