NYPD officials charged in federal corruption probe

Image 1 of 3

A deputy chief with the NYPD and two other department officials were arrested early Monday in a federal corruption probe, announced U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Brooklyn businessman Jeremiah Reichberg, 42, of Borough Park was also taken into custody by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau. He has already pleaded guilty.

Charges against a fourth police officer, who formerly worked in the gun licensing division, were unsealed Monday. 

Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant, and Sgt. David Villanueva are accused of accepting complimentary Super Bowl tickets, expensive meals and free overseas trips, including at least one taken in the company of a prostitute.

Harrington, Grant and Villanueva were taken into custody at their homes at 6 a.m. and taken to Federal Plaza.

Officer Richard Ochetal pled guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for the approval of gun license applications, and is cooperating with the Government in the investigation, according to Bharara.

The arrests were stemming from one of several continuing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising.

"There is no allegation in these complaints that have to do with the mayor. We have not closed the investigation," said Bharara.

"Reichberg allegedly showered senior police officials, Commanding Officers Michael Harrington and James Grant, with bribes, and in exchange, got ‘cops on call,’ a private police force for themselves and their friends. As alleged, Sergeant David Villanueva and Officer Richard Ochetal in the NYPD’s gun licensing division were also on the take, issuing gun licenses in exchange for cash, liquor, and limo rides," said Bharara.

At a news conference Monday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that Harrington, Grant and Villanueva had announced their retirements this week.

"While the department cannot prevent them from retiring, they will not be retiring in good standing," said Bratton.

Earlier this month, federal prosecutors charged the head of the city's correction officers' union for allegedly taking kickbacks for steering union money to a hedge fund.

With the Associated Press