A Plainview man who once called himself “one of the most corrupt cops” at his NYPD precinct was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 9 years in prison in connection with drug trafficking and a bribery scheme involving officers who live on Long Island, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Robert Smith, now 45, had pleaded guilty in October and was given a 97-month sentence Wednesday by Judge Rachel P. Kovner of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Smith, who had been assigned to the 105th Precinct and who retired in March 2020, also attempted to transport heroin, prosecutors said.
In the bribery scheme, the now-ex-cops would direct damaged vehicles to certain tow truck companies and sell crash victim information from NYPD databases to personal injury lawyers and physical therapists.
The other officers in the scheme were Heather Busch of Massapequa, 35, who was sentenced to six months in prison, and Robert Hassett, 37, of Farmingville, who has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
The precinct’s jurisdiction abuts Nassau County.
“In recordings obtained by the government during the investigation, Smith repeatedly referred to himself in criminal terms as, for example, ‘one of the most corrupt cops in the 105,’ a ‘perp that got away,’ and someone who, had he not been an NYPD officer, would have been ‘locked up so many times,’” the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in a news release.
Under the NYPD's rules, department-set criteria determine which tow truck company responds to handle a disabled vehicle, not an individual independently, according to an indictment in the case. The tow truck company involved in the scheme and the recipient of the database listings weren't disclosed.
Between 2016 and 2017, Smith and Hassett got thousands of dollars in cash bribes in exchange for bypassing NYPD rules and sending business directly to the towing company, the government said. The scheme also continued in 2019 and 2020.
Beginning in January 2020, court papers said, "Smith sought opportunities … to transport illegal narcotics, in exchange for payment, upon Smith’s retirement from the NYPD." He was charged after making contact with undercover officers posing as drug traffickers and offering to transport heroin while carrying a gun.
He accepted a bag containing what Smith believed to be a kilogram of heroin and transported it to an undercover officer he believed to be a drug dealer, court papers said.