Monday, June 20, 2016
NYPD officials busted in corruption investigation took 'substantial bribes' from de Blasio fund-raiser, including hookers: criminal complaint
Four members of the NYPD and a prominent fund-raiser for Mayor de Blasio were busted Monday morning as part of the ongoing corruption investigation for taking bribes--including free hookers--in exchange for doing favors for politically connected businessmen, according to a law enforcement official.
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant, Police Officer Richard Ochetal, and Sgt. David Villanueva were arrested, law enforcement sources confirmed.
Harrington was the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan North. Grant was the commanding officer of the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side.
Ochetal and Villanueva were both assigned to the gun licensing division.
Jeremy Reichberg, a Brooklyn-based businessman and prominent fund-raiser for Mayor de Blasio, was also arrested, sources said.
At least two others — including another member of the NYPD — are also expected to be arrested Monday.
The arrests were made by FBI agents and members of the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau.
Grant and Harrington accepted "substantial bribes" from Reichberg, including hookers, flights, hotels rooms, jewelry, business cards, and pricey meals, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan.
Reichberg paid for home improvements and high-end seats at sporting events.
Reichberg spent well over $100,000 on the cops, the complaint said.
In return, Reichberg and friends in the hasidic Jewish community in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn got favors, like police escorts, assistance with private disputes, free security at religious sites, fixed tickets, and special access to parades and other cultural events, the complaint said.
Reichberg brazenly carried around business cards which identified him as an "NYPD Liaison," and claimed he could fix tickets and smooth out other police issues, and he was a "fix it guy."
A key witness told the feds that he and Reichberg had "ready access" to the highest levels of the NYPD through Harrington.
They would have a "one-stop shop for assistance via Harrington.
On behalf of a jewelry store, Reichberg used his NYPD connection to cops in one instance to disperse people handing out brochures for a rival diamond salesman.
Reichberg also personally got a lane closed in the Lincoln Tunnel and a police escort for a businessman visiting the United States.
In January, 2013, Reichberg flew Grant and an NYPD detective to Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend. A high-end hooker came along for the flight, and spent the weekend with the group.
Grant allegedly had sex with the prostitute, the complaint said.
Villanueva, who was assigned to the gun licensing division, is accused of taking bribes from Alex "Shaya" Lichtenstein.
Lichtenstein, a prominent member of the Borough Park Shomrim, a Jewish security patrol, allegedly bribed Villanueva to obtain gun licenses for his clients.
Lichtenstein's clients paid up to $18,000 per license.
Grant is also accused of helping people obtain gun licenses.
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