Jeremy Reichberg has been sentenced to four years in jail for buying off some NYPD officers in what many are referring to as a gifts-for-favors scandal.
The 45-year-old Brooklyn businessman was teary-eyed as he stood awaiting sentencing in Manhattan Federal Court. He admitted to having acted “like an adolescent” who was mesmerized by “glitz and glamour.”
“Over seven years he developed remarkable access at 1 Police Plaza by treating cops to fancy dinners and vacations in exchange for official favors,” the New York Daily News reported. “He and his fellow cop-briber Jona Rechnitz, who cooperated with prosecutors and is awaiting sentencing, gave cops a steady stream of gifts. Most notoriously, Rechnitz and Reichberg took a prostitute and two cops on a private flight to Las Vegas in Feb. 2013.”
Judge Gregory Woods said that the public “does not expect officials, including the Chief of Department, to spend time catering to the whims of well-heeled donors. This case was about much more than dollars and sense. It’s about the corruption of an important public institution.”
The case reached beyond just Reichberg. His partner, real estate developer Jona Rechnitz of JSR Capital, was a key witness in the trial, having pleaded guilty to honest-services wire fraud in 2016, according to The Real Deal. “Reichberg was found guilty on four of five counts of conspiracy, bribery and obstruction of justice in January. The scheme, which began in 2008, saw Reichberg provide high-ranking New York Police Department officers with gifts, as well as trips to Israel and Las Vegas, in exchange for favors.”
Prosecutors pointed out that the two partners “greased the palms of NYPD brass including ex-chief Phil Banks and former inspector Stephen McAllister, now Floral Park police chief, who were never charged, as well as former deputy chief Michael Harrington, who pleaded guilty, and ex-deputy inspector James Grant, who was acquitted,” according to Newsday. “In return, Rechnitz and Reichberg were accused of getting perks that included help with tickets and gun licenses, chaplaincies in Floral Park and Westchester County that came with parking placards, police escorts, a flyover by an NYPD helicopter at a party, access to public events, and intervention in private disputes.”
The trial, whose drama was played out over the course of two months, drew even more media attention as a result of Reichberg’s co-defendant, NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, who had earlier been acquitted of illegally receiving gifts.