CLICK HERE TO REPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION (Provide as much information as possible: full names, descriptions, dates, times, activity, witnesses, etc.)

Telephone: 347-632-9775

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cop accused in ticket fix

Cop accused in ticket-fixing pleads not guilty
BY KEITH HERBERT - - November 1, 2008

A Suffolk County police officer was in criminal court Saturday, only he was the one wearing handcuffs. That's because Suffolk police arrested Bruce W. Blanco, 48, Friday on charges he extorted and accepted a bribe from a contractor in the form of a $15,000 brick patio he had the contractor build at his home. In exchange, police said, Blanco, of Commack on Friday gave "false testimony" in traffic court about a May 8 car stop, essentially "fixing" a speeding ticket for the contractor, police said. The contractor, Adam McCabe, was allegedly driving 97 mph when Blanco pulled him over, police said. Blanco, a 22-year police veteran, was released on his own recognizance yesterday morning after arraignment in Central Islip. He spent Friday night at the 7th Precinct lockup. There is audio and videotape, not from the original traffic stop, of Blanco negotiating the terms of the patio construction in exchange for make the speeding ticket go away, said Spiros A. Moustakas, assistant district attorney with the Suffolk County DA's government corruption unit. In court, Blanco stood handcuffed, with his attorney, Christopher S. Rothemich of Islandia, who entered a plea of not guilty on Blanco's behalf. A representative of the Police Benevolent Association was also with Blanco. After he was released, Blanco said nothing, and Rothemich declined to comment. At his Commack home, which features new, slate-gray brick outside the front door, members of Blanco's family refused to answer when a reporter knocked. Blanco's next Suffolk County Court appearance was scheduled for Dec. 15. He is suspended without pay.

Police charged Blanco with second-degree grand larceny for stealing McCabe's property by threatening that he would be imprisoned for speeding if McCade didn't build the patio, court records state. He is also charged with second-degree bribery solicitation, for receiving the $15,000 worth of work to his home, court records state. Blanco made statements to investigators that on the day he pulled McCabe over, the laser equipment used to measure vehicle speed wasn't properly calibrated, Moustakas said. "I knew from the start the summons was going to be dumped anyway," Blanco said, according to Moustakas. When confronted with evidence that he had paid McCabe $1,500 for $15,000 worth of work, Blanco said he had only paid $1,000, Moustakas said. Blanco faces a maximum penalty of 5 to 15 years in prison on each charge, Moustakas said. Attempts to reach McCabe, who gave police a sworn deposition, were unsuccessful Saturday.

No comments: