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Former NYPD cop sentenced for heading up gambling and prostitution ring in city and Hempstead, Queens DA says

A retired NYPD vice detective has been sentenced to four to 12 years in prison for his role in operating a prostitution and gambling ring in Brooklyn, Queens and Hempstead, the Queens District Attorney's Office said Tuesday. 

Ludwig "Agua" Paz, 51, and his wife Arelis Peralta, 44, both of Queens, headed the gambling ring from a deli, two hair salons and other New York City locations, the district attorney's office said. The gambling ring included placing illegal bets on legal lotteries in those establishments, authorities said.

The brothels operated on Front Street in Hempstead, on Liberty and Onderdonk avenues in Queens, and on Gates, Foster and Fourth avenues and 42nd Street in Brooklyn. The prostitution ring, which charged $40 for 15 minutes and $160 for one hour, raked in more than $2 million between August 2016 and September 2017, authorities said.

"These operations are out of business now and the defendant is going to prison," Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said. "We will continue to combat this kind of corruption — even when the perpetrators are those entrusted to enforce the law." 

Paz, who retired from the department in 2010, has been in custody since September 2018. He pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption and one count of third-degree promoting prostitution in May. His wife pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption in May. She was sentenced to 364 days in jail. 

Ryan said in a news release that Paz "used his insight and knowledge of NYPD operations to run lucrative prostitution and gambling rings."

"Furthering his criminal actions, the defendant used his connections with active duty officers to corrupt them into participating in his illegal ventures," Ryan said in the release. 

Seven NYPD officers were charged last September with enterprise corruption, misconduct and other violations for their role in the activity, including Brooklyn-based Det. Rene Samaniego.

Ryan said Samaniego pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption in May. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 24.

Authorities began investigating a possible prostitution and gambling ring in April 2015 after an anonymous tipster told NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau that active and retired personnel were involved in illegal activities.

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