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Monday, December 29, 2008

Schenectady cop arrested yet again

The Albany Times Union - December 29, 2008

SCHENECTADY - A city cop already facing charges for allegedly stalking his wife, has been charged with drunken driving after a automobile accident in the city, police said. Detectives from internal affairs arrested 38-year-old John Lewis on Saturday, charging him with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, speeding and improper lane use. Lewis has been suspended without pay for 30 days while the department proceeds with its case against him. Lewis was arrested and suspended without pay for 30 days in early November after allegedly stalking and threatening his wife and "whoever she was with." In that case, Lewis is charged with third-degree stalking and second-degree aggravated harassment for allegedly threatening Alison Lewis in person and on the telephone, according to the city court document. Lewis was released without bail after his arrest in that case. The court complaint says Lewis allegedly told his ex-wife he would "kill whoever she was with and kill her" and that he was "never going to let her go and he was never going to let her be with anyone else." Alison Lewis asked for an order of protection against her ex-husband. Those arrests are just the latest controversy for Lewis. Earlier this year, a City Court jury acquitted him of harassment in connection with another case involving his wife. Prosecutors said he pushed wife during a fight over custody of their 3-year-old son. A decade ago, the city fired him after he allegedly used a racial epithet. But in 1998, an arbitrator reversed his firing from the police department.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Former FBI Agent Pleads Guilty

U.S. Department of Justice
Jeffrey A. Taylor, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia
Judiciary Center, 555 4th Street, N.W.,Washington, D.C. 2053
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Monday, December 8, 2008
For Information, Contact Public Affairs Channing Phillips (202) 514-6933

Former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Supervisory Special Agent Pleads Guilty to Criminally Accessing FBI Database

WASHINGTON - Mark T. Rossini, a former Supervisory Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), pled guilty today to five separate counts of criminally accessing a sensitive FBI database for personal purposes, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor and Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Glenn A. Fine announced today. The conviction was the result of investigative efforts that were initiated by a referral from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. Rossini, a resident of New York, N.Y., pled guilty to five counts of Criminal Computer Access in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before the Honorable Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola, and faces a maximum sentence of up to five years of incarceration and a $500,000 fine. According to the federal sentencing guidelines, Rossini would likely receive a sentence of between zero and 6 months. Rossini, an FBI Special Agent since 1991, has resigned from the FBI. Sentencing has been set for March 13, 2009. According to the Statement of Offense to which Rossini pled guilty, between January 2007 and July 2007, Rossini made over 40 searches of the FBI's Automated Case Support System (ACS), which contains confidential, law-enforcement sensitive information that relates to historic and on-going criminal investigations initiated by, and supported by, the FBI. Each of these searches exceeded the defendant's authorized use of the ACS system, and was not part of any of his assigned work. Many of Rossini's improper searches related to the criminal case of United States v. Anthony Pellicano (Pellicano case), an on-going criminal case that is being prosecuted in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles). That case is pending sentencing. Rossini was never assigned to work on the Pellicano case, and he had no official reason to search the ACS for these records. By making these searches, and reviewing the result of these searches, Rossini obtained official and confidential information that he was not authorized to obtain. The five charges that Rossini pled guilty to today represent separate and independent criminal acts of criminal computer access of the ACS system.

As set forth in the Statement of Offense, on January 26, 2007, Rossini improperly downloaded a copy of a confidential informant's FBI report the contained information relevant to the Pellicano matter. Rossini provided a copy of the report to X, a person with whom Rossini had a close personal relationship. X also had a previous relationship with Anthony Pellicano, and X provided a copy of the FBI report to an attorney for Anthony Pellicano in San Francisco, California. The FBI report was filed by Mr. Pellicano's attorneys in the Pellicano case to the court that the United States was improperly withholding exculpatory information from the defense in that case. Unbeknownst to Mr. Pellicano's attorneys, in November 2006, the judge in the Pellicano case had previously ruled, ex parte, that the 302 report was not exculpatory to Mr. Pellicano's defense. Despite news coverage of Rossini's possible connection the Pellicano case in July 2007, Rossini consistently informed his supervisors that those news stories were completely false. On February 25, 2008, Rossini was interviewed by agents from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, and he intentionally lied to these agents. Among his false statements, Rossini falsely denied that he obtained FBI information without authorization, or that he provided any FBI information to persons outside of the FBI, or to X. In announcing today's guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Taylor and Inspector General Fine praised the hard work and persistence of the investigative agents who worked this matter on behalf of the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General. In addition, they extended their thanks to the assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California, particularly Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Ciaffa, and Investigators Timothy Fitzsimmons and Jeremy Crider. They also acknowledged the efforts of Legal Assistant Lisa Robinson, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Tejpal S. Chawla who is prosecuting this matter.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Schenectady cop suspended after DWI ticket

The Albany Times Union by PAUL NELSON - December 11, 2008

SCHENECTADY -- A veteran city police officer has been suspended with pay for allegedly driving drunk while off duty. Joseph A. Peters IV was issued a ticket on Wednesday for driving while intoxicated and another for having a blood alcohol level above 0.08 following an investigation by the police department's Office of Professional Standards. The 10-year veteran, who is 42 years old, was pulled over shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Guilderland Avenue after a motorist reported seeing an erractic driver. He appeared in City Court this morning.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

NYPD Officer Admits Killing Cop Finacee

NBC, New York - December 3, 2008

Alexis Chaparro is accused of first-degree manslaughter in the death of Officer Sonia Garcia, his fiancee. A New York City police instructor has admitted he shot and killed his fiancee, also an NYPD officer, inside their Long Island home in September 2007. Alexis Chaparro pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter Wednesday in the death of Officer Sonia Garcia in state Supreme Court in Riverhead. Chaparro, originally indicted on second-degree murder charges, faces 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 7. Prosecutor Janet Albertson said recent appeals court decisions have made it difficult to convict suspects in one-on-one shootings like the killing of Garcia, so the decision was made to accept a plea deal to ensure Chaparro spends a "substantial prison sentence." Chaparro contended he was concerned about burglars in his Bay Shore neighborhood and shot and killed the victim after being awakened from a sound sleep.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ex-chief heading to prison

Schenectady's Gregory Kaczmarek admits to drug charge; his wife will spend time in county jail
The Albany Times Union by PAUL NELSON - December 3, 2008

SCHENECTADY -  Exactly one year after prosecutors say he consorted with a known drug dealer who was his cocaine supplier, disgraced former Schenectady police chief Gregory T. Kaczmarek could be starting a stint in state prison. Kaczmarek, 56, is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 2, 2009, to two years of prison and a year of postrelease supervision after pleading guilty Tuesday in Schenectady County Court to third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He also has agreed to give up his police badge, any weapons he has and his nursing license, but will get to keep his pension, according to court officials and attorneys. His wife, Lisa Kaczmarek, 48, is scheduled to receive six months in county jail and five years' post-release supervision for admitting to a charge of attempted third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, an offense related to the couple's criminal activity on Feb. 2. On his way into court Tuesday, the ex-chief took responsibility for his criminal misdeeds and apologized for any disgrace he may have brought to the profession.

"Anything that I have done should really not have any impact on the Schenectady Police Department or people in law enforcement in general," he told reporters. "There's a lot of men and women in law enforcement working hard to do the right thing, and if my actions have made their job more difficult, I truly and sincerely apologize." Both Kaczmareks remain free on bail until the sentencing. The 13-month state attorney general-led probe, dubbed "Operation Slim Chance," first ensnared Lisa Kaczmarek and her son Miles Smith along with 22 others in May, and Gregory Kaczmarek in September. To build their case, state investigators amassed hours of secretly recorded telephone conversations. In one, Lisa Kaczmarek is heard pleading for a shipment of cocaine with another drug dealer for her husband's upcoming 56th birthday. In another recorded call, she suggested the ex-chief could transport cocaine for the ring and would "flash his badge" if there was trouble. The husband and wife had initially pleaded not guilty to drug charges that could have landed them behind bars for a long time for their role in a large-scale drug distribution ring headed by Kerry "Slim" Kirkem. The drug enterprise funneled heroin and cocaine from Long Island and Manhattan to Schenectady, using mules and threatening violence to would-be interlopers. Kirkem has pleaded guilty to drug charges.

Kaczmarek's attorney, Thomas O'Hern, bemoaned the deal, saying his client essentially took the deal to spare his wife a prison term. Conversely, Kevin Luibrand, who represents Lisa Kaczmarek, said she got a "proper deal" and wants to move on with her life. A spokeswoman with the state Department of Corrections said Tuesday it was too early to say where Kaczmarek might do his time. Linda Foglia said that determination will come after he's screened and evaluated at the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, Dutchess County, before being placed at a permanent facility. "Obviously we will take into consideration his former employment and risk and special needs," she added. As for his wife, county jail officials say she must be first be classified before being placed in one of two blocks for female prisoners, or perhaps another nearby jail. "We'll take the appropriate steps to ensure her safety," said Schenectady County Jail Undersheriff Gordon Pollard, adding that there is one floor with two blocks for women at the facility. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the "convictions show that no one is above the law." "The involvement of a former chief of police in this organized drug ring is an insult to the countless law enforcement officials who risk their lives every day to protect our communities," he added in a prepared statement. "As we did in this case and all others, my office will continue to hold all public servants accountable for their actions."

The Kaczmareks could have faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted at trial of the top count in the indictment, conspiracy. Instead, with time off for good behavior, Kaczmarek could be out in 17 months and his wife could be released in four months. Prosecutors alleged the Kaczmareks met with Kirkem in a Colonie strip club on Feb. 20 after discovering that State Police seized a shipment of drugs from one of the ring's "mules." They allege the former chief urged Kirkem to move his stash house, change his telephone numbers and "fire" Misty Gallo, the woman who had been caught with the drugs. O'Hearn said those allegations are groundless. Kaczmarek has been plagued by rumors for years. Before then-Mayor Albert P. Jurczynski appointed him top cop in 1996, Kaczmarek held a news conference to dispel a whisper campaign about his alleged drug use. Jurczynski did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment. His six years as chief were also marked by controversy. The FBI investigated his department and eventually helped prosecutors convict four officers on drug-related charges. Paul Nelson can be reached at 454-5347 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NYC policeman accused of road rage attack

The Associated Press - December 2, 2008

NEW YORK - Authorities say a New York City police officer is charged with beating a pedestrian during an off-duty road rage incident. Officer Jamel Dennis faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of second-degree assault. His attorney didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday. District Attorney Richard Brown said Dennis was driving along Queens Boulevard on Nov. 17 when he almost hit Geoffrey Hollinden. The pedestrian, who became enraged, hit the rear of Dennis' car. Prosecutors say Dennis got out and grabbed Hollinden, lifted him in the air and then slammed him to the pavement. Hollinden was hospitalized with cranial bleeding and a herniated disc, and received five staples in his head. Dennis' next court date is Jan. 15.