Corruption probe internet New York City policemans, entrepreneur
By Joseph Ax and Nate Raymond New York City (Reuters) – A wide-ranging corruption probe in New York City resulted in charges on Monday against three cops officials and a businessman who prosecutors say schemed to secure favors in exchange for $100,000 in gifts including prostitutes, sports tickets and trips. Their arrests on charges filed in Manhattan federal court marked an escalation of a probe that has likewise been examining the fundraising of Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose inaugural committee counted the entrepreneur, Jeremy Reichberg, as a member. A criminal grievance said Reichberg, 42, and a real estate investor, Jona Rechnitz, offered extravagant benefits to top New York Cops Department officials, including Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant. In exchange, district attorneys stated, Reichberg and Rechnitz had Grant, 43, and Harrington, 50, on call to offer police escorts, unique access to parades, the capability to obtain from tickets and aid with gun license applications. “They got, in result, a private police force for themselves and their friends,” Manhattan U.S. Lawyer Preet Bharara told a news conference on Monday. Police Commissioner William Bratton has actually previously acknowledged the level of authorities corruption amongst high-ranking officers seems the most considerable because the 1970s, when an examination by a panel referred to as the Knapp Commission revealed pervasive bribery in the department. However he has actually stressed that the scope of that corruption far overtakes the present problems, in his view. David Villanueva, a sergeant, was likewise charged for accepting bribes to expedite weapon license applications for Alex Lichtenstein, a member of a volunteer safety patrol in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn who was charged in April. A 5th policeman, Richard Ochetal, secretly pleaded guilty on June 14 to his role because fraud and has aided district attorneys in the events against Grant, Harrington and Villanueva, 42, according to district attorneys and court records. Grant, Harrington, Villanueva and Reichberg are expected to appear in court in the future Monday. Attorneys for numerous of the defendants said their customers committed no criminal activities. “Our company believe there was no unlawful conduct and we’ll proceed appropriately,” said John Meringolo, Grant’s attorney. The case came from among numerous overlapping state and federal examinations that have resulted in about a lots policeman being disciplined and to examination of De Blasio’s fundraising. Reichberg and Rechnitz served on de Blasio’s inaugural committee after his 2013 election. Both men raised cash either for his campaign or for a nonprofit established by de Blasio advisers to advance his program. De Blasio has actually not been implicated of wrongdoing and has consistently said he and his administration have actually acted legally. Monday’s arrests came two weeks after federal prosecutors charged Norman Seabrook, president of the city’s correction policemans union, and Murray Huberfeld, a hedge fund investor, as part of the same investigation. That case, like the most recent charges, followed district attorneys secured a secret guilty plea by Rechnitz, who is now cooperating with authorities in both cases, individuals knowledgeable about the matter have actually said. Susan Necheles, Reichberg’s lawyer, stated he dedicated no crime and his only error was befriending Rechnitz, “who is desperately trying to get others in problem in order to curry favor with district attorneys and conserve his own skin.” Prosecutors said Reichberg, who is connected with a company called JR Professional, and Rechnitz provided a list of bribes for favors. Grant called them the “two elves,” after on Christmas in 2013 they offered his children a computer game system and his other half precious jewelry while wearing elf hats, prosecutors said. Earlier that year, Reichberg and Rechnitz arranged for a woman of the street to travel on a private jet and invest Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas with a group that consisted of Grant, who “made the most of her services,” the problem stated. Harrington, at the same time, received personal security work worth 10s of countless dollars for a business he unofficially assisted handle, hotel spaces for a household journey to Chicago and sports tickets, district attorneys stated.