NY – Former Gang Member Turned Chasid Sentenced For Police Impersonations, Ordered To Shave Beard

The ex-Latin Kings gang member who converted to ultra-Orthodox Judaism after serving time in ​prison was sentenced Tuesday to another 2 1/2 to 5 years for impersonating a cop.

Roberto Eddy Santos – who legally changed his name to Avorham Gross after being locked up for a string of violent robberies in the ’90s – had pleaded guilty last month in Brooklyn Supreme Court to four charges, varying from possession of a forged device and criminal impersonation.

As part of his plea deal, Gross, 42, admitted to decking his wife’s car out with police lights and sirens and creating bogus Department of Transportation placards over the course of five years, from 2009 to 2014, prosecutors said Tuesday.

He also impersonated a cop several times between January 2013 and September 2014 by signing an official logbook in order to bypass security line at Kings County Family Court, according to court papers.

Gross was charged ​for posing as a cop with the “Child Abuse Task Force of New York City” — a sham organization that his attorney contends is authentic — and using his phony badge to arrest a person, court documents said.

He pleaded guilty to tampering with public records for signing the book, possession of forged devices for creating the DOT placards and criminal impersonation and received two sentences of 2 1/2 to five years and one of 1 1/2 to 3 years, all to run concurrently.

Gross, sporting a thick greying beard and yarmulke in court, did not speak before Judge Danny Chun handed down the sentence.

His attorney, Isaac Tamir, asked the judge to grant him permission to keep his beard when he is transferred to a prison upstate.

“He should make an application [to keep his beard] on arrival [at the prison] to be heard there,” said Chun.

Authorities were investigating whether Gross had genuinely converted to become a member of the Satmar sect but Tamir confirmed that he indeed had.

“It’s very, very hard to get a conversion … it’s a very long, hard process,” said Tamir outside the courtroom.

The attorney added that Gross didn’t pose as a cop for nefarious reasons — that he truly was an anti-child abuse advocate.

“Everybody I spoke to who knows him has good things to say to him. This is an unfortunate circumstance. He’s going to pay his dues and hopefully come out a fresh, new person,” the attorney said.


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