NYPD Seizing Guns Linked To Shaya Lichtenstein Probe

New York, NY – Two weeks after wide scale NYPD corruption investigations revealed that three officers from the gun licensing division were reassigned for accepting bribes in exchange for gun permits, the city’s public advocate is calling on Mayor de Blasio to suspend all the permits in question and to force those gun holders to surrender their weapons to police.

As previously reported on TOT News, Deputy Inspector Michael Endall, Sergeant David Villanueva and Police Officer Richard Ochetal have been accused of accepting money from Shaya Lichtenstein in return for gun permits.

Lichtenstein is said to have paid $6,000 for 150 permits which he then resold for $18,000 each.

Lichtenstein reportedly skipped the required background checks on the purchasers, enabling him to issue permits in just three or four weeks. Typically it takes a full year to obtain a gun permit in New York City.

According to The Daily News, Letitia James expressed concern that the Shaya Lichtenstein gun permits pose a risk to New York City residents and asked the mayor to take decisive action.

At least one permit issued by Lichtenstein went to an individual with an extensive criminal record.

“I am gravely concerned that the NYPD may have issued handgun permits to people with a history of violence or who otherwise should not be eligible to carry weapons,” wrote James in a letter to the mayor dated April 21.

Currently, the NYPD is reviewing each of the permits issued by Ochetal and Villanueva on a case by case basis, sending a letter to each of the gun holders in question informing them that they must hand in their weapons at their local precinct.

“They’ve been reviewing the licenses,” said NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis.

“Any filing where they find issues they conduct a full review. The license is temporarily revoked. The gun gets taken away.”

Police are also allowing gun holders with the questionable permits to sell their firearms to a legitimate buyer, pending NYPD approval.

All other guns will be held by the NYPD while the permit applications are being reviewed.

Attorney John Chambers, who specializes in gun licensing, said that Lichtenstein was able to secure gun permits even for those who had a history of prior arrests and would have been denied permits had they gone the normal route.

Chambers said that he had been contacted by 20 people who had gotten their permits through Lichtenstein who had legitimate reasons to carry firearms, including those who carry diamonds or substantial amounts of cash.

He noted that making everyone who got a permit through Lichtenstein surrender their weapon may be unjust and that legal action may be forthcoming.

“It seems unfair because they did nothing wrong,” said Chambers.

“They will have the opportunity to fight the suspension. We are contemplating litigation.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    The NYPD has revoked the gun carry permits of more than two dozen people who got them through a shady middleman indicted for bribing NYPD cops working in the department’s Licensing Division, sources said.

    “They’ve been asked to turn in their licenses and their weapons pending a review of their license applications and their paperwork,” NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis told The Post.

    The individuals were instructed to call a phone number and to submit to questioning by Internal Affairs Bureau investigators probing the role played by Alex “Shaya” Licentenstein, 44.

    Lichtenstein allegedly charged applicants within the Orthodox Jewish community up to $18,000 to secure the hard-to-get gun permits and then paying out $6,000 of those monies in bribes to cops.

    In at least one instance, he was able to secure a gun for a client who had a felony conviction.

    Lichtenstein’s arrest is part of a burgeoning federal probe into a gifts-for-favors influence-peddling scheme in the NYPD and City Hall which has already led to nine cops being relieved of their commands.

    Davis said the applicants whose pistol permits have been yanked in recent days will have their applications to determine if there are “gaps and deficiencies” in their paperwork that would permanently disqualify them from legitimately being issued a gun permit.

    Those whose paperwork is in order, he said, could eventually have their pistol licenses re-issued to them, he said.

    It usually take gun permit applicants more than a year to get a license, but Lichtenstein had such close ties with cops and supervisors who worked in the Licensing Division that he was able to score permits for his clients within weeks, according to John Chambers, a lawyer who specializes in gun license case.

    Chambers has been retained by more than a dozen of the applicants whose carry permits have been pulled — and all have been informed to give up their handguns and to call a Brooklyn phone number so they can submit to questioning by police investigating the scandal.

    “You are hereby directed to immediately surrender any and all firearms at your local precinct,” the letter states, according to a copy provided to The Post.

    Chambers acknowledged that each of the clients who has contacted him for having had their gun licenses revoked had one key thing in common — their carry permits were secured after they initially dealt with Lichtenstein and paid him a fee for his services.

    Still, these individuals believed that in hiring Lichtenstein, they innocently believed they were merely paying “an expediter” who then claimed to have to hire an attorney to get them their NYPD permits, Chambers maintained.

    “These are people who are baffled to have received a letter suspending their pistol licenses for a police investigation that has nothing to do to them and when they’ve nothing wrong,” Chambers explained.

    “They had a legitimate belief that they were paying for an expediter who was going to help them who was, in turn, hiring a lawyer for their case,” he said.

    Chambers has been handling licensing cases since 1986 and Told The Post he regularly spotted Lichtenstein at the Licensing Division, but had no direct knowledge of why he was there so frequently.

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