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Former head of officers' group pleads guilty to fraud

Posted September 13

— A former St. Louis police sergeant on Tuesday admitted stealing stole more than $80,000 from the organization for black police officers that he once led.

Darren Randal Wilson, 42, pleaded guilty to nine wire fraud counts in U.S. District Court. Federal sentencing guidelines call for a prison term of 12 to 18 months. Sentencing is set for Dec. 12.

Wilson was president of the Ethical Society of Police in 2013 and 2014, giving him access to bank account funds that were made up primarily of members' monthly dues. Prosecutors say Wilson used the money on a side business promoting comedy shows at local nightclubs. He was indicted in April 2014.

Wilson shares a first and last name with the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014, but they aren't related. The former Ferguson officer, who was white, was cleared of wrongdoing and resigned in November 2014. Darren Randal Wilson is black.

Wilson agreed to pay back the money, to surrender his law enforcement certification and to no longer work or seek employment as a police officer.

Wilson has been suspended from the St. Louis Police Department since last year. Police Chief Sam Dotson said earlier this year that the department began an investigation in January 2015 after the Ethical Society of Police raised concerns about financial irregularities.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the Ethical Society of Police still exists. A listed phone number did not work, the organization's website was down and its Facebook page has not been updated since December 2014.

The similar names of the two St. Louis-area officers caused confusion soon after Brown, who was black and unarmed, was killed during a street confrontation with the Ferguson officer on Aug. 9, 2014. Darren Randal Wilson said at the time that he and his children received hate messages from some who found his name and position on the internet and thought he was the Ferguson officer.

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