Monday, June 20, 2016

NYPD Chiefs Michael J. Harrington, James M. Grant, and David Villanueva Arrested on Federal Corruption Charges

Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, left, and Deputy Inspector James Grant

Here's List of Bribes 4 Arrested NYPD Officials Are Accused of Taking

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By Peter Duffy | June 20, 2016 6:43pm
James Grant

NEW YORK CITY — Lavish trips, private jets, gifts and a prostitute. 
Court documents show the extensive list of goods and services received by four NYPD officials who were arrested Monday and charged with accepting bribes in exchange for police escorts, access and gun licenses.
Here's a breakdown of the ill-gotten gains listed in court documents:
Deputy Inspector James Grant
Las Vegas Trip, February 2013
• Grant received round-trip travel to Las Vegas on a private jet, a value of $59,000. 
• One of the passengers on the jet was a prostitute who then stayed in Grant's room and who spent the weekend in Las Vegas with Grant and his friends who "took advantages of her services during the trip," according to the indictment. 
• Grant's rooms and meals were comped during the trip.
Rome Trip, August 2013
• Grant and his family enjoyed a two-night stay in two hotel rooms in Rome, a value of $1,066. 
Other Financial Benefits
• Grant had the railings replaced outside of his Staten Island home, a value of approximately $6,000. 
• The windows were replaced in Grant's home, which cost approximately $6,000. 
• Grant's watch was upgraded, a value of approximately $3,000. 
• On Christmas Day in 2013, Grant received a video game system for his children and a piece of jewelry for his wife, a value of approximately $1,000. 
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington
Chicago Trip, 2014
• Harrington and family members stayed in a downtown Chicago hotel with three rooms for four nights and one room for two nights, a cost of approximately $6,500. 
Other Financial Benefits
• Between May 2013 and November 2014, Harrington was taken to dinner at least once or twice a week, typically at pricey Manhattan restaurants. The bill generally ran between $400 and $500. 
• Harrington received tickets to numerous sporting events, including two $400 tickets to the Brooklyn Nets in January 2014 and two $700 tickets for the New York Rangers in May 2014.
• On Christmas Day in 2013, Harrington received a video game system for his kids.
• For a period of 15 months, Harrington's security company was hired to work at a Manhattan school, receiving $5,000 per month for its services.
Sgt. David Villanueva
Villanueva received:
• Thousands of dollars in bribes.
• Bottles of liquor.
• Limousine rides.
• A limousine tour of wineries.
Officer Richard Ochetal
• Ochetal received cash and benefits.


3 New York Police Commanders Are Arrested on Corruption Charges

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Three New York Police Department commanders, including a deputy chief, were arrested early Monday, along with a Brooklyn businessman, on federal corruption charges stemming from one of several continuing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The arrests, of a deputy chief, a deputy inspector and a sergeant, were one of the most significant roundups of police supervisors in the recent history of the department. In striking the top ranks, the case is a particular blow to the storied — and sometimes sullied — reputation of the nation’s largest municipal police force.
The charges detail lavish gifts the two senior police officials are accused of receiving: complimentary Super Bowl tickets, expensive meals and free overseas trips, including at least one taken in the company of a prostitute, the people said. The sergeant was charged in a scheme that involved aiding applicants for firearms licenses.
The gifts were largely paid for by two businessmen, both of whom have been generous supporters of the mayor. Jeremiah Reichberg, 42, of Borough Park, Brooklyn, was charged along with the officers, the people said. Jona S. Rechnitz, 33, of the Upper West Side, had been a target of the fund-raising investigation until recent weeks, when he pleaded guilty to corruption charges and began cooperating with the federal authorities, the people said.
The arrests in the early morning hours by agents with the F.B.I. and investigators from the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau were followed by the execution of search warrants, the people said. The charges included bribery, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy, and they were scheduled to be announced at a news conference later on Monday.
Arrested were Deputy Chief Michael J. Harrington, 50; Deputy Inspector James M. Grant, 43; and Sgt. David Villanueva, 42. They were expected to appear in United States District Court in Manhattan on Monday afternoon. Their lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
While the charges being leveled against the police officials were uncovered during the fund-raising investigation focused on Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, and his inner circle, there has been no suggestion that the mayor himself was involved in the conduct described in the charging documents in the case, which are expected to be unsealed Monday morning. The fund-raising investigation and several other inquiries by federal prosecutors, the F.B.I. and other agencies focused on the mayor’s donors and fund-raising were continuing. The scope of the broader fund-raising inquiries remains unclear.
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton has said the department believes investigators have identified all of the police officials involved in the alleged misconduct, though it is unknown whether the charges on Monday will conclude that line of inquiry by federal prosecutors, F.B.I. agents and Internal Affairs investigators.
The particular fund-raising investigation that led to these arrests has been going on for well over a year, and in recent months, details of some of the accusations against the police officials who have been charged — and others — have been widely reported in news accounts. Nearly a dozen mostly senior police officials have been disciplined by the Police Department in some way as a result of the inquiry — including some of those charged on Monday. Those disciplined include five deputy chiefs and a deputy inspector; four of the chiefs and the deputy inspector have put in for retirement.
Mr. Rechnitz’s cooperation with federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents has already helped prosecutors bring corruption charges in another case linked to the same fund-raising investigation, people briefed on the matter have said. In that case, a criminal complaint unsealed on June 8 charged Norman Seabrook, the powerful head of the union that represents city correction officers, and Murray Huberfeld, a hedge fund financier, with honest services fraud and conspiracy.
That complaint said Mr. Rechnitz had pleaded guilty to committing honest services fraud in connection with the scheme in which Mr. Seabrook and Mr. Huberfeld were charged, “among other things,” suggesting he was involved in additional criminal conduct. While the document does not identify Mr. Rechnitz by name, referring to him only as CW-1, or Cooperating Witness 1, several people with knowledge of the matter said CW-1 was Mr. Rechnitz. At a news conference announcing the arrests of Mr. Seabrook and Mr. Huberfeld, Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose office filed the complaint, would not answer questions about the identity of CW-1 or the degree to which the witness could be helpful in other cases.
But Mr. Bharara indicated that the witness was “assisting other investigations.”
The criminal complaint in the earlier case details two trips that Mr. Rechnitz, Mr. Seabrook and another businessman — also a supporter of the mayor — took to the Dominican Republic. On the first one, in November 2013, they were accompanied by an unnamed officer from the Police Department. On the second one, in December 2014, the four men were accompanied by a fifth unnamed person. Mr. Rechnitz paid for the airfare for both trips.
Then, in March 2014, Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Rechnitz, the police officer and the other businessman — Mr. Reichberg, who was identified in the criminal complaint as Co-Conspirator 1 or CC-1 — traveled to Israel, with Mr. Rechnitz paying the airfare, according to the complaint. In July of that year, he paid for the same group to travel to Las Vegas and then Burbank, Calif., the complaint said.


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