A former NYPD lieutenant from Long Island was hit with 18 months in federal prison and a $7,500 fine Thursday for his role in a corruption scandal involving the department’s gun licensing office.
Paul Dean, 46, of Wantagh, pleaded for leniency from federal District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan, saying that he would forever bear the label of a corrupt cop. Dean pleaded guilty last year to conspiring with others to pay bribes to expedite the granting of gun licenses.
“As I stand before you and my family I want everyone to know that I take full responsibility for my actions,” said Dean, a divorced father of three. “My life has been destroyed by my actions.”
Ramos acknowledged that he believed Dean — who pleaded for no prison time — was contrite but nevertheless gave him the 18-month term, which was at the lower end of the federal sentencing guidelines range of 18 to 24 months. He also ordered Dean to forfeit $1,000, representing a cash payment he had received in the corruption scheme from so-called gun license expediters.
Dean was ensnared in a federal corruption probe into the inner workings of the police system of dispensing gun licenses, something Ramos compared to a “criminal enterprise.” Ramos seemed critical of the NYPD itself when he noted that the whole system of using civilian expediters to handle gun permit paperwork and get special treatment for the their clients was something that should have raised red flags with department brass.
An NYPD spokesman said the system of expediters is no longer allowed and that each step in a computerized gun license procedure is handled by a different person.
While Dean was at first only a low-level member of the licensing unit, he quickly rose to a position of leadership and presided over what federal prosecutor Kimberly J. Ravener said in court papers was a “period of rampant corruption.” Dean accepted gifts and provided gun licenses to business owners not based on need or merit but more on the favors they bestowed, Ravener said.
The scheme lasted from 2013 to 2016, prosecutors said. After Dean retired from the department in 2015, he tried to capitalize on the corruption by plotting to compete with bribe-paying expediters through his own scheme, Ravener said in a five-page sentencing memorandum.
In his statement to Ramos, Dean acknowledged that he agreed to give gifts and cash to cops but realized he couldn’t go through with such a plan. Dean said he tried to tell his old unit commander about the corruption and was informed things were being done to stop corruption.
Dean decided to plead guilty last August and said he had three sessions with federal prosecutors to divulge what he knew about corruption in the NYPD. The scandal has led to a number of other convictions.
Last month, defense attorney Abe George filed a sentencing memo of his own in which he alleged that his client had given information to prosecutors about favored treatment over the years to Donald Trump, his lawyer Michael Cohen, and others. Police officials later noted that some of those named had pistol permits for as long as 40 years and alleged that some of the meetings Dean alleged never took place.
Ramos said that the damage done by Dean’s corruption was to the overall sense of public trust in the police department.
“People have to have faith in police officers,” Ramos said.
In a statement, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said that several officers under Dean’s command also took bribes from gun license expediters. Gifts included free restaurant meals, free liquor from a distributor, free entertainment, and free car repairs at car shops, Berman said. He noted that a number of expediters have pleaded guilty in the case, with one, Shaya Lichtenstein, sentenced to 32 months in prison.
Dean was given until March 28 to get his affairs in order and surrender to a federal correctional facility to be determined, Ramos said.