NEW YORK – This is one of those stories you feel like you’ve seen play out in any number of police shows or movie: someone knows a guy who is close with some police officers and for the right price you can get what you need.
Officials say in this case that guy is Alex Shaya Lichtenstein and that he has been bribing police officers for years.
He pleaded not guilty to bribery and conspiracy in federal court Monday. Neither he nor his lawyer commented after the proceedings.
Lichtenstein, who is not a member of the NYPD, is accused of bribing police officers in order to fast-track gun permits for as many as 150 people, including some with criminal records who would have been denied otherwise. Lichtenstein was a member of Borough Park’s Shomrim patrol.
Police say he charged people thousands of dollars to get their permit approved and was only caught when an officer he tried to bribe with $6,000 per application reported the encounter to internal affairs.
The businessman’s case is at the center of an ongoing corruption investigation into the NYPD, where so far nine members of the force have been disciplined.
The NYPD reassigned three officers as a result of Lichtenstein’s arrest but the indictment doesn’t list who is accused of bribing.
Lichtenstein is out on $500,000 bond. The maximum punishment these charges carry is up to 15 years in federal prison.