Seven NYPD policemen accused of operating a prostitution ring for more than a year appeared before the court on Thursday as prosecutors accused them of having sex while at work while visiting the brothels they allegedly managed.
Forty-nine people in total were charged as part of the investigation.
They include the active policemen Rene Samaniego, 43, Sergeant Carlos Cruz, 41, Giovanny Rojas Acosta, 40, Sergeants Cliff Nieves, 37, Steven Nieves, 32, Giancarlo Raspanti and Sergeant Louis Failla, who appeared before the Supreme Court of Queens. Wednesday.
The men are accused not only of helping the alleged leader Ludwig Paz, 51, to operate the ring with his wife, but some are said to have hired the prostitutes while on duty.
Giancarlo Raspanti (left) and Deputy Detective René Samaniego (right) appear in court in Queens on Thursday accused of helping and operating a prostitution ring between 2016 and 2017
Sgt. Carlos Cruz (left) and Sergeant Louis Failla (right) appear in court on Thursday
The brothers Cliff Nieves (left) and Steven Nieves (right) were also accused in the investigation
Giovanny Rojas was not photographed in court, but he is another police officer allegedly involved
Prosecutors said in a formal indictment on Thursday that Ludwig, a retired Vice Detective, paid them discounted inside information on seven of the eight brothels that were part of the operation in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.
Paz's wife Arelis Peralta has also been accused.
She appeared in court with her children yesterday, but her husband was not photographed.
The Queens district attorney says the criminal operation, which also included gambling halls and an illegal lottery syndicate, raised $ 2 million between 2016 and 2017.
Apparently, Paz used his police knowledge to evade detection, making sure that new customers who visited the brothel took off their clothes before entering, ruling out the possibility of covert police coming because the police can not expose their genitals when they work. with prostitutes while on duty.
Also, allegedly, they paid police on active duty for information so he could avoid being attacked.
The investigation began in September 2015 after NYPD detectives received a notice about an operation.
Over the course of two years, they used wire taps to monitor the group and dismantle the operation.
The retired vice-detective Ludwig Paz, 51, and his wife, Arelis Peralta, are the alleged ringleaders
The children of the couple were also accused and are shown leaving the court with jackets covering their faces
According to the police, Peralta and her husband also operated illegal lottery betting services in beauty salons
It is said that the couple won $ 2 million of the plan for a year. They are photographed on a tropical vacation
Paz and his wife have enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle in recent years.
The photographs of the social networks show them in the South American vacations and in the nightclubs surrounded by bottles of champagne.
Paz, Samaniego, Cruz and Rojas Acosta were accused of corporate corruption.
The Nieves brothers were accused of promoting prostitution and operating a brothel for the sole purpose of organizing a bachelor party.
Raspanti is accused of providing Paz with confidential police information in exchange for discounts at a brothel, and Failla is accused of allegedly helping Paz after an attack on the brothel.
Peralta is accused of corporate corruption, fifth-degree conspiracy and promotion of first-degree games of chance.
Police say Paz used her knowledge of the police force to stop the raids and even paid police on active duty with discounts at the brothels to obtain privileged information.
The couple, who have two children, ran seven of the eight brothels, according to the police
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said: "The vast majority of NYPD police officers are honest and dedicated to enforcing and defending the law.
However, today's allegations of a former detective and seven current NYPD cops dishonor the badge.
"The main culprit in this case, a retired detective, allegedly used his knowledge of the inner workings of the New York City Police Department to run a series of brothels in Queens, Brooklyn and Hempstead, Long Island.
& # 39; These operations stop today & # 39;
Police commissioner O & # 39; Neill added: "These NYPD officers, who swore to defend ideals larger than themselves, have ruined their own careers and reputations.
"More importantly, the great work of tens of thousands of other honest and ethical policemen has diminished."