On Thursday, March 16, prosecutors said, that a member of a Brooklyn area watch group has given cash and gifts to officers throughout the borough in addition to bribing several officers in the gun-licensing division of the New York Police Department to obtain dozens of handgun permits.
In Manhattan, in Federal District Court, the disclosure was made suggesting that new evidence of misconduct within the police department is continuing to turn up as part of a major federal probe into corruption.
During the sentencing of Alex Lichtenstein, a member of the shomrim which patrols the streets in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities within Brooklyn, it was revealed that other officers had accepted gifts and cash.
A judge sentenced Lichtenstein, known as Shaya, on Thursday to a 32-month prison sentence. The judge told him that he had betrayed the “public trust by bribing and corrupting New York City police officers.”
Federal prosecutors hinted that their case against Lichtenstein had revealed new evidence “of money he was spreading to other police officers, throughout Brooklyn.”
Prosecutors didn’t name the other officers, but said the list included “high-ranking officers,” and that evidence of individual payments is possessed by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Assistant United States attorney Russell Capone said, “He[Lichtenstein] kept detailed records.” He told Judge Sidney Stein, “I have them right here.” Beyond that Capone didn’t describe the records, he just said that they contained “more than 100 entries of payments made to — or things bought for — police officers” across Brooklyn.
The New York Times reports, “Mr. Capone disclosed the existence of the records in arguing that Mr. Lichtenstein’s bribery scheme was not limited to the small gun-licensing division in Police Headquarters. But it was not immediately clear whether the United States attorney’s office intended to pursue these cash payments and gifts as a criminal matter.
Mr. Lichtenstein was arrested last year amid a major F.B.I. investigation into influence-peddling and bribery within the New York Police Department. F.B.I. investigators ultimately charged three businessmen, including Mr. Lichtenstein, in court papers that described how self-appointed police liaisons within the Orthodox community, such as Mr. Lichtenstein, exercised such influence within Police Headquarters that police commanders would turn to them for support when seeking a promotion. In Mr. Lichtenstein’s case, the charges were related to bribing officers in return for rubber-stamping handgun license applications. The F.B.I. inquiry has so far resulted in charges against a police inspector and a deputy inspector, along with a sergeant and another officer.”
On Thursday, the 45-year-old Lichtenstein said, “I have destroyed my life. I have hurt the people who mean the most to me. I am disgraced by these mistakes.”
By Rebecca Gold