Former de Blasio Fundraiser Gets 4 Years in Prison for NYPD Bribery Scheme

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Photo Credit: CBS New York

Jeremy Reichberg, a former fundraiser for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, was sentenced to 48 months in prison for bribery, corruption, and obstruction offenses related to his participation in a years-long scheme to bribe numerous high-ranking members of the New York City Police Department. Specifically, on January 2, 2019, Reichberg was convicted of conspiracy, honest services fraud, and bribery charges after a two-month trial.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “For years, Jeremy Reichberg forged corrupt relationships with law enforcement through a stream of illegal payments and financial benefits. In doing so, he eroded public confidence in the lifeblood of the City – an impartial New York City Police Department that treats all citizens equally. He then attempted to cover it up by hiding evidence of his crimes. Rather than buying himself special treatment and influence, Reichberg’s efforts have secured him multiple federal convictions and a significant prison sentence.”

In imposing today’s sentence, Judge Woods said: “Reichberg engaged in an extended scheme . . . [in which] the instruments of government became tools for [Reichberg’s] own personal advancement. This case was about much more than dollars and cents. . . . It is important that the public be able to trust that its public officials act without fear or favor rather than spending time and public resources catering to the whims of well-heeled donors.”

According to the Superseding Indictment and Complaint filed in this case, and evidence presented at trial:

The Bribery Scheme

Between 2008 and 2015, Reichberg and a co-conspirator, Jona Rechnitz, orchestrated a scheme in which Reichberg and Rechnitz provided numerous high-level New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) officials with financial and other benefits in order to obtain police-related favors in return, as opportunities arose. Reichberg and Rechnitz provided an array of gifts to the officers, including travel, home improvements, premium tickets to sporting events, expensive meals, and access to prostitutes, in order to have the officers effectively “on call” to provide police-related favors as Reichberg and Rechnitz requested. Reichberg perpetrated the scheme, among other reasons, to monetize his contacts with the NYPD. In particular, Reichberg was an all-purpose “expediter” for individuals in his community, and – as a self-styled “NYPD Liaison” and as state chaplain with the New York State Police (which he was not) – he was paid in order to assist people at large with their problems with the NYPD and other pockets of local government.

Over the course of the scheme, Reichberg and Rechnitz corrupted or attempted to corrupt several officers, including the Chief of Department for the NYPD, the highest ranking uniformed officer in the NYPD; his executive officer; a deputy inspector and commanding officer of an Upper East Side precinct; and others. Among the actions that those officers took at the request of Reichberg and/or Rechnitz were police escorts for them and their friends, assistance with private disputes and investigations, the exercise of influence in decisions involving arrests and post-arrest treatment of individuals, the issuance of gun permits to civilians; and the deployment of official police vehicles (including police boats and a helicopter).

Obstruction of Justice

The night before he was arrested, Reichberg called his brother over to his residence. Reichberg gave his brother several fistfuls of business cards and cell phones and asked him to “hold” them. The business cards included contacts for numerous officers Reichberg had cultivated during the conspiracy. Several of the phones contained text messages with those officers, including contemporaneous communications concerning many of the official acts mentioned above. The next morning, Reichberg was arrested and the FBI executed a search warrant at his home. Reichberg’s brother attempted to leave the home with the items during the search, but was stopped and searched by an FBI agent, who recovered the items.

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Reichberg, 45, of Brooklyn, New York, was convicted at trial of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, one substantive count of honest services fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice.

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