Brooklyn, NY - Report: Gun Permit Scandal Leads Investigators To Possible Large Scale Corruption In The 66th Precinct
Brooklyn, NY - An investigation into a bribes for gun licenses scandal has expanded even further, calling into question the integrity of the entire command structure at the 66th Precinct which encompasses Borough Park and parts of Flatbush.
As previously reported on VIN News, Sergeant David Villanueva and Officer Richard Ochetal were stripped of their guns and badges yesterday and placed on modified duty for their part in the scheme, with Deputy Inspector Michael Endall reassigned to an administrative position. All three worked in the NYPD’s licensing division and are accused of giving Alex Lichtenstein gun permits in exchange for $6,000 without performing any background checks.
According to WCBS News, the 44 year old Lichtenstein allegedly resold 150 gun permits for $18,000 each, with some of those sales taking place in the 66th Precinct.
Lichtenstein, a former member of Borough Park Shomrim who now lives in Rockland County, became the target of a police investigation after allegedly trying to bribe a police officer one month ago.
The incident was reported to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, with investigators discovering a permit purchased in 2013 using Lichtenstein’s credit that ended up in the hands of a man with an extensive criminal record.
Lichtenstein was arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court on bribery and conspiracy charges and is out on $500,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
With 150 illegally issued gun permits on the streets, police are scrambling to try to locate the unlawfully obtained firearms. Retired NYPD Detective Sergeant Joseph Giacalone described the process as “a huge undertaking.”
Other members of the licensing division are also reportedly under investigation and more arrests are expected. Sources said that investigators are looking into the affairs of two retired members of the NYPD who may be of interest, one of whom may have been running a side consulting business, offering advice on how to obtain a gun permit.
The Internal Affairs Bureau is reportedly looking into the way gun permits are allocated and is expected to make recommendations on how to create tighter controls in the permit process.
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