4 NYPD Officials Busted In De Blasio Fundraising FBI Probe

Four NYPD officials were busted Monday morning as part of the sweeping federal corruption probe rocking the police department and Mayor de Blasio’s office, law enforcement.

Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant, Sgt. David Villanueva and Richard Ochetal were arrested at their homes at 6 a.m. by FBI agents and hauled into 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan, sources said.

The arrests mark the first time NYPD officers have been charged in the 2 ½ year probe, which focuses on lavish gifts and vacations cops accepted in exchange for official services, such as security details and police escorts.

De Blasio’s buddy, Jeremy Reichberg a police buff known for his NYPD connections, was also taken away in handcuffs. Reichberg, the proprietor of a venture capital firm, allegedly gave gifts to several officers in return for favors.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and FBI officials will detail the charges against the four defendants at a news conference later this morning.

Law enforcement sources have told The Post that several of the officers are tied to two Brooklyn businessmen who donated to Mayor de Blasio’s election campaign.

One of the businessmen, Jona Rechnitz, has already pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is now cooperating with the FBI.

Several more current and former police officials are still being investigated, including retired NYPD Chief of Department Phil Banks who, along with his best friend and former correction union boss Norman Seabrook, allegedly took a freebie vacation with Rechnitz and other NYPD cops.

Seabrook was recently arrested on corruption charges and pleaded not guilty.

Many NYPD officers have retired or have been placed on modified duty since the start of the criminal probe.

One officer, Michael Milici, was fired for refusing to cooperate with the feds and another, Inspector Michael Ameri, fatally shot himself after being grilled by FBI investigators.

The feds are also probing into the mayor’s fundraising practices and some of his closest confidantes in an effort to find out if favors, contracts or positions were offered for campaign donations.

2 replies
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Three NYPD officials and a fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio were arrested as part of an ongoing federal corruption investigation.

    Deputy Inspector James Grant, Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, and Sgt. David Villanueva of the gun licensing division were all arrested Monday morning in surprising sunrise raids.

    The fourth defendant is a Boro Park man who donated to Mayor de Blasio.

    The arrests are linked to the alleged exchange of lavish gifts for favors such as funeral escorts, street closures or expedited gun licenses for membersz of the Orthodox Jewish community.

    The four arrests appear to be the culmination of the NYPD portion of the ongoing investigation into corruption stemming from two Orthodox Jewish businessmen.

    One of them has been cooperating with federal prosecutors.

    The two NYPD officials, Harrington and Grant, are accused of accepting meals, trips and complimentary Super Bowl tickets.

    Both live on Staten Island, and both were arrested Monday morning.

    Villanueva is being charged with helping applicants obtain expedited firearms licenses.

    Charges are expected to include bribery, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy. The defendants will appear in federal court in Lower Manhattan Monday afternoon.

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is expected to discuss the case later in the day.

    Several other officers retired or were placed on modified duty since the criminal investigation began. Former 66th Precinct community affairs officer Michael Malici was fired after the NYPD said he refused to cooperate in the investigation. Inspector Michael Ameri shot and killed himself on Long Island after being questioned in connection with the investigation.

    The charges come as federal investigators continue to look into the fundraising practices of Mayor de Blasio and some of his key staffers. They want to know if favors, contracts or positions were offered in exchange for campaign donations.

    Questions have swirled around the mayor’s fundraising, including his efforts to try to help Democrats take over the state senate, his efforts to ban horse carriages and even a contract given to a donor who now sells the city rat-proof a donor who now sells the city’s so-called rat-proof garbage bags.

    The mayor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has said all campaign activities followed the law.

  2. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    NEW YORK — Three high-ranking NYPD officials and a fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio were arrested as part of an ongoing federal corruption investigation.

    Deputy Inspector James Grant, Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, and Sgt. David Villanueva of the gun licensing division were all arrested Monday morning in sunrise raids.

    The fourth defendant is Jeremy Reichberg, a Brooklyn man who donated to Mayor de Blasio.

    The arrests are linked to the alleged exchange of lavish gifts for favors such as funeral escorts, street closures or expedited gun licenses for the Shomrim, the Orthodox Jewish patrol that has long been controversial for its tactics protecting the Borough Park section of Brooklyn.

    The four arrests appear to be the culmination of the NYPD portion of the ongoing investigation into corruption stemming from businessmen Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz.

    Rechnitz had been cooperating with federal prosecutors. Rechnitz, who also worked with federal investigators in the Norman Seabrook case, provided information that led to charges against Harrington and Grant, according to the criminal complaints.

    The two NYPD officials, Harrington and Grant, are accused of accepting meals, trips and complimentary Super Bowl tickets. One of the trips was with a prostitute.

    Both live on Staten Island, and both were arrested Monday morning.

    Prosecutors say Rechnitz and Reichberg paid more than $100,000 for flights, hotel rooms, prostitutes, expensive meals, home improvements and prime seats to sporting events for the two NYPD officials.

    In exchange, Grant and Harrington were “effectively … on call – ready and willing to use their official authority within the NYPD to provide assistance on an as needed basis,” the criminal complaints said, including “police escorts for them and their friends, assistance with private disputes and investigations, police resources for security at religious sites and events, and the ability to get out of tickets or other infractions, and special access to parades and other cultural events.”

    Villanueva is being charged with helping applicants obtain expedited firearms licenses.

    Charges are expected to include bribery, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy. The defendants will appear in federal court in Lower Manhattan Monday afternoon.

    A fourth NYPD officer, Richard Ochetal, has already pleaded guilty.

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is expected to discuss the case later in the day.

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