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A retired NYPD vice detective and his wife ran a prostitution and gambling ring with brothels in Hempstead, Queens and Brooklyn, authorities said in court papers unsealed Thursday, a day after the department charged seven police officers for their roles in the scheme. Paz faces a charge of enterprise corruption. The seven police officers, facing enterprise corruption, official misconduct and other charges, pleaded not guilty Thursday morning and were released on their own recognizance.
Paz was scheduled to appear in court in the afternoon, but information on his appearance was not available Thursday night. In Queens Supreme Court, prosecutors said some of the seven accused officers put fellow cops at risk by providing information about impending raids.
The officers tipped off suspects about the raids, received cash for passing the information to Paz, and, in come cases, were provided free sexual favors, prosecutor Bradley Chain said in court. He singled out Det. None of the women who worked as prostitutes were victims of sex trafficking, according to police, but prosecutor Bradley Chain said a pimp coached one of them on what to say to prosecutors to deter them from pursuing a trafficking case.
Investigators believe Paz, 51, learned about running prostitution and gambling enterprises while working as a vice detective, police officials said. Carlos Cruz, 41, charged with official corruption, is accused of aiding Paz in both the gambling and prostitution rings. Giovanny Rojas Acosta, 40, charged with enterprise corruption, is accused of alerting Paz about law-enforcement prostitution probes, officials said. Cliff Nieves, 37, and his brother, Sgt. Steven Nieves, 32, are accused of operating a pop-up brothel for a bachelor party and were charged with promoting prostitution.
Officer Giancarlo Raspanti, 43, charged with official misconduct, is accused of providing information in exchange for sex and Sgt. Louis Failla, charged with official misconduct, is accused of providing assistance to Paz after a raid. The New Yorkers we serve will never tolerate this, and neither will this police department.