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Peddlers had 4 Corrupt Cops in Bag: DA

March 4, 2005. New York Post, pg. 7

Four Manhattan cops "sold their badges" for tacky counterfeit bags and T-shirts by warning illegal peddlers to hide their merchandise when searches were planned and failing to arrest them, Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau charged yesterday.

The officers, all from the 13th Precinct, turned themselves in yesterday to face charges -- including receiving bribes -- that could land them in prison for 12 years each.

All four -- Detectives Rodney Lewis and Brian Bartlett and Officers George Santiago and Jaime Albertelli -- pleaded not guilty at their arraignment last night. They were released without bail.

The cops allegedly accepted bogus Coach bags and sports jerseys as kickbacks from a street vendor who sold counterfeit merchandise around Broadway and 27th Street.

A fifth cop, Jashua Penalo, 32, was arrested earlier in the week.

The bribery scandal was first reported in The Post Tuesday.

The peddler at the center of the probe, Jamil Faied, 44, was charged with bribery.

The officers "sold their badges for merchandise," Morgenthau said.

"This wasn't a huge amount of merchandise, but they were selling information on search warrants, making someone change location, and giving a desk-appearance ticket [instead of making an arrest].

"It's all fairly low-level stuff, but this is how corruption starts." In exchange for the bogus goods, Faied allegedly got favors for himself and his peddler friends.

Penalo tipped him off when search warrants were issued so he could hide his illegal wares, authorities say.

Bartlett and Lewis are accused of handing out a desk-appearance ticket to another vendor instead of making an arrest, because Faied asked them to do so.

Santiago and Albertelli made a competitor of Faied relocate, authorities said.

The cops were tripped up when an undercover officer from the Internal Affairs Bureau, in a separate incident, posed as a licensed street vendor and set up shop on the same corner as Faied.

Additional reporting by Angelina Cappiello


Copyright 2005 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc.

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