Should we trust police officers? Are police officers allowed to lie to you? Yes the Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lie to the American people. Police officers are trained at lying, twisting words and being manipulative. Police officers and other law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people. So don’t try to “out smart” a police officer and don’t try being a “smooth talker” because you will lose! If you can keep your mouth shut, you just might come out ahead more than you expected.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Update: N.Y.P.D. Commanders Are Arrested in Vast Corruption Case, Plead Not Guilty

 
Brooklyn businessman Jeremiah Reichberg pleaded not guilty to the corruption charges lodged against him.
 
Three New York Police Department commanders were arrested, along with a Brooklyn businessman, on federal corruption charges linked to one of several continuing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising.
 
The arrests were one of the most significant roundups of police supervisors in the recent history of the department — a deputy chief and a deputy inspector accused of accepting expensive gifts from two politically connected businessmen who prosecutors say were seeking illicit favors from the police.

In court papers federal agents describe how the two men, who are at the center of one of the City Hall fund-raising inquiries, showered gifts on senior police officials: jewelry for the police inspector’s wife; a video game system for the chief’s children; tickets to Brooklyn Nets games; hotel rooms in Rome and Chicago; even a private-jet flight to Las Vegas, with a prostitute on board.

The police officers arrested were Deputy Chief Michael J. Harrington, 50; Deputy Inspector James M. Grant, 43; and Sgt. David Villanueva, 42, who was charged in a separate but related scheme involving gun licenses. The businessman arrested was Jeremiah Reichberg, 42, of Borough Park, Brooklyn.

The other businessman, Jona S. Rechnitz, 33, has pleaded guilty and has provided information in the police case and in at least one of the fund-raising investigations focused on Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, and his inner circle, according to several people familiar with the case.

Although the charges being leveled against the police commanders involve some of the same figures who appear in the mayoral fund-raising investigations — most notably Mr. Rechnitz there has been no suggestion that the mayor himself was involved in the police influence-peddling and bribery scheme described in the court papers unsealed on Monday.

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said little about the connection between the various inquiries, beyond noting that “there is no allegation that has anything to do with the mayor anywhere” in those court documents.

Mr. Reichberg and Mr. Rechnitz do not appear to have had any official affiliation to the Police Department, although Mr. Reichberg, a member of the large Orthodox Jewish community in Borough Park, would often describe himself as a “community liaison” to the department. He even had business cards identifying him as such, prosecutors said.

But what the men lacked in official status, they made up for with regular gifts and frequent social calls that afforded them a remarkable level of influence inside the department, prosecutors said.

At their urging, a top chief appointed Inspector Grant to command the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a plum assignment, according to the complaint.

But they were motivated, prosecutors said, by more than the thrill of meddling in police politics. Rather, they wanted the department to serve as “a private police force for themselves and their friends,” Mr. Bharara said at a news conference. “Effectively they got cops on call.”

In recent years, the senior police officials were quick to play the roles of chauffeur, bodyguard and concierge to the two businessmen, according to a criminal complaint sworn out by Blaire Toleman, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on a public corruption squad.

On some occasions, the police officials drove the businessmen around town and to the airport, with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Other times, the police sent underlings to help one of the businessmen, who was involved in the diamond trade, against a business rival or to retrieve gemstones that were the subject of disputes over payment, according to the criminal complaint.
Sergeant Villanueva was charged in a separate but related scheme that involved aiding applicants for firearms licenses, the court papers said. In that scheme, bribes — as much as $18,000 per gun license — factored into 100 to 150 gun licenses in recent years, according to the papers.

Mr. Rechnitz, who lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, had been a target of the City Hall fund-raising investigation until recent weeks, when he began cooperating with the federal authorities. His lawyer, Alan Levine, declined to comment.

Both Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg, the businessman arrested on Monday, have been generous supporters of the mayor.

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 New York City correction officers, with honest services fraud and conspiracy.

Since the scandal has reached the Police Department, nearly a dozen mostly senior officials have been disciplined and several have put in to retire.

Indeed, the arrest of two senior police officials on bribery charges in a single case is a rarity, despite the long docket of colorful police scandals over the years.

Informed by a century of scandals related to graft, the department’s official policy is that officers are not to accept any gratuity, not even a cup of coffee.

The only exception is that officers are allowed to accept pen and pencil sets, plaques or other common tokens of appreciation.

“The case shows whether you’re a cop or a chief, if you break the law you will be handled the same way,” William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, said at the news conference, speaking after Mr. Bharara.

At a brief arraignment on Monday, neither Chief Harrington nor Inspector Grant spoke in court.

After the hearing, a lawyer for Inspector Grant, John C. Meringolo, called his client “an exceptional police officer for his entire career.”

Some of the conduct detailed in the court papers veers toward the bizarre. It describes the two businessmen’s visit to Inspector Grant’s Staten Island home on Christmas Day in 2013, wearing elf hats to deliver a video game system for his children and a piece of jewelry for his wife valued at $1,000. On the same day, the two men visited the deputy chief’s home and delivered a video game system for his children.

Far from being an unwelcome intrusion, it was the start of what Inspector Grant apparently hoped would blossom into a Christmas tradition. When the holiday came and went the next year without any gifts, Inspector Grant expressed his disappointment to Mr. Reichberg during a phone conversation in January 2015, captured on a wiretap.

“First of all, the two elves didn’t come” for Christmas, he said using an expletive for emphasis, according to the papers. During the same conversation, Inspector Grant complained that Mr. Reichberg had not invited him on a Super Bowl trip, choosing instead to extend the invitation to another police official.

“See, you don’t love me anymore, bro,” Inspector Grant complained, according to the complaint.

It might have seemed a bit ungrateful, given that Inspector Grant may have owed the men his promotion to lead the 19th Precinct, the criminal complaint suggests.

Prosecutors said the two businessmen had recommended Inspector Grant for that position during their regular conversations with a top police chief, who was not named in court papers but appears to be Philip Banks III, the highest uniformed member of the department until his retirement at the end of 2014.

The two businessmen, in fact, dined with Chief Banks once or twice a week, always picking up the bill, according to the complaint. And when Chief Banks ultimately appointed Inspector Grant to be commander of the 19th Precinct, in mid-2014, he put the two businessmen on the phone so they could share the news with the inspector “that he was being promoted,” according to the complaint.

A lawyer for Mr. Banks, Benjamin Brafman, said, “We have always maintained that former Chief Banks did not knowingly violate the law, and nothing in today’s arrest of other members of the department changes that position.”

With Mr. Rechnitz’s cooperation and Mr. Reichberg’s arrest, the friendship between the two men clearly seemed to have ended.

Mr. Reichberg’s lawyer, Susan R. Necheles, issued a statement in which she said her client had not committed a crime and was “a good man” who “has helped many people.” She added, “His only mistake was his friendship with Jona Rechnitz, a criminal who has admitted bribing a union official and who is desperately trying to get others in trouble in order to curry favor with prosecutors and save his own skin.”

Mr. Rechnitz’s lawyer, Alan Levine, responded with a statement of his own.
“Jeremy Reichberg is responsible for his own conduct, just as Jona Rechnitz was for his,” he said. “It is now apparent that Jeremy Reichberg’s problems are the product of his own actions and his own words from a court ordered wiretap on his phone.”

UPDATE: 3 Plead Not Guilty in New York Police Corruption Case



By Sholom Schreiber TheJewishVoice
 
As reported by the New York Times, court papers offer ample description of how Reichberg and Rechnitz deluged senior police officials with lavish gifts. These ranged from standard presents such as jewelry or a video game system to a private flight to Las Vegas with an on-board prostitute illicitly providing her services to the NYPD brass.
 
Harrington has since retired from the department, while Grant resigned one month before his arrest, noted his lawyer, John Meringolo, without commenting on the reason behind the officer’s resignation.
 
Speaking after the hearing in defense of his client, Meringolo singled out one of the allegations against Grant – ticket-fixing – claiming it could be construed as professional misconduct, but was certainly not a federal crime.
 
“We feel the government will have a very, very hard time proving this case,” Meringolo asserted to the New York Times, noting Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of state. “She was unaware that she was committing any crimes,” Grant’s lawyer said. “Here there are no crimes whatsoever.”
 

Follow on YouTube
and Twitter