Three retired New York Police Department officers, along with a former prosecutor, were charged in a massive gun license scam on Tuesday in which they accepted bribes in exchange for firearm licenses — which in some cases went to convicted criminals.
What happened? Bearing Arms reported:
On Tuesday, three retired New York Police Department (NYPD) officers and a former prosecutor were charged with providing firearm licenses in exchange for bribes. They were receiving an array of gifts, including food, alcohol, strippers, parties, sporting events and expensive articles of clothing and accessories. The scheme took place between 2010 and 2016.
According to prosecutors, at least 100 gun licenses were illegally-issued, some of which were provided to known convicted criminals. 348 more are deemed suspicious. The 100 illegally-issued licenses were suspended by the NYPD […]
Court documents show former Lt. Paul Dean, who was second in command in the licensing division, and former officer Robert Espinel were receiving bribes while working in for the NYPD. They say the amount of money license-expeditors were making and decided to go into business for themselves.
Dean was recorded expressing his frustration: “I’m done watching people make money off my back. I’m the one who’s signing off on everything, and watching them get money hand over fist.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim discussed the scam. “They allegedly got more audacious as time went on,” Kim told Spectrum News NY 1.
The suspects watched as license expediters raked in enormous amounts of money — in some cases as much as $10,000 — according to Kim.
“They allegedly sold their oath to serve and protect, they sold their duty to do their jobs, they just issued gun licenses to whoever the bribing expediters brought them without conducting the necessary background checks, without questioning their need for a gun license and without following up on major red flags,” Kim explained to CBS New York.
“Over 100 gun licenses were issued in this problematic way.”
It gets worse. According to Bearing Arms, this disturbing scam handed a license to a known domestic abuser who had four domestic violence complains levied at him — one of which saw him threaten a person’s life.
What now? Bearing Arms reported:
To make sure this doesn’t happen again, NYPD “cleaned house” in the licensing division.
“We increased supervision,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill. “All personnel at the command level of the division were replaced, including the commanding officer, the exec and civilian director.”
If the officers are found guilty, they could face up to 10 years in federal prison.