• Press Release: Brooklyn Man Arrested For Bribery in Connection with NYPD-Issued Gun Licenses

    Author : White Collar Firm May 28, 2016

    Press Release: Brooklyn Man Arrested For Bribery in Connection with NYPD-Issued Gun Licenses

    https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/brooklyn-man-arrested-bribery-connection-nypd-issued-gun-licenses

    Who: Alex Lichtenstein, aka “Shaya,” the defendant. He is a volunteer at the Borough Park Shomrim, an unarmed Orthodox Jewish patrol society that combats criminal activity and locates missing people.

    He was charged by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    What: Lichtenstein was charged by the Southern District of New York, federal court, with Bribery and Conspiracy to Commit Bribery for paying bribes and offering to pay bribes to receive gun licenses through NYPD’s License Division.

    Bribery carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in prison while Conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

    Where: New York, New York. Lichtenstein is from Pomona, New York.

    When: The crimes allegedly happened from about 2013 to February 2016. Lichtenstein was arrested on April 18, 2016.

    Why: Lichtenstein offered cash bribes to rs with the NYPD to help him obtain gun licenses through NYPD’s License Division for individuals who paid Lichtenstein thousands of dollars for such licenses. This r reported the offer to higher-ups and arranged a sting operation to catch Lichtenstein in the act. The NYPD License Division is responsible for approving or denying all handgun license applications in New York City. Bribes were over $5,000 per license according to the complaint.

    How: The NYPD License Division, which is in charge of approving or denying all handgun license applications in New York City (“Applications”), conducts an investigation to make its decision. This investigation includes reviewing the applicant’s criminal history, including summonses, the applicant’s mental health history, an in-person interview, and verifying details of the application. A prior felony conviction results in automatic disapproval of the Application, and the NYPD License Division may reject Applications for reasons such as: moral character, mental health issues, substance abuse issues, a history of arrests, a history of driving infractions, and other reasons. Processing an Application generally takes several months to over a year. From about June 2015 to December 2015, Lichtenstein traveled to One Polize Plaza in Manhattan, NYPD headquarters, about twice a week to meet with a Sergeant at the NYPD’s License Division (“Sergeant”). The Sergeant was responsible for reviewing Applications, and either approving or denying them. Officer 1, an NYPD r at the NYPD Licensing Division, was responsible for investigating Applications. Officer 2 knew Lichtenstein from the community. Investigations, including witness accounts, revealed that Lichtenstein was friendly with an NYPD Commanding Officer who did not work for the NYPD License Division, but who took Lichtenstein to the License Division to introduce him to the Sergeant. Officer 1 admitted that Lichtenstein paid him and the Sergeant in return for processing license applications for him. Another r who works in the NYPD License Division reported that he would see Lichtenstein at least twice a week sitting near the Sergeant’s work area. In April 2016, Lichtenstein approached Officer 2 and attempted to bribe him into assisting him obtain gun licenses for various individuals from the NYPD License Division. He told Officer 2 that he used to have connections in the NYPD License Division but had recently been shut out. He told Officer 2 he charged members of the community thousands of dollars per license. Officer 2 reported this to the Internal Affairs Bureau, which handles allegations of misconduct by law enforcement. Working with the FBI and IAB, Officer 2 set up a meeting equipped with video and audio recording. At the start of the meeting, Lichtenstein patted down Officer 2 to make sure he didn’t have wires on him. Lichtenstein offered Officer 2 $6000 per gun license. Lichtenstein explained to Officer 2 that these individuals go through him because they would otherwise be denied for various reasons, like moving violations. He explained that with Officer 2’s help he could “expedite” the process. He described to Officer 2 that when he had connections at the NYPD License Division, Applicants went in for interviews with the “understanding” that those Lichtenstein referred would be approved. Lichtenstein was arrested in his residence, where authorities found numerous photographs of Lichtenstein with various members of law enforcement, and an NYPD Detective Shield with the word “Liaison” imprinted on it. Lichtenstein, authorities learned, had no official role as an NYPD Liaison. Authorities seized Applicant files associated with the Sergeant and Lichtenstein. One of these Applications resulted in an approval for a full carry license, and that Lichtenstein paid the application fee for this individual. This particular applicant had an arrest for forgery, about ten moving violations, and was the subject of at least four domestic violence complaints. The investigation, according to authorities, is ongoing.

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