More Arrested in NYPD Gun-Licensing Probe Involving Bribes and Prostitutes

Joon H. Kim the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York speaks at a news conference to announce the arrest

Three retired police officers and a former prosecutor were charged Tuesday in a corruption investigation into New York City's gun-licensing agency.

According to the complaint, from about 2014 to 2016, Two former members of the NYPD's licensing division, Paul Dean, a former supervisor, and Robert Espinel, allegedly conspired with gun license "expediters" to fast-track handgun applications for clients that included people arrested and convicted for crimes involving weapons and violence, and for individuals with a history of domestic violence.

The two took the bribes from expediters like Gaetano "Guy" Valastro, who also served with the NYPD between 1988 and 1999, and showered them with "cash, paid vacations, personal jewelry, catered parties, guns, gun paraphernalia and other benefits", federal prosecutors said.

"They sold their duty to do their jobs", Kim said. According to the complaint, the NYPD is aware that from time to time certain applicants utilize consultants who claim they can speed up the application process - known as expediters - but the police urge applicants to avoid their services.

A self-proclaimed gun lawyer to the stars kept an NYPD cop on the payroll in a bribes-for-permits scam that secured his clients expedited license renewals and also smoothed over legal issues that might have cost them their pistol permits, federal authorities said.

Chambers lavished him with tickets to Broadway shows and sporting events along with an $8,000 watch, sports memorabilia and cash, prosecutors said. The NYPD said it will comment at the briefing.

Among those charged was Paul Dean, 44, of Wantagh, a police lieutenant and the second-highest ranking member of the License Division when he retired in January 2016.

A criminal complaint in Manhattan federal court said Dean sought and obtained from gun license applicants free restaurant meals, free liquor, free vehicle repairs and free entertainment, including trips to strip clubs. Dean and Espinel were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of extortion; Valastro was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of making false statements.

Chambers, who marketed himself as the "Top Firearms Licensing Attorney in NY", allegedly charged his clients anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. The four men were arrested at their respective residences in Manhattan and Long Island, law enforcement sources said.

The U.S. Attorney's office says they all face bribery and conspiracy charges. "We do believe that he has not done anything inappropriate or wrong", Slotnick said.

At a news conference, NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill said he was "absolutely appalled" at what happened and promised that changes have been made to prevent a recurrence.

John Chambers, 62, was charged with bribery and conspiracy in Manhattan federal court Tuesday in the latest wave of arrests stemming from a sprawling NYPD corruption scandal first reported by The Post.

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