updated 2/23/2011 3:34:48 PM ET 2011-02-23T20:34:48

More than a dozen Baltimore police officers and the owners of a car repair shop have been charged in a towing extortion scheme.

Federal authorities announced Wednesday that 17 officers and two brothers who own Majestic Auto Repair Shop in Rosedale were charged in the conspiracy. Prosecutors say the brothers paid officers to arrange for their company, rather than a city-authorized company, to tow vehicles from accident scenes and make repairs.

Prosecutors say the officers received $300 for each vehicle they steered to Majestic and over the two-year scheme officers received payments totaling between $300 to more than $14,400.

Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the extortion conspiracy.

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