A former NYPD officer from Hempstead was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday for an insurance fraud scheme that involved torching his Range Rover. The Brooklyn federal judge disregarded prosecutors’ call for a nearly five-year sentence.
Carlos Becker, 40, apologized to U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie and said he was deeply affected by his time in jail since his arrest and guilty plea “experiencing things I’ve never experienced before.”
“It’s been a humbling experience being in prison,” said Becker, who had been a police officer for 13 years. “Truly humbling.”
Becker was charged last year with conspiring to collect $34,000 from Geico after arranging to have his vehicle taken and burned, and then reporting it missing to Nassau police. He allegedly didn’t pay one of the men he hired to wreck the car, and that man disclosed the scheme.
He faced up to 20 years in prison, and federal sentencing guidelines recommended 46 to 57 months. Prosecutors wanted Brodie to go above the guidelines, alleging Becker was involved in two other car-arson schemes and had assaulted a woman while on duty.
In that incident, prosecutors said, Becker pressed a woman he had arrested for drunken driving to go out on a date in return for help with her case. He then got her drunk, prosecutors said, and she woke up the next morning in his bed with a black eye.
Brodie said she was giving Becker a lenient sentence based on letters from his family and church members describing him in highly favorable terms. The judge said she believed he engaged in the crime “just for the money.”
She also noted the assault allegations, and told Becker he had some “issues you need to deal with,” ordering him to undergo mental health treatment, including counseling for “sexual disorders.”
“Hopefully, you will straighten that out and become an upstanding member of society,” said Brodie, who also noted that Becker’s wife is divorcing him and he will be estranged from his stepdaughter.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” she told him. “I wish you good luck.”
Becker was never charged with the alleged assault, and his lawyer said he denied it. The woman — Erica Noonan — filed a lawsuit that is still pending, and her lawyer Thursday criticized the lenient sentence from Brodie.
“While we are glad to see that he will be incarcerated, given that he was facing 20 years we are surprised and disappointed that he’s only going to serve two years,” said lawyer JoAnn Squillace. “He’s a threat to society and we believe it merited a higher sentence.”