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

LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM: CRIMES COMMITTED REPRESENT AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT – LM:

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.

LM 

The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/nyregion/3-former-police-officers-and-a-former-prosecutor-are-charged-in-widening-corruption-investigation.html?_r=0

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

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DNA INFO

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.

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY CLICK HERE.

Shaya Lichtenstein’s Secret Recordings

http://dusiznies.blogspot.com/2017/01/shaya-lichtenstein-secretly-recorded.html

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:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-gun-broker-secretly-recorded-corrupt-nypd-cops-article-1.2956091

Brooklyn gun broker secretly recorded conversations with corrupt NYPD cops

Lichtenstein Pleads GUILTY!

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

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161110/civic-center/brooklyn-businessman-guilty-bribing-police-gun-licenses

Continue reading

66th Precinct – What’s the Going Rate for a Corrupt Cop?

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Lt. Michael Andreano Joins the Ranks of those Alleged to be in Bed with the Epidemic of Corruption within the Ultra Orthodox Community of Borough Park and Beyond…

 

NYPD lieutenant stripped of badge, gun over ties to bribery scheme

http://nypost.com/2016/10/24/nypd-lieutenant-stripped-of-badge-gun-over-ties-to-bribery-scheme/

A high-ranking Brooklyn cop has been stripped of his badge and gun over ties to a key figure in an alleged $1 million NYPD bribery scheme, The Post has learned.

Lt. Michael Andreano of the 66th Precinct in Boro Park was put on desk duty as part of the wide-ranging corruption probe that has already resulted in pending charges against three NYPD bosses, sources said.

Andreano is suspected of having improper dealings with Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, a leader of the Boro Park “Shomrim” patrol who in April was busted on bribery and conspiracy charges involving pistol permits, sources said.

“This guy was tight with Shaya and would go out of his way to accommodate him,” a source said.

Andreano served as a community-affairs sergeant in the 66th Precinct before getting promoted to lieutenant in 2015 and transferred to the 60 Precinct in West Brighton.

He was transferred back to the 66th after “a month or two,” sources said, and put in charge of Special Operations there.

Andreano’s return was announced at a Community Council meeting in September 2015, according to the KensingtonBK blog.

Lichtenstein was allegedly recorded offering a whistleblowing cop $6,000 a pop to “expedite” approval of pistol permits for members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.

During that conversation, Lichtenstein used a calculator to show that 150 permits would be worth $900,000, according to the feds.

He also allegedly bragged that he had already scored 150 permits for clients who paid him up to $18,000 each for the service but said he had lost his connection in the NYPD’s License Division.

Earlier this month, a prosecutor revealed there had been “continuous discussions” for Lichtenstein to strike a plea deal, and a judge gave both sides until Nov. 3 to come to terms or proceed with the case.

The cop who secretly recorded Lichtenstein, former License Division member David Ochetal, secretly pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities after admitting that he had accepted “lunch money” from Lichtenstein.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

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

http://nypost.com/2016/10/24/nypd-lieutenant-stripped-of-badge-gun-over-ties-to-bribery-scheme/

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.

Leiby Kletsky – Shaya Lichtenstein, Forever Linked by Murder

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“Thou Shalt Not Kill” – Each and Every Member of the Shomrim The Night that Kletzky Disappeared is Complicit in His Brutal Murder and Subsequent Dismemberment

 

פיקוח נפש

The Saving of One’s Life

“The preservation of human life takes precedence over all the other commandments in Judaism. The Talmud emphasizes this principle by citing the verse from Leviticus [18:5]: “You shall therefore keep my statutes…which if a man do, he shall live by them.” The rabbis add: “That he shall live by them, and not that he shall die by them.” (Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 85b)”

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/saving-a-life-pikuach-nefesh/

The case of Leiby Kletzky (zl.) is one that has haunted many of us for years. He is the victim of a system that prides itself on secrecy beyond all else. That system cares not for the safety of its children, the sexual abuses,  the deplorable conditions in which many children learn, the abuses of women who want a divorce from their husbands and so many other things, because such things are trumped by the obsessive need for secrecy. There is a measure of hypocrisy in a system of beliefs that can set aside the life of a child to protect a community’s secrets. There is a measure of complacence and even complicity. 

Leiby Kletzky (zl.) is also the victim of a system built upon a foundation of corruption, a corruption that runs so deep it is like the blood flowing through the veins of a community that seems to know nothing different. The Shomrim are supposed to be the “protectors” from the Hebrew root Shin Mem Resh – Shmer – protection or Shomer protector. A Shomer Rosh is a body guard. Lshmor is to protect. In the Leiby Kletzky case, the Shomrim did not protect Kletzky but rather destroyed him. Kletzky’s face is the portrait of a boy whose life was a tool within the greater passing around of the spoils of corruption and high finance that pervade Borough Park, CB12 and the NYPD responsible for that precinct. May that beautiful, special and innocent child be forever a lesson to the community of Borough Park, the devout Jews who follow the Torah not necessarily in letter but in spirit; and a lesson to those Jews who call themselves devout but who bastardize the tenets of Judaism for their own personal gain. Leiby Kletzky flies in the face of the spirit of G-d’s laws and represents the perversion some have made of it.

In the case of Leiby Kletzky (zl.), a young boy who had a whole life to live, suffering a brutal death was at the hands of his community, each and every person who refused to get the civil police department involved, who refused to report the situation and perhaps get more hands on deck. His parents are victims also. They must live a life forever altered by the death of a child. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. To them we offer our unending condolences, our everlasting hope for peace of mind and spirit.

For Leiby Kletzky (zl.) we hope one day to be a part of a vindication we believe you so desperately deserve. You deserved better from your insular community. You deserved to live a long and happy life. We hope to ensure that those who have been prey to the wrongs of your community also get the vindication they deserve: the children who are abused, the children who study in deplorable conditions,  the children who are denied an education that might offer them choices, the parents who are often denied their children in rigged custody battles, the elderly who suffer abuse at the hands of unscrupulous nursing home owners drugged by dollar signs ringing through their heads. May you know, may they know, that we are trying to make a better world.

EXCLUSIVE: Brooklyn security patrol, organized by man indicted in NYPD gun permit scandal, delayed in notifying cops of boy’s 2011 kidnapping

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/security-patrol-delayed-notifying-nypd-boy-kidnapping-article-1.2662714

In the hours after 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky disappeared in Borough Park, Brooklyn, a key figure in the heavily Jewish neighborhood’s security patrol coordinated the effort to find him.

Shaya Lichtenstein, 44, wrangled some 2,000 civilian volunteers as a member of the Borough Park Shomrim in a desperate attempt to locate Leiby, who was kidnapped as he walked home from a day camp on July 11, 2011.

He was found dismembered two days later, and Levi Aron was charged with his murder.

After Leiby’s family reported him missing, the Shomrim did not notify the NYPD for three hours. Despite the tensions stemming from that delay, the long-cozy relationship between members of the Orthodox community, including the Shomrim, and the NYPD remained intact.

Another NYPD high-ranking cop punished in corruption probe

Lichtenstein was indicted in April on allegations that he bribed police officers to obtain gun permits for clients who paid as much as $18,000 for his services. He was able to get permits within a few weeks, when it usually takes more than a year.

kletskyBorough Park Shomrim bypassed the NYPD for three hours as they searched for Leiby Kletzky, who was found dismembered two days later.

In some instances, Lichtenstein paid off the cops in the very offices of the gun licensing division with thousands of dollars hidden in copies of the newspaper, a source familiar with the case said.

“That’s partly how it was done, right in their faces,” the source said.

The NYPD declined to comment.

Lichtenstein’s ties with ranking police officials extended well beyond his close relationship with cops in the gun licensing unit, sources said. He parlayed that access into the ability to do favors for members of the Jewish community.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/security-patrol-delayed-notifying-nypd-boy-kidnapping-article-1.2662714