3 NY Officials Arrested on Corruption Charges

arrest Rechnitz, Borough Park, Brooklyn, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, United States District Court, William J. Bratton, Police Department, Preet Bharara, Dominican Republic

Three New York Police Department commanders, including a deputy chief, were arrested early Monday, along with a Brooklyn businessman, on federal corruption charges stemming from one of several continuing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The arrests, of a deputy chief, a deputy inspector and a sergeant, were one of the most significant roundups of police supervisors in the recent history of the department. In striking the top ranks, the case is a particular blow to the storied — and sometimes sullied — reputation of the nation’s largest municipal police force.

The charges detail lavish gifts the two senior police officials are accused of receiving: complimentary Super Bowl tickets, expensive meals and free overseas trips, including at least one taken in the company of a prostitute, the people said. The sergeant was charged in a scheme that involved aiding applicants for firearms licenses.

The gifts were largely paid for by two businessmen, both of whom have been generous supporters of the mayor. Jeremiah Reichberg, 42, of Borough Park, Brooklyn, was charged along with the officers, the people said. Jona S. Rechnitz, 33, of the Upper West Side, had been a target of the fund-raising investigation until recent weeks, when he pleaded guilty to corruption charges and began cooperating with the federal authorities, the people said.

The arrests in the early morning hours by agents with the F.B.I. and investigators from the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau were followed by the execution of search warrants, the people said. The charges included bribery, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy, and they were scheduled to be announced at a news conference later on Monday.

The men, whose names were not immediately available, were expected to appear in United States District Court in Manhattan on Monday afternoon. Their lawyers could not be reached for comment.

While the charges being leveled against the police officials were uncovered during the fund-raising investigation focused on Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, and his inner circle, there has been no suggestion that the mayor himself was involved in the conduct described in the charging documents in the case, which are expected to be unsealed Monday morning. The fund-raising investigation and several other inquiries by federal prosecutors, the F.B.I. and other agencies focused on the mayor’s donors and fund-raising were continuing. The scope of the broader fund-raising inquiries remains unclear.

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton has said the department believes investigators have identified all of the police officials involved in the alleged misconduct, though it is unknown whether the charges on Monday will conclude that line of inquiry by federal investigators.

The particular fund-raising investigation that led to these arrests has been going on for well over a year, and in recent months, details of some of the accusations against the police officials who have been charged — and others — have been widely reported in news accounts. Nearly a dozen mostly senior police officials have been disciplined by the Police Department in some way as a result of the inquiry — including some of those charged on Monday. Those disciplined include five deputy chiefs and a deputy inspector; four of the chiefs and the deputy inspector have put in for retirement.

Mr. Rechnitz’s cooperation with federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents has already helped prosecutors bring corruption charges in another case linked to the same fund-raising investigation, people briefed on the matter have said. In that case, a criminal complaint unsealed on June 8 charged Norman Seabrook, the powerful head of the union that represents city correction officers, and Murray Huberfeld, a hedge fund financier, with honest services fraud and conspiracy.

That complaint said Mr. Rechnitz had pleaded guilty to committing honest services fraud in connection with the scheme in which Mr. Seabrook and Mr. Huberfeld were charged, “among other things,” suggesting he was involved in additional criminal conduct. While the document does not identify Mr. Rechnitz by name, referring to him only as CW-1, or Cooperating Witness 1, several people with knowledge of the matter said CW-1 was Mr. Rechnitz. At a news conference announcing the arrests of Mr. Seabrook and Mr. Huberfeld, Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose office filed the complaint, would not answer questions about the identity of CW-1 or the degree to which the witness could be helpful in other cases.

But Mr. Bharara indicated that the witness was “assisting other investigations.”

The criminal complaint in the earlier case details two trips that Mr. Rechnitz, Mr. Seabrook and another businessman — also a supporter of the mayor — took to the Dominican Republic. On the first one, in November 2013, they were accompanied by an unnamed officer from the Police Department. On the second one, in December 2014, the four men were accompanied by a fifth unnamed person. Mr. Rechnitz paid for the airfare for both trips.

Then, in March 2014, Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Rechnitz, the police officer and the other businessman — Mr. Reichberg, who was identified in the criminal complaint as Co-Conspirator 1 or CC-1 — traveled to Israel, with Mr. Rechnitz paying the airfare, according to the complaint. In July of that year, he paid for the same group to travel to Las Vegas and then Burbank, Calif., the complaint said

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