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Ex-NYPD cop from LI sentenced in gun-licensing scandal

Former NYPD Officer Robert Espinel, right, exits a

Former NYPD Officer Robert Espinel, right, exits a federal courthouse in Manhattan, April 25, 2017.  Credit: Charles Eckert

Robert Espinel, a former NYPD officer from Long Island, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison on Friday in Manhattan federal court for his role in a corruption scandal in the department’s gun licensing division.

Espinel, 49, of Seaford, was charged in 2017 with taking bribes to expedite gun licenses, and then retiring and working to develop a business by paying other members of the licensing division to expedite permits for private clients. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay bribes.

“I’m sorry I harmed the reputation of the NYPD,” Espinel told U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos. “I feel ashamed. I hate that I have damaged the trust of the community I served for over 20 years. I’m afraid I may never restore my family’s pride in me, nor my pride in myself.”

Espinel’s lawyer, in court filings, asked for a sentence of probation. Prosecutors said advisory federal guidelines called for 18 to 24 months in prison and urged a sentence in that range.

“We hold police officers to a much higher standard,” Ramos said. “We also endow them with great powers. It is imperative for the public to know police officers, to whom we endow such powers, are conducting themselves with integrity.”

The sentence of one day over a year makes Espinel eligible for prison credits that could reduce the time he serves. In addition to the prison term, Ramos also ordered payment of a $5,000 fine.

CORRECTION: Robert Espinel's name was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

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