By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – The general manager of a large parking company in downtown St. Louis has been indicted for his role in a scheme to defraud drivers whose vehicles were towed by the city.
Gregory P. Shepard is the general mananger of S&H Parking, which is owned by William and Kenneth Bialczak, who also own St. Louis Metropolitan Towing. That company, until 2008, had a lucrative contract to impound vehicles for the city of St. Louis. The companies are at the center of a scandal in which city police officers and the daughter of former chief Joe Mokwa were allowed to drive impounded cars for free or purchase them from a third Bialczak company at reduced prices.
Prosecutors allege in an 11-count federal indictment issued Thursday that Shepard failed to inform drivers in a timely matter that their cars had been impounded. He was also accused of lying to owners who came to retrieve their cars about the location of the vehicles, which led to inflated storage charges.
Shepard is also accused of paying an employee of the St. Louis police department to falsify vehicle inspection reports, inflating mileage on rental cars towed by Metropolitan, and pocketing the profit of an auto sale that should have been returned to the St. Louis Policeman's Credit Union.
A spokeswoman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said the employee no longer works for the department. S&H Parking would not comment, but said Shepard remains an employee of the company.
Shepard was indicted on seven counts of mail fraud, two bribery counts, and one count each of wire fraud and making false entries. He is facing up to life in prison and millions of dollars