Gun Licenses in Brooklyn in Exchange for Political Favors – More of Shaya Lichtenstein Investigation


A police officer trades gun licenses for money and favors thereby committing one or several crimes. He defiles the very institution of criminal justice. A Brooklyn prosecutor involved in this scheme is not only committing a crime but violating the very tenets of the legal system and his oath as an attorney.

All of this is in the name of personal gain.

Is the law enforcement officer not also rigging the job market for other police officers? Is he not manipulating the tax system used to pay the salaries of those officers?  Is the prosecutor not also potentially creating more work for himself, thereby increasing dependence upon him and the office in which he sits?

We posit that corruption within the ranks of law enforcement, the justice system, the legal profession and the supporting political system represents an existential threat to our survival and should be viewed under that lens.


The New York Times:

3 Retired Officers and Ex-Prosecutor Charged in Graft Inquiry

Three retired police officers and a former Brooklyn prosecutor were charged on Tuesday in a widening federal corruption investigation into the New York City Police Department and its gun-licensing division.

The charges revolve around a scheme in which so-called gun-licensing expediters bribed police officers in exchange for approvals of hard-to-obtain gun permits, according to two criminal complaints unsealed on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The complaints also show that a former New York police sergeant, David Villanueva, and a gun-license expediter who interacted frequently with the department’s license division have pleaded guilty to bribery and other charges and are cooperating with the authorities.

The charges are the most significant development in the long-running police corruption inquiry since June, when two police commanders were arrested and accused of accepting expensive gifts from two politically connected businessmen in return for illicit favors. Sergeant Villanueva and an officer were also charged at the time in relation to the gun-licensing scheme.

The former officers charged on Tuesday were Paul Dean, who had been a lieutenant, and Robert Espinel; both had been assigned to the license division. A third defendant, Gaetano Valastro, who retired as a detective in 1999, owned and operated a store in Queens that sold firearms and related equipment and also provided firearms training courses, the complaint says.

All three men were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery; Mr. Dean and Mr. Espinel were also charged with one count of extortion and Mr. Valastro with one count of making false statements.

The former prosecutor who was charged is John Chambers, a lawyer who specialized in helping clients navigate the gun application process in both New York City and Nassau County. He was charged with bribery and conspiracy.

Mr. Chambers gave then-Sergeant Villanueva of the gun-licensing division tickets to Broadway shows, a Paul Picot watch valued at $8,000, tickets to sporting events, sports memorabilia and cash, according to a criminal complaint sworn by an F.B.I. agent. In return, Sergeant Villanueva “ensured that renewals of N.Y.P.D. gun licenses for Chambers’ clients were approved significantly faster,” the complaint charges.

Mr. Chambers was an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

The charges were announced at a news conference on Tuesday by Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney in Manhattan; William F. Sweeney, the head of the F.B.I.’s New York field office; and James P. O’Neill, the police commissioner. The F.B.I. has been conducting the investigation with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau since 2013.

The charges come weeks after a Brooklyn man, Alex Lichtenstein, was sentenced to 32 months in prison on charges that he paid police officials thousands of dollars in bribes to obtain expedited handgun licenses for his clients.


Bribery, Guns and 32 Months



Brooklyn Businessman Sentenced to 32 Months in NYPD Bribery Scheme

MANHATTAN — A Brooklyn businessman who bribed NYPD officers in exchange for expediting gun licenses for clients was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Thursday.

Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, 45, had pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges after paying tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes since 2013 to Sergeant David Villanueva in the licensing division, who then shared some of the money with Officer Richard Ochetal.

“By engaging in an egregious scheme to trade cash for gun licenses, Alex Lichtenstein and his co-defendants in the New York City Police Department corrupted the sensitive process of evaluating gun license applications in New York City,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.

“Today’s sentence shows that individuals who so brazenly abuse the public’s trust in law enforcement — whether they are the officers receiving bribes or the citizens paying them — will be held to account for their crimes.”

Lichtenstein — who served as the leader of the Borough Park neighborhood patrol, Shomrim — made off with between $150,000 to $250,000 from his clients, some of whom had criminal convictions and a history of domestic violence.

He was finally banned from the licensing division in 2016 after rumors spread about his client fees and he then tried to bribe another officer who recorded the Brooklyn businessman offering a $6,000 bribe.

Lichtenstein was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $230,000.


Shaya Lichtenstein’s Secret Recordings

Shaya Lichtenstein secretly recorded some 70,000 conversations, including many with cops. Singing like a Chazzan


A crooked gun broker secretly made thousands of recordings of conversations with corrupt NYPD cops, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The revelation likely will send shock waves through the department.
In a letter filed in Manhattan Federal Court, prosecutors said Alex (Shaya) Lichtenstein secretly recorded some 70,000 conversations, including many with cops.
In November, Lichtenstein pleaded guilty to bribing NYPD officers to obtain pistol licenses.
Lichtenstein saved the conversations to an e-mail account, “many of them contemporaneous memorialization of dealings of questionable legality with members of the NYPD,” according to the letter written by Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell.
“During our initial review of those recordings, we learned that some of these calls implicated at least one of the defendants in this case.”
The feds said they also got “material” from the phones of Jeremy Reichberg, a Brooklyn businessman who is accused of doling out gifts to senior cops, including trips to the Super Bowl, Brazil and China, sources said.
That material was not described in any more specifics.
Lichtenstein pleaded guilty on Nov. 10 to offering a cop $6,000 in exchange for an expedited gun permit.
“I had a good and friendly relationship with New York City police officers. During these years, I gave police officers in the Licensing Division things of value, including money, knowing that by giving them those things, the officers would do me favors, including expediting gun license applications,” Lichtenstein, 45, said.
Sgt. David Villanueva is accused of accepting gifts in exchange for helping speed up weapons permits.
Police Officer Richard Ochetal, formerly of the gun licensing unit, pleaded guilty to charges relating to the probe — and is cooperating with cops, the feds said in June.
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant were also arrested for allegedly acting as “cops on call” for Reichberg and another wealthy de Blasio donor, Jona Rechnitz.

For further reading:

Brooklyn gun broker secretly recorded conversations with corrupt NYPD cops

Lichtenstein Pleads GUILTY!


Alex Lichtenstein of Pomona, a volunteer for the Brooklyn Borough Park Shomrim, sold the licenses for up to $18,000 each, prosecutors said.

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Future Top Cop – In Bed with the Borough Park Corrupt – Community Board 12

Ringel and Community Board 12

Community Board 12, Yidel Perlstein… Bringing our Old Friends Back to the Forefront…


Community leader boasted about snagging favor from future top cop

A Borough Park community leader bragged on a taped phone call how he pulled some strings to get future top cop James O’Neill to transfer a friendly lieutenant back to the neighborhood, The Post has learned.

Community Board 12 Chairman Yidel Perlstein wanted Michael Andreano returned to Borough Park’s 66th Precinct from the 60th in Brighton Beach, where the cop had been shipped following his promotion.

Perlstein, speaking in Yiddish, describes in the secretly recorded conversation how he approached NYPD Assistant Chief Steven Powers at a September 2015 breakfast meeting in Williamsburg and asked that Andreano be moved.

Perlstein claims that he offered Powers dinner at a local kosher steakhouse to grease the wheels for the personnel move, with Powers then talking to O’Neill, who was the NYPD’s chief of department at the time and happened to be at the meeting.

“I told Powers, ‘I will take you out to The Loft for supper,’ ” Perlstein says on the recording.

“So I told Powers, go over to O’Neill, to tell him to make an exception, to have Andreano back. So Powers and others went over to O’Neill and made the request to O’Neill and O’Neill said, ‘No problem, permission granted,’ with a big smile on his face.

“And [Andreano] was already the next day at work,” he adds.

The phone call was taped by a community activist who shared an excerpt with The Post. New York law permits people to secretly record conversations in which they take part.

Captains-union President Roy Richter said the commanding officer of the 66th put in a request to retain Andreano as soon as he was promoted — though he did not return until after the September meeting.

On Monday, The Post exclusively reported that Andreano had been stripped of his badge and gun over his ties to Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, a leader of Borough Park’s “Shomrim” safety patrol.

Lichtenstein was busted by the feds in April on charges he offered nearly $1 million in bribes to score pistol permits from the NYPD’s License Division for clients who paid him up to $18,000 a pop.

Andreano’s transfer back to the 66th was highly unusual, because protocol dictates that cops get moved following a promotion to avoid animosity from former colleagues and to prevent corruption, a high-ranking NYPD official said.

To read the NYPost article in its entirety click here.

More Arrests and Indictments – Our Diamond Theory…



Lost Messiah, July 8, 2016

Our theory regarding the connections by and among the following people: Jona Rechnitz, Jeremy Reichberg, Africa-Israel, Norman Seabrook, Hamlet Peralta, Lev Leviev, Sam Pa, the Queensway Group, Platinum Partners, Mark Nordlicht, Murray Huberfeld and others has always been founded on the links that all of these people have to diamonds, diamond mining, diamond production, diamond investing and more diamonds.

389763bc-6455-4389-a590-fc714c20d1b2The ownership and providence of 23 Wall Street, the Antwerp Building, the Madison Avenue Clock Tower and their connections to both Africa-Israel and Jona Rechnitz and by default to Lev Leviev and Sam Pa has again led us to the underlying theme of Lev Leviev’s major business interests, diamonds.

Sam Pa and China Sonangol are also known for mining, diamonds.

sam-paIn fact, Sam Pa and China Sonangol have been accused of human rights abuses related to diamond mining. The fact that Rechnitz tells some outrageous fantasy story about duping Sam Pa into purchasing 23 Wall Street instead of the Madison Avenue Clock Tower building is all smoke and mirrors. Rechnitz’s indictment that Sam Pa purchased that building from Africa-Israel as a favor to Lev Leviev, who was apparently cash poor at the time,  is an incriminating evocation that the two men knew each other. That sort of favor, if true, would indicate more than simple cursory introductions. Rechnitz’s statement is a dead-giveaway in our opinion regardless of truth or accuracy of the statements, that Lev Leviev and Sam Par are business associates of sorts. We are guessing…. diamonds or diamond mining.  

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Seabrook and Huberfeld and Platinum – WE CALLED IT!!!


Unorthodox Returns.Paladium Partners

Platinum Funds- WE CALLED IT!!! –


David Bodner was the subject of one of our first articles regarding a house sold in Monsey and the questionable transfer of the title. He connected us to Platinum and while we have not focused on Black Elk, all of the events regarding that fund have irked us and our contributors and sources for months.

And then Mark Nordlicht... His moral compass may be missing the “N” as the directional. He makes money betting on nursing home patients who are on the verge of death, with the help of a California Rabbi. We have our suspicions as to that Rabbi’s identity, a “philanthropist.”

The article we have posted below this one has been our Bible for exploring this fund and its activities, if for no other reason but the numbers simply don’t make sense. The patterns are wrong. There is much more to this than meets the eye.

We are still waiting on the connections to illegal diamond smuggling, the event-driven nursing home dead/undead life insurance investment schemes and so many collateral issues to come to light. For now…. Seabrook and Huberfeld are a very good start.

See below for Articles on Platinum Partners, cited in our previous articles.

LostMessiah June 8, 2016


FBI Arrests Correction Union President Norman Seabrook For Wire Fraud

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s corruption investigation into NYC officials has now landed another big fish: Correction union president Norman Seabrook was arrested this morning, on wire fraud charges. Seabrook is accused of receiving kickbacks in exchange for funneling millions of union retiree benefits and operating funds to a hedge fund run by Murray Huberfeld.

Huberfeld, who gave start-up capital to the fund Platinum Partners, was also charged with wire fraud.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported, “Jona Rechnitz, a Brooklyn real-estate investor, referred Norman Seabrook, the president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, to Platinum Partners, the people said. The investment put a large percentage of the union’s money in a firm that has had a mixed stretch. Platinum generally has reported steady returns. Last December it blocked investors from withdrawing some of their money in one fund that contains hard-to-sell assets, according to people familiar with the matter. Such moves have been rare in the hedge-fund world since the financial crisis.”

The criminal complaint notes that members of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA) pay $45 in union dues during each two-week pay period, resulting in $1,000+ of union fees a year; there are more than 9,000 union members. And Seabrook’s power over the union’s board was immense; from the complaint:


Rechnitz is one of the two businessmen at the center of the federal probe into corruption, with Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg using cash and jewels to allegedly get favors from city officials. Both were major donors to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s election efforts. Numerous high-ranking police officials have retired or been demoted, for giving escorts or helicopter demonstrations.

The NY Times notes, “The relationship between the mayor and Mr. Seabrook has been close in the past. At a 2014 fund-raiser for a union charity, Mr. de Blasio referred to Mr. Seabrook as a ‘friend’ and a ‘great leader.'”

Bharara is holding a press conference at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the charges.



No Blow Up Is Big Enough to Tarnish Platinum Partners’ Returns