Stellar Behavior – Perverting the Course of Justice – Yet Another Reason to Disband Shomrim Groups, Stamford Hill, UK

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Neighbourhood watch pair jailed over false robbery accusations

Two men have been convicted of falsely accusing two teenagers of robbery in north London.

Community neighbourhood watch group Shomrim Stamford Hill called police claiming the youths had tried to steal a moped from delivery driver Thiago Alves Vieira last July.

However, CCTV disproved the story.

Vieira, 38, from Edmonton, was jailed for eight months while Michael Scher, 32, was jailed for five months, suspended for two years.

Both had previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Wood Green Crown Court heard how police received a number of calls stating that two juveniles had been detained for robbery by the group on 3 July.

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On arrival officers were told the pair, aged 13 and 15, had surrounded Vieira, demanded his moped keys and pushed him.

Vieira, along with Scher, of Amhurst Park, and Yaakov Nowogrodski, who were also members of Shomrim, made sworn statements to support this version of events.

However, this was proven to be a “deliberate criminal conspiracy,” police said.

‘Disgraceful’

Officers later located CCTV that showed the boys had not gone near Vieira.

Det Sgt James Leeks, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Why these men decided to fabricate this case may never be explained. However, abusing the criminal justice system in such an underhand manner is disgraceful.”

Nowogrodski, 27, was found to have fled the country after he was charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and false imprisonment. A warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck, president of Stamford Hill Shomrim, said: “The Shomrim members involved in this incident were immediately suspended as soon as we were made aware of these serious allegations.

To continue reading click here.

Lichtenstein, Villanueva, Ochetal, Soohoo, Espinel, Velastro, Dean – The Gun License List Gets Longer and Longer

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Former New York City Police Department Official Sentenced To 18 Months For Conspiring To Bribe Fellow Officers In Connection With Gun License Bribery Scheme

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that PAUL DEAN was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos today in connection with a bribery scheme involving the approval of gun licenses by the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) License Division.  Specifically, DEAN, who as second-in-command of the License Division had accepted gifts and favors in connection with his approval of gun licenses, conspired upon his retirement from the NYPD to open his own “expediting” business in which he would pay bribes to his fellow NYPD officers, once his subordinates in the License Division, to issue gun licenses to DEAN’s clients.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As a high-ranking officer and supervisor in the NYPD’s License Division, Paul Dean was entrusted with ensuring the integrity of the process for issuing gun licenses in New York City.  Instead of embracing that trust and focusing on the safety of New Yorkers, he monetized it for his own benefit, and enabled officers under his command to do the same.  Together with our partners in law enforcement, my office has worked tirelessly to make sure those efforts by Dean and others involved ended not with dollar signs, but in prison cells.  We will continue to root out corrupt law enforcement officers where we find them, while commending the vast majority of officers who, unlike Dean, serve the City of New York honestly and honorably.”

According to the Indictment and Complaint filed in this case, other public filings, and statements made during the plea proceeding:

DEAN was a member of the NYPD from 1994 through 2016, and was assigned to the License Division from 2008 through 2016.  DEAN, a lieutenant, was one of the highest-ranking members of the License Division and, from approximately November 2014 through November 2015, regularly ran its day-to-day operations.  Co-defendant Robert Espinel was a member of the NYPD from 1995 through his retirement in 2016, and was assigned to the License Division from 2011 through 2016.

From at least 2013 through 2016, multiple NYPD officers in the License Division serving under DEAN’s command, including David Villanueva and Richard Ochetal, solicited and accepted bribes from gun license expediters – including Frank Soohoo, Alex Lichtenstein, a/k/a “Shaya,” and co-defendant Gaetano Valastro, a former NYPD detective – in exchange for providing assistance to the expediters’ clients in obtaining gun licenses quickly and often with little to no diligence.  DEAN, aware of this bribery arrangement, approved many of the gun license applications submitted by these expediters, despite the fact that no substantial due diligence had been performed on them.  As part of the scheme, licenses were issued for individuals with substantial criminal histories, including arrests and convictions for crimes involving weapons or violence, and for individuals with histories of domestic violence.

DEAN accepted things of value from the expediters whose applications he approved, including $1,000 cash from Lichtenstein, catered meals and alcohol from Soohoo, and gun equipment from Valastro.  DEAN also accepted gifts and favors directly from applicants whose licenses he approved, including free meals at restaurants, free liquor from a liquor distributor, free beer and soda from a beverage distributor, free car repairs from car shops, and free entertainment.

In 2015, dissatisfied with the fact that private gun expediters were profiting thousands of dollars per gun license applicant when DEAN and others did the work to approve those applications, DEAN and Espinel decided to retire and go into the expediting business themselves.  In order to ensure the success of their business, DEAN and Espinel planned to bribe Villanueva and Ochetal, who were still in the License Division, to enable their clients to get special treatment.  They also agreed with Valastro to run their expediting and bribery scheme out of Valastro’s gun store.  According to the plan, Valastro would benefit from the scheme because DEAN and Espinel would steer successful applicants to Valastro’s store to buy guns.  They also tried to corner the expediting market by forcing other expediters to work through them.  Specifically, DEAN and Espinel attempted to coerce Frank Soohoo, another gun license expediter, into sharing his expediting clients with them by threatening to use their influence in the License Division to shut down Soohoo’s expediting business if Soohoo refused to work with, and make payments to, DEAN and Espinel.

Espinel and Valastro have previously pled guilty and are awaiting sentence.  Villanueva, Ochetal, Lichtenstein, and Soohoo have also pled guilty in case number 16 Cr. 342 (SHS).  Lichtenstein was sentenced by the U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein to 32 months in prison, and the remaining defendants are awaiting sentence.

*                *                *

In addition to the prison term, DEAN, 46, was sentenced to two years of supervised release, a fine of $7,500, and forfeiture of $1,000.

Mr. Berman thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department, Internal Affairs Division, for their outstanding investigative work in this matter.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly Ravener is in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s):
Public Corruption
Press Release Number:
19-022
Updated January 31, 2019

Borough Park Shomrim Member, Moshe Steinberg, Aiding and Abetting a Scofflaw – on Video… oh…and the racism

Group of Brooklyn Residents Help Motorist Escape NYPD Tow Truck (VIDEO)

A group of Brooklyn residents helped a motorist escape a tow truck operated by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on Thursday. Video of the incident made its way to social media on Friday when a Twitter user posted the footage in order to apparently help the NYPD identify some of the culprits.

Brooklynites can be heard shouting in the video as the driver guns their minivan to break out of a set of tow bars previously deployed in the Borough Park neighborhood at the corner of 44th Street and 15th Avenue.

Much of the off-camera commentary is in Yiddish but some of the taunting becomes racial–clearly directed toward the NYPD traffic agent, who is black.

“You’re in the wrong precinct,” someone says. “He should work in Harlem. They’ll kill him over there.”

Another voice is somewhat more sympathetic.

“Oh this is so bad,” a man says, “the guy worked his ass off for a half hour.”

The incident also made waves on the Kensington Brooklyn NY Facebook group where the post’s author noted:

“Scofflaw motorist” HAS 37 VIOLATIONS including 3 School Zone Speed Camera Violations🤬
… Boro Park Shomrim member Moshe Steinberg Unit-22 caught on tape assisting scofflaw motorist flee from NYPD. Steinberg is also seen harassing NYPD officer as bystander taunts the officer with racist remarks.

Both the Twitter and the Facebook post identify the Shomrim–a Jewish neighborhood watch volunteer group–as taking part in helping the motorist dodge the tow truck’s grasp.

“I thought Shomrim was suppose to assist the NYPD?” the Twitter user asked out loud in a separate post.

The NYPD issued a stinging rebuke of the crowd’s behavior.

“We will not tolerate our traffic agents being subject to abuse in any form, not the least of which is the ugly example we see in this video,” NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel told the New York Daily News.

“NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents responded to the area at the request of community members and local representatives who were concerned about illegal parking conditions that impede the flow of traffic, including emergency vehicles. This is disgusting behavior against an agent who was doing his job to keep New Yorkers safe while exhibiting restraint and professionalism.”

The traffic agent had reportedly already completed all the necessary paperwork and thus the driver’s information was collected so they are still expected to ultimately pay the necessary fine at least. They could also face additional charges.

The Shomrim Run Amok, Terrorizing Traffic Enforcement, Only 1 Example

Dear Readers:

An article of LostMessiah from 2016 has been reprinted on another WordPress site, one dealing specifically with police corruption. We would like to thank the editor.

If the public at large cannot count on its police force to protect it, there can be nothing more than utter lawlessness.

The link to that reprint is: https://corruptionbycops.com/index.php/2019/01/13/shomrim-the-protectors-or-players-1-9/  In that article, in 2016, we suggested that many of the Shomrim had questionable motives and we found it difficult to draw straight line. In other words, we thought many of the members of the Shomrim were bent.

We pose the following questions to you: when do the Shomrim cross the line between lawful protectors and mafia-style enforcers? Are they above the law because they are conveniently positioned to help their own when the opportunity to presents itself? And, are New Yorkers safe if the Shomrim are wearing uniforms suggesting they are assisting law enforcement but are in actuality terrorizing those who are indeed holding the public at large accountable.

The article below is just another concrete example of a system gone utterly wrong. It proves that the hens are ruling the hen-house and nothing good can come of it. The Shomrim in the recent news article below are nothing more than criminal enforcers, thugs. Something should be done before the difference between right and wrong in the City of New York, particularly the Shomrim run neighborhoods, becomes indiscernible. 

Brooklynites gang up on NYPD traffic agent trying to tow car

An angry mob of Brooklynites pounced on an NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent when he tried to tow their friend’s car, then harassed and taunted him for doing his job, video of the incident shows.

The melee began on Thursday morning in front of 1501 44th St. in Borough Park when an NYPD tow truck was dispatched to remove a brown minivan that was parked illegally.

A group of angry residents quickly swarmed the location and began removing the car from the hitch, police and union representatives said.

“Before the tow driver could raise the vehicle so the motorist couldn’t leave the scene people from the community… got in the car and drove off,” said Marvin Robbins, first vice president of the Local 283, which represents tow truck drivers and other city workers.

Robbins said the person who got into the car was not the owner of the vehicle but instead part of a Shomrim, a collection of Jewish community watchdogs who engage in police matters and supposedly work hand in hand with the NYPD.

The men outside trying to stop the tow from happening worked together to help the minivan flee — a black SUV was in front of the offending van and the men instructed the SUV to get out of the way.

“That allowed [the minivan] to escape,” Robbins said.

Video of the incident posted to Twitter shows the traffic agent attempting to reason with the person driving the minivan, walking up to his window to try to get him to stop before the van sped away.

Then, the men on the sidewalk began taunting the traffic agent and making fun of him.

“This is so great,” one guy sneered.

“What a loser… This guy worked his a– off for like a half hour,” he went on.

Another man can be heard yelling to the traffic agent, who is black, “You’re in the wrong precinct… you should work in Harlem! They’ll kill him over there.”

A spokesperson for the NYPD said the attack against the traffic agent was unacceptable.

“We will not tolerate our traffic agents being subject to abuse in any form, not the least of which is the ugly example we see in this video,” NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel said.

“NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents responded to the area at the request of community members and local representatives who were concerned about illegal parking conditions that impede the flow of traffic, including emergency vehicles. This is disgusting behavior against an agent who was doing his job to keep New Yorkers safe while exhibiting restraint and professionalism.”

A complaint has been filed with the 66th Precinct, and police said they have information belonging to the vehicle’s owner. He is expected to be charged with obstruction of governmental administration because he got in the way of a traffic agent doing his job.

Robbins said the agent has over 20 years as a tow driver and is expected to do his job and tow offending vehicles.

“This is what my drivers encounter on a daily basis out here in the City of New York… no one respects the tow truck operators,” Robbins said, adding the driver was back at work today.

“You try to remain as professional as possible but their backs are against the wall.”

As the men swarmed the agent, demanding his badge number and threatening to post the video to YouTube, one man could be heard saying, “This is my place, this is not your place.”

The agent eventually got into his tow truck and drove away.

“I think that he did the best that he could, he didn’t lose it, it could’ve went a totally different way,” Robbins said.

 

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Grant Acquitted, Reichberg Convicted

Ex-Cop Acquitted, Businessman Convicted in NYPD Bribery Trial

 

A former NYPD deputy inspector was acquitted on all counts in a bribery scheme trial — but his businessman co-defendant didn’t get off so easily.

A jury on Wednesday acquitted former NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant of all of the charges he faced. Businessman Jeremy Reichberg was convicted on four of five counts he faced.

Grant and Reichberg were facing trial for honest services fraud, bribery and conspiracy charges.

The scheme allegedly involved “the receipt of tens of thousands of dollars in meals, trips, home renovations, and other benefits in exchange for an array of official NYPD actions, including private police escorts, ticket fixing, and assistance in settling private disputes,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said.

New Yorkers React to NYPD Probe Connected to Mayor’s Fundraising Investigation

[NY] New Yorkers React to NYPD Probe Connected to Mayor's Fundraising Investigation
New charges against the NYPD officers are connected to an investigation involving men who have raised money for Mayor De Blasio. It has put the city’s top cop on the defensive and has New Yorkers questioning the Mayor. The I-Team’s Melissa Russo has that part of the story for us. (Published Monday, June 20, 2016)

Grant, along with Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Sgt. David Villanueva, were accused of accepting gifts and favors from influential businessmen in exchange for favorable treatment and official services, including one instance in which the businessmen allegedly pulled strings to get the NYPD to shut down a lane of the Lincoln Tunnel so officers could escort an entrepreneur visiting from another country.

Reichberg and another businessman, Alex Lichtenstein, were also named in a trio of criminal complaints unsealed in 2016.

A fourth officer, Richard Ochetal, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in connection with the probe.

Prosecutors alleged that Harrington and Grant accepted expensive meals, game systems, hotel stays and other benefits in exchange for being “on call” for Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, another businessman who previously pleaded guilty to charges and has been cooperating with federal investigators.

Court papers also alleged that Reichberg and Rechnitz used their connections for a variety of purposes.

According to the criminal complaints, Reichberg and Rechnitz allegedly took Grant, another unnamed detective and others on a private jet to Las Vegas for Super Bowl XLVII. The two businessmen also allegedly arranged for a prostitute to join in on the trip, and the prostitute spent the weekend in Grant’s hotel room.

4 NYPD Officers, 2 Others Charged in Corruption Investigation

[NY] 4 NYPD Officers, 2 Others Charged in Corruption Investigation

Six people, including four NYPD officers, were charged Monday morning in connection with an ongoing federal corruption investigation, law enforcement officials told NBC 4 New York. (Published Monday, June 20, 2016)

Grant also allegedly let the businessmen pay for a hotel in Rome, several home projects and a $3,000 watch. On Christmas in 2014, the complaint alleges that Reichberg and Rechnitz showed up to Grant’s home wearing elf hats and gave his children and wife gifts.

The two businessmen also allegedly recommended that Grant, then the head of the 72nd Precinct, be promoted to the head of the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side in 2014 and were on the phone when Grant’s supervisor told him about the promotion.

In exchange for the gifts, the complaint alleges that Grant regularly provided the pair police escorts and allowed the businessmen and their friends around police barricades. He also helped Reichberg get a gun license in about a third of the time it normally takes.

The charges came amid a widening probe that focused on whether former NYPD supervisors accepted gifts and vacations in exchange for official services like police escorts, fixing tickets or shutting down streets for private events.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

R&R Bad Cop Awards – a Friendship Gone Too Far, but Trophies Awarded

Bad cop awards! Top NYPD officers accepted ‘friendship’ trophies from accused bribers

Bad cop awards! Top NYPD officers accepted 'friendship' trophies from accused bribers

Ex-Deputy Inspector James (Jimmy) Grant accepted a “friendship award” from Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz. He is on trial for accepting bribes. (Court Documents)

Two men accused of bribing NYPD officers handed out awards to their special friends at a 2013 Jets game, testimony revealed Wednesday.

Jona Rechnitz, who has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and is cooperating with the government, said he and Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg, 44, handed out fancy crystal trophies in a private suite at MetLife Stadium during a big game against the New England Patriots.

Among the recipients during the Oct. 20, 2013 “ceremony” were ex-Deputy Inspector James (Jimmy) Grant, former Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and former Deputy Chief David Colon, photos shown in court revealed.

 

(Photo Left) Ex-NYPD Deputy Chief David Colon and former Deputy Chief Michael Harrington accept an award from Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz.
(Photo Left) Ex-NYPD Deputy Chief David Colon and former Deputy Chief Michael Harrington accept an award from Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz. (Court Documents)

“We gave him this crystal, said something about him and gave him this award,” Rechnitz, 35, said of Grant.

The trophies bearing a clear crystal football read “thank you for your friendship” and “Police Appreciation Day.”

 

Rechnitz said he covered the cost for the awards, suite and catered food.

 

Reichberg and Grant, 45, are on trial in Manhattan Federal Court for bribery.

 

Reichberg is accused of giving gifts like fancy meals, sports tickets and posh vacations to an array of officers.

 

Rechnitz said he and Reichberg treated Grant to those goodies, as well as a private flight to Las Vegas in 2013 with a prostitute.

 

The cop-corrupting duo ordered 18 awards, including ones for other cops who did not attend, Rechnitz said.

 

Some names that appeared on the trophies, like Inspector Tim Beaudette and Chief James Secreto, were of cops Rechnitz testified that he and Reichberg had hoped to cultivate.

 

But Secreto and Beaudette both rejected their attempts to draw them in, according to Rechnitz.

 

The name of then-Chief of Department Philip Banks.also appeared on a trophy, but he didn’t show up.

 

“Banks was annoyed,” Rechnitz said. “He said he wasn’t going to come if other cops were there. He didn’t want to be at those events. He thought it was inappropriate to be there.”

 

Banks’ brother, however, was at the game. A huge Cowboys fan, Banks’ bro received a trophy with his nickname, Jerry Jones, Rechnitz said.

 

Harrington was sentenced to two years’ probation for his role in the bribes-for-favors scandal. Colon resigned in 2016 after being linked to the scandal, though his union rep said at the time it was for “personal reasons.”

 

The feds consider Colon and Banks “unindicted coconspirators.”

 

Meanwhile, Rechnitz also shed new light on his relationship with Mayor de Blasio.

His testimony further contradicted Hizzoner’s claim that he barely knew Rechnitz or Reichberg.

 

Evidence displayed in court showed that Rechnitz exchanged emails directly with the mayor about who to pick for the NYPD’s most prominent positions.

Rechnitz and Reichberg lobbied de Blasio aggressively to award the job of police commissioner to Banks in late 2013.

 

When Banks resigned from the department entirely in Oct. 2014, they pleaded with de Blasio to give Banks his old job back under Commissioner Bill Bratton.

 

“What can we do for you to refuse Banks’ resignation and get him back in? And for Bratton to see past Phil’s monstrous mistake?” Rechnitz wrote directly to de Blasio.

 

The mayor even invited Rechnitz to speak with him face to face at South Street Seaport about Banks.

 

On the stand, Rechnitz referred to the mayor by his first name.

 

“I asked him if he’d reconsider. He said that Banks had made a mistake,” Rechnitz said. “I remember Bill was fuming that day.”

 

“He said he had embarrassed the mayor. He had high aspirations for (Banks), was going to make him police commissioner one day and he had really made a big mistake,” Rechnitz recalled de Blasio saying.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

R&R and Cops for Wingmen? Why Was the Nurse so Easily Wooed?

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De Blasio donor allegedly got an NYPD sergeant to chauffeur a nurse he was wooing

Lots of guys have a wingman — but when married mayoral donor Jeremy Reichberg tried to impress a lady, he had NYPD brass and a police chauffeur at his beck and call, according to court testimony Wednesday.

In 2014, Reichberg got a sergeant to drive her to and from a nail salon on Church Street in Brooklyn, Mt. Sinai-based registered nurse Tara Sheils told jurors at the NYPD bribery trial in federal court in Manhattan.

“I wanted to get a manicure and pedicure,” the flame-haired nurse told jurors, testifying for the prosecution against ex-NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, who allegedly pocketed bribes from Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, a fellow donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“He walked me in and said, ‘Take care of her,’ and told me to call when I was done and he would pick me up,” at the salon, Sheils said of her personal police driver, whom she remembered only as “Sgt. Adriano.”

The nurse first met Reichberg when he was hospitalized for emergency gallbladder surgery — during which time an NYPD officer guarded Reichberg’s hospital door, an honor normally reserved for injured cops.

Reichberg and Sheils’ relationship was first revealed in November.

Sheils didn’t ‘fess up to an actual affair with Reichberg. But when Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Ravener asked, “Did your relationship turn flirtatious?,” she answered, “Yes.”

As part of his flirtations, Reichberg arranged for Sheils to enjoy an NYPD promotion ceremony at police headquarters, where she was given a personal tour and then invited into the offices of convicted ex-NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and ex-Chief of Department Philip Banks. Reichberg had already given her Harrington’s cellphone number — with instructions to call if she needed anything, she testified.

Harrington has been sentenced to two years’ probation in the corruption probe.