Aug 162012

Image source: Wikipedia Commons.

Joseph Trischitta, a former community affairs officer for Bay Ridge’s 68th Precinct, was recently sentenced to 40 months of federal prison time for taking part in a gun-running operation led by another now-disgraced cop at the same station house, writes Paula Katinas for Bay Ridge Life.

Trischitta plead guilty and was sentenced on August 9, for his part in an interstate network that illegally traded firearms and stolen goods, according to United States attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.

From Bay Ridge Life:

“Joseph Trischitta’s sentencing today is the latest reminder of the consequences of public corruption. It does a disservice to the overwhelming majority of public servants who conduct themselves so honorably and to the people they serve,” Bharara said following the sentencing.

Trischitta was the last of the defendants who pleaded guilty to be sentenced. Twelve defendants were arrested. Eleven, including Trischitta, pleaded guilty to the charges. One defendant continues to maintain his innocence and will face a trial.

Former cop Marco Venezia, who also served as a community affairs officer at the 68th Precinct and worked alongside Trischitta, was sentenced to 24 months on July 26. He also pleaded guilty to the charges of illegally transporting items across state lines. William Masso, who also worked at the 68th Precinct, was the ringleader, according to authorities. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on July 20 to 57 months.

From December 2010 to October 2011, Trischitta transported firearms and what he believed to be stolen goods, including slot machines, cigarettes and other merchandise, across state lines, authorities said.

In what amounts to an insult to both law-abiding police and tax payers, Trischitta was collecting retirement benefits from the city’s Police Pension Fund, even as he attempted to profit from the illegal transport of $1 million dollars worth of goods – “including three M-16 rifles, one shotgun and 16 handguns, the majority of which had been defaced to remove or alter the serial number.”

According to authorities, Trischitta was paid a paltry $11,500 for his role in the scheme, essentially ruining his reputation and putting himself behind bars for an amount that probably wouldn’t even pay for a second-rate defense attorney.

In addition to the jail time, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III also ordered Trischitta to pay a $50,000 fine.

All of the defendants in the case have now plead guilty except for Ali Oklu, who was still on active-duty at the time he allegedly took part in the scheme. His trial is expected to happen sometime in 2013.