New York – Unexplained large sums of money going in and out of former NYPD Police Chief Phillip Banks accounts show a direct link to businessman Jona Rechnitz and his company JSR Capital.
Financial disclosure forms filed by Banks show that he received between $250,000 to $500,000 in 2014 from JSR that were described only as “investments,”.
The money was said to be a return on a one year investment made by Banks, according to sources.
Forms filed by Banks after he left the NYPD in late 2014 also reported another $250,000 to $500,000 earned working for a tutorial company that provided coaching for police officers who were preparing to take advancement exams.
The investigation into Banks began in 2014 when a tip led federal agents to discover unusual activity in the former police chief’s bank accounts.
Money was found to be going into Banks’ accounts at regularly scheduled intervals and being moved around, with much of the activity taking place at an ATM located at a Bronx bodega.
Because the origins of the funds were unknown and the amounts were always under the $10,000 threshold that would have required Banks to disclose them, investigators began taking a closer look, wondering if Banks was involved in something shady, was the victim of suspicious activity or if the transactions were all completely innocent.
Those deposits appeared to be linked to rental properties owned by Banks or family members and, finding nothing that warranted a federal probe, the FBI considered dropping its investigation and sharing all of the gathered with local officials, according to sources.
Instead, the decision was made to investigate further.
The trail eventually led federal agents to Rechnitz and Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg who reportedly lavished trips and other gifts on Banks and other high ranking members of the NYPD as previously reported on TOT News.
Benjamin Brafman, Banks’ lawyer, insisted that his client did not retire because he learned that he was being investigated and said that any monies in Banks’ accounts were either earned income or part of an inheritance Mrs. Banks received after the death of her father.
“Not one dollar in any of those accounts can be tied to any corrupt conduct whatsoever,” said Brafman, who did allow that if his client had broken any rules, he had done so unintentionally.
Sources said that Banks had actually been First Lady Chirlaine McCray’s first choice to take on the role of police commissioner when Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, a position that ultimately went to Bill Bratton.
The FBI investigation reportedly has widened its scope and is investigating possible corruption tied to de Blasio’s fund raising efforts.
Both Rechnitz and Reichberg contributed substantially to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign and joined celebrities and other high profile names as members of the mayor’s inauguration committee.
de Blasio has already publicly distanced himself from Rechnitz and Reichberg and has said he will not accept any further contributions from either while the investigation is ongoing.