Dirty Cops Busted

Discussion in 'Federal Crimes' started by Larry Levine, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Thursday, December 20, 2018

    Former Boston Police Officer Sentenced in Connection with Straw Purchases of Firearms

    BOSTON – A former Boston Police Officer was sentenced today in federal court in Boston with illegally purchasing two firearms on behalf of acquaintances.

    Adarbaad Karani, 38, of West Roxbury, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to three months in prison and one year of supervised release. In September 2018, Karani was convicted following a five-day jury trial of two counts of making a false statement during the purchase of firearms and two counts of making a false statement in a record.

    On two different occasions, in November 2014 and September 2015, Karani acted as the “straw purchaser” of two firearms, a Glock, model 27, .40 caliber pistol and a Glock, model 30S, .45 caliber pistol, which he purchased for two acquaintances. Karani purchased the firearms, which cannot be acquired by civilians, using his police identification and falsely certified that the firearms were for his official police use. During one purchase, Karani also indicated that the firearm was not for resale. One of the firearms that Karani purchased was subsequently stolen from the person on whose behalf Karani bought the gun. The firearm was recovered by law enforcement during the arrest of Desmond Crawford, an alleged member of the Columbia Point Dawgs.

    Straw purchases interfere with firearm regulation and recordkeeping, and federal law prohibits making false statements to a firearms dealer in connection with the sale of a firearm.
     
  2. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Thursday, December 20, 2018

    Former Georgia correctional officer sentenced to federal prison for smuggling drugs into state prison

    ROME, Ga. – Tiffany Cook, a former Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) officer, pleaded guilty to being paid by a prison inmate to smuggle methamphetamine and marijuana into Hays State Prison located in Trion, Georgia.

    “Correctional officers compromise the safety of our nation’s prisons when they trade their badges for money,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Prisons are supposed to be places where additional criminal activity is impossible, but this notion breaks down when officers participate in the crimes.”

    “Cook not only betrayed the institution she was sworn to protect, she also betrayed every hard working corrections officer who upholds their oath every day,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Removing corrupt staff who violate their sworn duties as government employees and jeopardize the safety of fellow officers and inmates remains one of our main priorities.”

    “The GDC does not tolerate actions of individuals who choose to bring discredit to the values of our agency and put their fellow Officers at risk,” said Timothy C. Ward, interim commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections. “We appreciate the support of our federal partners in ensuring that justice will be served, and we are proud of those Officers involved who were diligent in stopping the introduction of dangerous contraband into one of our facilities.”

    According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: On May 17, 2010, Cook began working with the GDC as a correctional officer. Beginning in April 2017, Cook served as a correctional officer at Hays State Prison. Hays State Prison is located in Trion, Georgia in Chattooga County. The facility opened in 1990 and currently holds approximately 1,680 male prisoners.

    In early July 2018, the GDC received information from an inmate that Cook was being paid to smuggle illegal drugs into the prison. On July 9, 2018, Cook arrived at Hays State Prison to report for her regularly-scheduled shift. As Cook approached the time clock, correctional officers asked Cook to walk into a conference room. Following the request, Cook stated that she felt ill and wanted to leave the prison. Correctional officers detained and ultimately searched Cook.

    Pursuant to their search, correctional officers recovered more than 118 grams of actual methamphetamine (with a purity of 90%), and more than 150 grams marijuana from Cook’s vaginal cavity and bra. After seizing the methamphetamine and marijuana, correctional officers placed Cook under arrest.

    Tiffany Cook, 34, of Summerville, Georgia, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy to seven years, eight months in prison to be followed by five years supervised release. On October 11, 2018, Cook was charged in a criminal information with one count of possession, with intent to distribute, a controlled substance.

    This case was investigated by the FBI and Georgia Department of Corrections.
     
  3. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Tuesday, December 18, 2018

    Paterson Police Officer Admits Conspiring To Violate Civil Rights And Extortion

    NEWARK, N.J. – A City of Paterson police officer today admitted conspiring with other officers to violate individuals’ civil rights and to personally accepting a firearm in exchange for reducing the charges on an arrestee, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

    Police Officer Jonathan Bustios, 29, of Paterson, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to violate individuals’ civil rights and one count of extortion under color of official right.

    According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

    Bustios and Eudy Ramos were police officers with the Paterson Police Department. From at least 2016 to April 2018, Bustios, Ramos and others participated in a conspiracy in which they targeted and stopped certain individuals who were driving motor vehicles that they believed carried sums of money. Bustios, Ramos and others stopped the vehicles, searched the vehicles, driver, and passengers, and seized cash from the driver and passengers of the vehicles, without legal basis. They then split the cash among themselves and submitted false reports to the Paterson Police Department omitting the illegal vehicle stops and their thefts or lying about them.

    In one incident, on Feb. 20, 2018, while on duty and in uniform, Bustios pulled over and stopped behind a BMW, while Ramos stopped in front of the BMW. Bustios and Ramos exited their police cars and searched the front and back of the BMW and the trunk, and Bustios and Ramos detained and searched the two occupants of the BMW. They put each of the occupants into the backseat of Ramos’s police car. Bustios then stole a bag containing approximately $1,800 from the car and left the scene, and Ramos released the two detained occupants of the BMW. Ramos drove to meet Bustios, who passed a portion of the recovered cash to Ramos through the window of Bustios’ police car. Bustios and Ramos did not report to the Paterson Police Department the fact that they had stopped and searched the BMW, detained and searched its occupants, and taken cash, all without any warrants or legal justification.

    Bustios also pleaded guilty to extortion under color of official right, arising out of an incident on March 14, 2018. Bustios arrested and detained an individual and placed the individual in the backseat of his police car. Bustios told the individual that he would not charge him with resisting arrest and would allow him to keep the cash that the he had on him, in exchange for which the individual would find Bustios a firearm. Bustios said, “I ain’t gonna charge you with resisting, and I’m letting you keep your money, bro.” Bustios then told the individual, “If you don’t wanna make the deal, you don’t have to make the deal.” The individual ultimately agreed to the deal and directed Bustios to the location of a firearm. Bustios recovered the firearm and kept it without turning it in to the Paterson Police Department. As promised, he did not charge the individual with resisting arrest. Bustios also submitted an arrest report in which he failed to mention any details about having a recovered a firearm.

    The conspiracy to violate civil rights count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The extortion under color of official right count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum fine for both charges is $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 9, 2019.
     
  4. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Friday, December 14, 2018

    Former NYPD Detective Pleads Guilty To Obstructing Narcotics Investigation

    Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Raymond Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced that former New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) Detective SAED RABAH pled guilty to knowingly providing misinformation to a federal law enforcement officer in order to obstruct a narcotics investigation. RABAH pled guilty before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy. RABAH’s case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti.

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As an NYPD detective, Saed Rabah swore to uphold the law – not to break it and help a known criminal continue trafficking drugs. Now this corrupt former officer faces serious prison time for his crimes.”

    According to the Information filed today, to which RABAH pled guilty, and a previously filed criminal complaint:

    The target of a narcotics investigation was a cooperator in another court proceeding, and RABAH was his handler. Despite his obligation as a cooperator to engage in no further criminal conduct, the target continued to operate a sophisticated narcotics distribution business. In May 2016, RABAH was contacted by law enforcement and informed that the target was under investigation for narcotics related offenses. In September 2016, RABAH was again contacted by law enforcement, this time about whether RABAH had a phone number for the target. RABAH waited to respond and, when he did, intentionally provided a phone number for the target that RABAH knew the target was no longer using, rather than providing the target’s active phone number through which RABAH and the target were regularly communicating at that time.

    As alleged in the complaint, RABAH’s obstruction of the investigation was only one component of his corrupt relationship with the target. For example, RABAH shared in the target’s proceeds from operating an illegal sports betting business by bringing in betters. In addition, RABAH and the target traveled to Las Vegas together in July 2016. Moreover, RABAH warned the target when RABAH observed one of the target’s employees make a drug delivery in a manner that RABAH believed could have drawn the attention of law enforcement.

    * * *

    RABAH, 46, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of obstruction of justice, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

    RABAH is scheduled to be sentenced March 18, 2019.
     
  5. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    Former Buffalo Police Lieutenant Sentenced On Federal Civil Rights Conviction

    BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Gregory Kwiatkowski, 54, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted of deprivation of rights under color of law, was sentenced to serve four months in prison by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The defendant was also sentenced to one year supervised release to include four months home detention.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case, stated that the conviction stems from a series on incidents which occurred while defendant Kwiatkowski was working the overnight shift as a Lieutenant with the City of Buffalo Police Department (BPD) on May 30-31, 2009. That night, Lt. Kwiatkowski arrived at 52 Treehaven Road in Buffalo to respond to a vehicle that had been stopped by the Cheektowaga Police Department (CPD) and that was believed to be involved in an ongoing series of BB gun shootings, including one which occurred earlier that night. Lt. Kwiatkowski was the first BPD officer to arrive at the scene. Other CPD officers were present at the scene when Lt. Kwiatkowski arrived and had already removed the vehicle’s four occupants, who were all between 16 and 18 years old. At the time of Lt. Kwiatkowski’s arrival, all of the occupants were compliant and completely under the control of the CPD officers.

    Upon arriving at the scene, Lt. Kwiatkowski used unlawful and unreasonable force on each of the four occupants. Specifically, Lt. Kwiatkowski admitted to forcibly pushing each of the suspects heads and upper torsos into the vehicle around which they were being detained. As set forth in his plea agreement with the government, Lt. Kwiatkowski agreed that his use of force against the four suspects was unreasonable and excessive and that his use of such use of force deprived the suspects of their Constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable seizure and to due process of law, by one acting under color of law.

    Following the defendant’s use of force on the four occupants, the defendant recovered a BB gun from the vehicle in which the suspects had been riding and handed the BB gun to one of the other two BPD Officers, Raymond Krug and Joseph Wendel, who had arrived on scene shortly after the defendant. Krug and Wendel, who were accused of shooting one of the individuals with the BB gun while that individual was handcuffed next to another arrested individual in the back seat of the police car, were acquitted following a trial.
     
  6. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Tuesday, December 4, 2018

    DEA Special Agent Arrested on Bribery and Drug Conspiracy Charges

    LITTLE ROCK—Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced today’s arrest of Nathan Koen, 42, of Conway, on federal bribery and drug conspiracy charges.

    Koen, who had worked in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Little Rock Field Office as a group supervisor since September 2016, was arrested on a federal complaint charging him with accepting bribes in connection with his duties, and for being part of a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Koen appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Beth Deere Tuesday afternoon and was detained following his initial appearance.

    According to the federal complaint charging him, Koen accepted multiple cash payments from a known drug dealer from 2016 to 2018, in exchange for providing information which assisted the drug dealer’s criminal activities.

    The bribery crime with which Koen is charged is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment, while the drug distribution charge is punishable by up to life in prison. Assistant United States Attorneys Benecia Moore and Chris Givens are prosecuting the case, which is being investigated by the FBI.
     
  7. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Monday, November 19, 2018

    Bayonne, New Jersey, Police Officer Sentenced To 42 Months In Prison For Using Excessive Force During Arrest, Filing False Report

    Also Had Role in Fraudulent $20,000 Home Rehabilitation Loan Scheme

    NEWARK, N.J. – A former Bayonne, New Jersey, police officer was sentenced today to 42 months in prison for using excessive force during an arrest, falsifying records in an attempt to conceal his conduct and helping a relative fraudulently obtain a home rehabilitation loan, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

    Domenico Lillo, 48, of Bayonne, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of deprivation of civil rights under color of law and one count of falsifying records to impede a civil rights investigation. Lillo also pleaded guilty to an information charging him with assisting in the filing of a false report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in connection with a federally funded home rehabilitation loan worth $20,000.

    According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

    On the early evening of Dec. 27, 2013, Lillo and other police officers from the Bayonne Police Department went to an address in Bayonne to arrest a man on a warrant from Sussex County. Lillo admitted that he struck the individual they were arresting in the head with a flashlight while the individual was handcuffed and not resisting arrest, injuring him. Lillo also admitted that he falsified a Bayonne Police Department Use of Force Report related to the arrest with the intent to impede an investigation into the case.

    Lillo also admitted that on May 10, 2012, he aided a relative in preparing and submitted a fraudulent HUD application to get a federally funded rehabilitation loan on a home Lillo co-owned.

    In addition to the prison term, Judge McNulty sentenced Lillo to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $20,000 to the City of Bayonne.

    U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi, and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Esther Suarez, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
     
  8. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Thursday, November 1, 2018

    Former Philadelphia Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Conspiring With Former Baltimore Police GTTF Detective to Distribute Heroin and Other Narcotics

    Entered His Guilty Plea After Three Days of Trial

    Baltimore, Maryland –Former Philadelphia Police officer Eric Troy Snell, age 34, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine. Snell admitted that he conspired with former Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) Detective Jemell Rayam and others to sell heroin and cocaine seized by GTTF members. Snell pleaded guilty on the fourth day of his trial, which began on October 29, 2018.

    The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

    “The community needs to know that when we have evidence of wrongdoing, we will follow that evidence and prosecute you--whether you wear a badge or not,” said Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Prosecuting law enforcement officers is painful, but necessary if we are to restore the public’s trust in our justice system. No one is above the law.”

    “Law enforcement officers are given incredible power to enforce the law and ensure justice. Thwarting abuse of this authority is necessary to protect the rights of our citizens and uphold confidence in law enforcement. Anyone who takes advantage of their position for personal gain or in persistence of criminal misconduct must and will be held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI Baltimore Field Office.

    According to court documents and statements at his plea hearing today, Snell is a former Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Officer, who received his training at the Baltimore Police Academy with Jemell Rayam, a former Detective with the BPD Gun Trace Task Force. Snell left the BPD in March 2008, and became an officer in the Philadelphia Police Department on September 29, 2014.

    Snell admitted that from at least October 2016 through June 26, 2017, he conspired with Rayam and others to sell heroin and cocaine seized by members of the BPD in Maryland. On October 3, 2016, GTTF Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, Rayam, and other detectives, engaged in a high-speed police chase of G.H. G.H. threw nine ounces of cocaine out of the window of his vehicle before crashing near Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore. The BPD officers retrieved the cocaine and Jenkins told Rayam to sell most of the cocaine and give Jenkins the proceeds of the sale, which Rayam agreed to do.

    On October 18, 2016, after learning about the cocaine from Rayam, Snell asked Rayam to give him the cocaine that was stolen from G.H. and not submitted as evidence to BPD. Rayam agreed and on October 20, 2016, traveled to Philadelphia to meet Snell at his residence. Ryam provided the cocaine to Snell, who made arrangements to meet with Snell’s brother, who would sell the cocaine for Snell and Rayam. Later that day. Snell, Rayam, and Snell’s brother met and discussed: the sale of the cocaine; the price the cocaine should be sold for; the amount of money that Snell’s brother would pay Snell after the sale of the cocaine; and the amount of money that Snell would pay Rayam after the sale of the cocaine. On October 23, 2018, Rayam and Snell agreed that Rayam would provide Snell with heroin for Snell to sell and distribute.

    Snell admitted that he communicated with Rayam on October 27, 2016, to advised that Snell had received “2K” ($2,000) from the sale of illegal drugs and subsequently deposited $1,000 into Rayam’s bank account. Snell met Rayam several other times to coordinate the drug trafficking and exchange drugs and cash. Snell admitted that he paid Rayam on subsequent occasions for drug proceeds, including making a $2,500 deposit into Rayam’s bank account.

    Following Rayam’s arrest on June 26, 2017, Snell spoke with Rayam on the recorded phone system in place at the jail where Rayam was detained. Snell instructed Rayam to “say less” on the recorded jail phones so that law enforcement would not detect their illegal drug trafficking.

    On November 14, 2017, Snell was arrested and transported to Baltimore for his initial appearance. During the transport, Snell admitted that he lied to FBI agents when he told them that the payments he made to Rayam were for the repayment of a gambling debt, when in fact, the payments were for drugs he received from Rayam.

    During a search of Snell’s residence on November 14, 2017, law enforcement recovered a box in which Snell stored items containing cocaine residue, next to a package of razor blades that were used to cut and process narcotics for distribution, as well as .40-caliber and 9 mm handgun ammunition. From the master bedroom, law enforcement recovered Snell’s Philadelphia Police Department service weapon, a 9 mm handgun, as well as a 40-caliber handgun, and two unregistered short-barrel assault rifles.

    Snell admits that the amount of narcotics reasonably foreseeable to him in furtherance of the conspiracy is the equivalent of at least 100 kilograms of marijuana.

    Snell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. United States District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for January 30, 2019, at 2:15 p.m.

    Jemell Lamar Rayam, age 38, of Owings Mills, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy including multiple robberies, and overtime fraud, and is awaiting sentencing
     
  9. Larry Levine

    Larry Levine Verified Criminal Litigator & Prison Consultant

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    Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    Jersey City Police Officer Sentenced To 23 Months In Prison For Conspiracy To Commit Fraud And Accept Corrupt Payments

    NEWARK, N.J. – A Jersey City police officer was sentenced today to 23 months in prison for accepting corrupt payments in exchange for helping employers operate at worksites without the required presence of an off-duty police officer, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

    Juan Berrios, 42, of Rahway, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and accept corrupt payments. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

    According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

    Berrios was a police officer with the Jersey City Police Department from 2004 to 2017. Under Jersey City’s municipal code, police officers performing off-duty work were not permitted to receive cash payments directly from other employers. Rather, the employers were supposed to pay Jersey City, which would then pay the off-duty police officers, minus certain fees, taxes and deductions.

    Berrios agreed with numerous off-duty employers to accept payments directly from them and cut Jersey City out of the process. In exchange for the payments, Berrios permitted off-duty employers to operate at worksites without the presence of a police officer when such a presence was required.

    On several occasions, Berrios submitted off-duty vouchers seeking and obtaining compensation for working as a traffic director or security guard. Berrios also sought and received overtime compensation for appearing in court at the same time he was purportedly performing off-duty work. As a result, Berrios fraudulently obtained compensation from Jersey City for separate assignments that occurred at the same time.

    In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Berrios to three years of supervised release and ordered forfeiture of $50,000 and restitution of $34,951.
     

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