LawFuel.com – UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Southern District of New York
U.S. ATTORNEY PREET BHARARA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOSEPH TRISCHITTA, a former New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) Officer, was sentenced today to 40 months in prison for engaging in a scheme involving the illegal interstate transport of firearms and stolen goods. TRISCHITTA was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Joseph Trischitta’s sentencing today is the latest reminder of the consequences of public corruption. It does a disservice to the overwhelming majority of public servants who conduct themselves so honorably and to the people they serve.”
According to the court filings and statements made in court:
From December 2010 to October 2011, TRISCHITTA transported firearms and what he believed to be stolen goods, including slot machines, cigarettes and other merchandise, across state lines. TRISCHITTA, who was on payroll as a retired NYPD Officer at the time he committed the offenses, was recruited to join the conspiracy in December 2010 by its leader and organizer, NYPD Officer William Masso. TRISCHITTA helped transport firearms, including three M-16 rifles, one shotgun, and 16 handguns – the majority of which had been defaced to remove or alter the serial number, and all of which had been disabled. TRISCHITTA and his co-conspirators also transported slot machines, thousands of cartons of cigarettes, and other counterfeit merchandise. The goods carried a street value of approximately $1 million.
The trips in which TRISCHITTA participated included a trip to transport purportedly stolen slot machines from Atlantic City to New York, multiple trips to transport hundreds of cases of purportedly stolen cigarettes from New Jersey to New York, and the trip in which the 20 firearms were transported interstate. In total, TRISCHITTA was paid $11,500 for his role in the schemes.
TRISCHITTA specifically discussed with his co-conspirators using their credentials and knowledge as law enforcement officers in preparing for, and carrying out the schemes. For example, in a meeting in March 2011, Masso explained that the men should carry their law enforcement badges during the operation and, if stopped, say they were police officers working off-duty to deliver items that had been purchased at an auction. When the group was discussing which vehicle to rent to transport the stolen goods, TRISCHITTA used his knowledge as a law enforcement officer to recommend against using certain types of vehicles that law enforcement often inspect.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Pauley sentenced TRISCHITTA, 43, of Staten Island, New York, to two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $50,000 fine and a $200 special assessment fee. TRISCHITTA also has agreed to a money judgment of $11,500 representing his share of the crime proceeds, and has relinquished his interests in guns seized from him at the time of his arrest.
TRISCHITTA was originally charged in a four-count Complaint along with 11 co-conspirators, many of whom were fellow NYPD Officers. All of the defendants have now pled guilty, except Ali Oklu, an active duty NYPD Officer at the time he allegedly committed the offenses. The charges and allegations against Oklu that are contained in the Complaint and the Information are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A chart containing the status of each defendant is attached.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI and the Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption and Complex Frauds Units. Assistant United States Attorney Carrie H. Cohen is in charge of the prosecution.
United States v. Masso, et al.
Pled guilty in February 2012, sentenced to 57 months in prison on July 20, 2012
Pled guilty in March 2012, sentencing scheduled for September 17, 2012
Pled not guilty in February 2012, jury selection and trial scheduled for February 2013
Gary Ortiz Pled guilty in February 2012, sentencing scheduled for September 12, 2012
John Mahoney Pled guilty in February 2012, sentencing scheduled for October 10, 2012
Joseph Trischitta Pled guilty in February 2012, sentenced to 40 months in prison on August 9, 2012 Marco Venezia Pled guilty in February 2012, sentenced to 24 months in prison on July 26, 2012 Richard Melnik Pled guilty in February 2012, sentencing scheduled for September 18, 2012
Anthony Santiago Pled guilty in March 2012, sentencing pending
Pled guilty in February 2012, sentenced to 27 months in prison on June 21, 2012 Michael Gee Pled guilty in February 2012, sentencing scheduled for February 13, 2013
Eric Gomer Pled guilty in February 2012, sentenced to 15 months on August 2, 2012