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Three police officers charged with car towing scams and sale of data to lawyers and doctors in New York road accidents


Scandal in NYPD.

Photo: Andrés Correa Guatarasma / Courtesy

A female and two male NYPD officers were arrested yesterday on charges of executing a tow truck bribery scheme and selling personal information of accident victims.

Heather Busch (34), Robert Hassett (36) and Robert Smith (44), all from Police Station 105 in Queens Village, they were charged with five counts of using interstate facilities to commit bribery and two counts of conspiracy to violate other laws.

“The accusedthey blatantly violated their oaths in office and public trust by exchanging their badges for cash payments, “Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Mark Lesko said in a statement.

The trio pleaded “not guilty” yesterday in federal court in Brooklyn. Smith was held without bond, and Hassett and Busch were released on $ 200,000 bond.

Smith, who supposedly identifies with the racist group Ku Klux Klan, He is also accused of attempting to transport at least a kilo of heroin and possession of a firearm during the commission of that crime after he retired in March 2020.

Beginning in 2016, Smith and Hassett responded to the car accident scenes and ordered a tow truck and auto repair company to recall damaged vehicles in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash payments, according to Brooklyn federal prosecutors.

The agents Bypassed the Directed Accident Response Program (DARP) NYPD, which requires police to use a computer program that randomly selects a licensed towing business to ensure that no company receives favored treatment.

On the eve of his retirement, Smith reportedly recruited Busch to replace him in the bribery business. Busch agreed and began working with Hassett and the crane company, whose name is not mentioned in court documents.

In another scheme, Smith and Hassett supposedly Hacked into New York Police Department databases to obtain the names and identifying information of auto accident victims. They sold that data to the same conspirator in the crane scheme who in turn negotiated the information to personal injury attorneys and physical therapists, authorities said. The couple allegedly earned $ 7,000 for turning over the personal information of 100 victims.

The NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, condemned the alleged misconduct. “There is zero tolerance in the NYPD for corruption of any kind,” he said in a statement.

If convicted, Smith faces life in prison. Hassett and Busch could face up to five years in prison for each charge of bribery and conspiracy, the New York Post noted.

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