Alex Lichtenstein of Pomona, a volunteer for the Brooklyn Borough Park Shomrim, sold the licenses for up to $18,000 each, prosecutors said.
A Pomona man admitted in federal court Thursday that he bribed New York City police officers with thousands of dollars to obtain gun licenses he sold for up to $18,000 each, federal prosecutors said.
Alex Lichtenstein was caught on tape boasting of “using his NYPD connections to obtain 150 gun licenses” and later charging his “clients as much as $18,000 per gun license,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Lichtenstein, 44, known as “Shaya,” pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of offering a bribe when he is sentenced March 16. He faces 57 to 71 months in prison under a plea agreement signed Thursday with federal prosecutors, though his actual sentence will be at the discretion of U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein.
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Brooklyn Businessman Pleads Guilty to Bribing Police for Gun Licenses
MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT — The Brooklyn businessman charged with bribing NYPD officials to obtain gun licenses choked back tears as he confessed to the crime Thursday.
“I gave police officers in the licensing division things of value, including money, knowing that for giving those things, the officers would give me favors,” Alex Lichtenstein, 44, said.
Lichtenstein, wearing a charcoal-gray suit and a yarmulke, pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges. As part of his plea, he is expected be sentenced to 57-71 months in prison, though Judge Sidney Stein could sentence him to 20 years instead.
Lichtenstein — a member of Shomrim, the Orthodox Jewish crime-prevention group in Borough Park — approached an NYPD officer in April and offered thousands of dollars in cash bribes to secure gun licenses for associates, federal prosecutors said.
The officer refused and reported the exchange to the Internal Affairs Bureau.
The policeman later secretly recorded a conversation with Lichtenstein in which he boasted about obtaining gun licenses for about 150 friends dating back to 2013.
“When you did these acts, sir, did you know what you were doing was wrong and illegal?” Stein asked.
“Yes,” Lichtenstein replied.
Lichtenstein had previously been arrested for forgery and had been involved in a slew of car accidents, prosecutors said.
His claims were another black eye for the NYPD in the ongoing corruption probe focusing on high-ranking police officials and Brooklyn businessmen Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who prosecutors say provided gifts in exchange for favors.
“Corruption in any part of government cuts at the very fabric of our society,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “But it is particularly damaging when it undermines public safety.”
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