3 current, ex-NYPD officers arrested in bribery scheme, including selling victim info: prosecutors

Local News

Three current and former NYPD officers were arrested Tuesday for participating in bribery schemes, including selling victims’ information, according to federal prosecutors.

Officers Heather Busch, Robert Hassett and Robert Smith were charged with five counts of using interstate facilities to commit bribery and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The officers allegedly used an NYPD database to obtain victims’ information to give to personal injury lawyers and physical therapists.

In total, between January and March 2020, Smith and Hassett sold the names and identifying information of more than 100 victims to the middlemen in exchange for more than $7,000 in cash, according to law enforcement officials.

The officers also allegedly improperly used the NYPD’s tow pound, favoring some tow companies over others.

To ensure no particular business receives favored treatment, officers are required to use computer system to randomly assign a tow-truck business. The three officers were accused of getting around the system, and sending people to tow companies that would give the officers a kickback.

In total, between September 2016 and March 2020, the officers received undetermined amount of cash for the operation, according to federal prosecutors.

Smith was also accused of meeting with two people in January 2020 to discuss his interest in participating in a scheme to traffic drugs, and said he could carry a firearm and his retired NYPD identification while he was transporting the drugs.

In July 2020, he allegedly met with an undercover officer and accepted a bag containing what Smith understood to be a kilogram of heroin.

Smith then transported the bag to a location in Queens to another person, and received approximately $1,200 in cash for his participation, federal prosecutors said.

“As alleged, the defendants shamelessly violated their oaths of office and the public trust by trading their badges for cash payments,” stated Acting United States Attorney Mark J. Lesko.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney described the officers’ conduct as disgraceful.

“It erodes public trust in law enforcement and tarnishes the reputations of the many thousands of officers who honorably serve our communities on a daily basis,” Sweeney said.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea went on to say the NYPD has a zero-tolerance policy for corruption.

Busch, Hassett, and Smith worked out of the 105 Precinct in Queens. Smith retired from the NYPD in March of 2020.

All three were expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.

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