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Former St. Louis aldermen Reed, Boyd plead guilty to federal bribery charges

The pair were indicted in June along with another former alderman for accepting cash bribes in exchange for supporting property tax abatements.

ST. LOUIS — Former Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed and former Ward 22 Alderman Jeffrey Boyd have pleaded guilty in connection with a federal bribery investigation.

The pair changed their pleas to guilty in federal court Friday, days after former Ward 21 Alderman John Collins-Muhammad also pleaded guilty in the bribery investigation. 

All three former aldermen, accused of accepting cash bribes in exchange for supporting property tax abatements, previously pleaded not guilty to the charges. They will be sentenced on Dec. 6.

A judge permitted them to remain out on bond until their December court hearings. They also must pay restitution for the bribes and gifts they received. 

Boyd pleaded guilty to bribery and racketeering after admitting he accepted money to help an informant buy city property below market value and inflate construction costs to receive a tax abatement.

Boyd also pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud relating to a January incident in which he falsified insurance documents claiming three cars wrecked in the informant's lot were actually on his lot. He faces a maximum of 55 years in prison. 

Later Friday, Reed pleaded guilty to a count of bribery and another count of racketeering. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The maximum sentence for Collins Muhammad could include up to 35 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.

Reed and Boyd resigned from the Board of Aldermen in the days following their June indictment. Collins Muhammad resigned in May ahead of the indictment.

According to the 66-page indictment released in June, Reed met with local businessman Almuttan at his campaign headquarters and discussed plans to redraw the ward map to protect Collins Muhammad from activists who wanted to recall him from office.

The charges claim Reed asked Almuttan for $20,000 in campaign cash.

"If you can do five ($5,000) today, or something like that, that would be a huge help," Reed said, according to the indictment.

Collins-Muhammad accepted a free 2016 Volkswagen CC sedan, a new Apple iPhone 11, and at least $3,000 in campaign contributions, along with several cash payments throughout a lengthy process as he tried to steer legislation through the city council that would benefit Almuttan's gas station development project, the indictment said.

In May 2021, Collins-Muhammad discussed plans to approve a construction permit for Almuttan's gas station.

"DON'T START CONSTRUCTION UNTIL THIS PASSES! Otherwise taxes are going to be high," Collins-Muhammad warned Almuttan in a text message quoted in the indictment.

Boyd accepted a total of $9,500 in cash from Almuttan related to a project, and Almuttan also made free repairs worth $1,611 to Boyd’s 2006 Chevrolet Impala and $733 to his Kia van, the indictment alleged.

The indictment also alleged Boyd and Almuttan agreed to split the proceeds of insurance fraud related to an accident that occurred on Almuttan's used car lot on Jan. 21, 2021.  

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