Man Tied To NYPD Corruption Probe Blames Jona Rechnitz For Ponzi Scheme

The former owner of a successful Harlem restaurant whose shenanigans opened the door to the feds’ now-closed probe into Mayor Bill de Blasio begged for leniency at his sentencing Friday by casting blame on Jona Rechnitz, a de Blasio donor-turned-government cooperator.

Lawyers for Hamlet Peralta, the former owner of the Hudson River Cafe, said Rechnitz fueled the flames of Peralta’s $12 million Ponzi scheme because he needed “bags of cash” to bribe city officials.

“He needed lots of cash for bribes and other things,” lawyer Cesar de Castro told the judge. “We’re talking about a person who had the NYPD on speed dial.”

De Castro said Rechnitz got involved in Peralta’s fictitious wholesale liquor business as a loan shark who then threatened Peralta’s life when the money started to dry up.

But Manhattan federal Judge Katherine Forrest sentenced Peralta to the maximum of five years, saying he had only himself to blame.

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