A leader of the Boro Park Shomrim private safety patrol was busted by the feds in a gun-permit scam tied to the widening NYPD corruption scandal.
Shaya Lichtenstein, a Shomrim coordinator, was charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery and was awaiting a Monday afternoon appearance in Manhattan federal court, law-enforcement sources said.
Lichtenstein’s arrest capped an investigation into allegations that he used payoffs to help members of the Orthodox Jewish community obtain expedited pistol permits from the NYPD.
Lichtenstein, from Borough Park, would charge members of the Orthodox community between $5,000 and $25,000 to expedite their gun permit requests, according to sources.
Lichtenstein told the NYPD that the permit seekers needed the guns because they worked in security or in the diamond district.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that three cops had been transfered out of department’s License Division, which handles permit applications.
Deputy Inspector Michael Endall “is being re-assigned to an administrative position pending further review,” while Sgt. David Villanueva and Officer Richard Ochetal were stripped of their badges and guns and also re-assigned.
Lichtenstein’s defense lawyer, Richard Finkel, said he had been nabbed in a “probable cause arrest” but not yet been indicted by a grand jury.
BOROUGH PARK, Brooklyn — A Brooklyn businessman was arrested Sunday for allegedly bribing NYPD officials for handgun permits in the latest turn in the federal investigation of city corruption.
44 year old Shaya “Alex” Lichtenstein was charged with bribery and conspiracy. He will be arraigned Monday afternoon in Federal court.
Deputy Inspector Michael Endall, who heads the NYPD’s license division, which issues handgun permits, has been transferred. Sergeant David Villanueva and Police Officer Richard Ochetal were both placed on modified assignment.
The court papers said Lichtenstein was arrested Sunday at his residence in Pomona, New York. The complaint said Lichtensteinis a member of the Shomrim in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
Shomrim is a volunteer, ostensibly unarmed Orthodox Jewish Patrol society whose mission includes combatting criminal activity and locating missing people.He is alleged to be expediting handgun licenses, which are difficult to obtain, to friends and other businessmen.
Officials say he would allegedly charge his friends, members of the Orthodox community, between $5,000 and $25,000 to expedite their gun permit requests.
He was arrested by NYPD internal affairs and FBI agents on Sunday.
A leader of the Boro Park Shomrim private safety patrol paid NYPD cops nearly $1 million in bribes to score pistol permits for 150 members of the Orthodox Jewish community — including one with a history of domestic violence who once threatened to kill someone, the feds charged Monday.
The stunning allegations against Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein came as the NYPD announced it was cleaning house at its License Division, where a cop allegedly admitted that Lichtenstein gave him and a supervisor “lunch money” to process applications for him.
The division’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Michael Endall, “is being re-assigned to an administrative position pending further review,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement.
Sgt. David Villanueva and Officer Richard Ochetal were stripped of their badges and guns and also re-assigned, Bratton said.
The arrest of Lichtenstein and the internal NYPD moves mark the latest developments in a widening corruption scandal that Bratton last week described as the worst he’s seen since the Knapp Commission revelations of widespread NYPD graft during the early 1970s.
““This case was developed as part of a long-term joint investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Attorney’s Office,” Bratton said in a statement Monday.
“As we have previously stated, this investigation will continue to go where the leads take us.”
Lichtenstein, 44, was charged with bribery and conspiracy for allegedly running a three-year scam in which he charged unnamed “various individuals” $18,000 a pop to arrange expedited approval of pistol permits that otherwise could take more than a year to review.
As part of the scheme, he passed along $6,000 per application to the cops who greased the wheels on the process, court papers allege.
Lichtenstein, who was arrested at his Pomona, N.Y., home on Sunday, was scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court Monday afternoon.