Born again Cynic! Cops

Hey It's New York! (It must be embarrassing to be a Good NYPD Cop at times like this)

Ex-cop: NYPD gun license division was a bribery machine

They might as well have a had a hotline: 1-800-GIFTS4GUNS.

A former city cop spilled his guts Tuesday, telling Manhattan jurors about years worth of bribes he and his fellow officers received for doling out gun permits — everything from cash, prostitutes and expensive watches to baseball memorabilia and exotic vacations.
David Villanueva, an ex-supervisor in the NYPD’s License Division, said he and other cops — including officers Richard Ochetel and Robert Espinel and Lt. Paul Dean — were on the take for years from so-called gun expeditors.
In exchange, the officers doled out pistol permits like candy — even to people who should not have had them, Villanueva said.
One expeditor, he said, may have had ties to organized crime. Another got help with 100 gun permits over the years — “none” of which should have been approved.


Villanueva gave the testimony at the Manhattan federal court trial of John Chambers, a self-described gun lawyer to the stars accused of plying Villanueva with lavish gifts, including an $8,500 diamond-studded watch and tickets to Broadway shows, in exchange for gun permits.
Villanueva, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the feds, walked the jury through each expeditor.
Frank Soohoo, who pleaded guilty in 2016, plied Villanueva and Ochetel with trips to the Bahamas, Mexico and Hawaii, the ex-police sergeant said. Soohoo also threw lavish parties at his Queens gun store for the officers and occasionally hired hookers to attend, Villanueva said.
In exchange, Soohoo got help getting permits, including advice on how to help a client who was “federally barred” from legally owning a gun, Villanueva said.
Expeditor Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, who has also pleaded guilty, paid $1,000 per gun permit, Villanueva said. In exchange, he was granted at least 100 of them between 2012 and 2015 — none of which should have been approved because paperwork was missing, Villanueva said.

Chambers provided Villanueva with dinners, tickets to Broadway shows, clothes, watches and baseball memorabilia, the ex-sergeant said, including autographed photos of Alex Rodriguez and Mickey Mantle and a signed Willie Randolph baseball.
Prosecutors also passed around the $8,500 watch they say Chambers gave Villanueva in exchange for his helping a client whose licenses were at risk because he failed to report multiple domestic violence incidents.
Villanueva said he was able to help the man — accused of beating his wife — keep two of his four gun licenses, including one for his residence.
Officers Dean and Espinel have denied the government’s bribe allegations and are awaiting trial. Ochetel has pleaded guilty.
Villanueva will take the stand again on Wednesday.

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