New York - Money Trail Led FBI To Former Police Chief
Last updated on: April 7, 2016 12:16 PM
New York - The former NYPD police chief named in this week’s FBI probe likely knew of the ongoing federal investigation at the time of his resignation, sources said.
Chief of Department Philip Banks submitted his resignation in October 2014, ending a career as a member of New York’s finest that spanned 28 years. His departure from the police force, just days after taking on the number two spot in the NYPD as first deputy commissioner, came as a complete surprise to many although Banks and police commissioner Bill Bratton were said to have butted heads regarding requests by Banks to assume additional responsibilities in his new position, which would have included oversight of the Internal Affairs Bureau.
According to a New York Post report, the investigation into Banks began with an IAB probe into a Bronx police officer. The NYPD brought the FBI in on that case, which eventually led federal agents to look into both Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, both of whom were suspected of trading gifts for favors with high ranking NYPD officials.
Banks was found to have several rental properties held in relatives’ names as well as a side business selling liquor. Reichberg and Rechnitz were said to have invested heavily in a deal to buy liquor at discounted prices, but sources said that the money involved in that deal had been lost by investors.
Investigators found hundreds of thousands of dollar in bank accounts belonging to Banks while they were looking into his relationship with Reichberg and Rechnitz. Banks, whose wife is a nurse, earned $201,096 in 2013 and 2014 according to records.
“Banks had collected an inordinate amount of cash, which begged the question, where is he getting this money?” asked a source familiar with the case.
“We were hearing about alleged gifts and all these trips he was taking,” added the source.
As previously reported on VIN News, Banks and corrections union president Norman Seabrook reportedly took several trips that were paid for, either in full or in part, by Rechnitz.
While Banks had not been officially informed of the investigation at the time of his resignation, it was extremely unlikely that he was unaware of it due to his many sources in the law enforcement community.
Banks is said to have hired prominent lawyer Ben Brafman to represent him after his departure from the NYPD.
In a statement released today, Brafman maintained his client’s innocence and said unnamed source with personal agendas are circulating false information against Banks.
Mr. Brafman specifically said, that the large funds being reported in the media about his clients accounts, stem from Mrs. Banks business, and a life insurance policy Mr. Banks inherited after his father’s passing, and none of the funds can be tied to any corrupt conduct, said Brafman.
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