An NYPD sergeant who hoped to dodge jail time thanks to his cooperation with federal prosecutors investigating corruption in the gun license division was sentenced to four months Wednesday by a judge who said he’d “dishonored the badge.”
Sgt. David Villanueva, 45, provided prosecutors with extensive information about bribery in the NYPD’s License Division and testified at two trials. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy, false statement and bribery charges.
“You became a corrupt cop. You dishonored the badge. Dishonored the force,” Judge Sidney Stein said in Manhattan Federal Court.
“He has shaken the faith of the public in the Police Department.”
Villanueva, who grew up in East New York, Brooklyn, participated in rampant corruption revealed in 2017 involving the NYPD’s division dedicated to processing hard-to-obtain city gun permits. So-called expediters bribed cops to rubber stamp paperwork. The bribes to crooked cops included fancy meals, limousines, vacations, Broadway tickets and strippers.
Among those expediters was lawyer John Chambers, whose wife attended the sentencing.
“We were close personal friends until he threw us under the bus,” Christina Chambers told the Daily News.
Chambers was sentenced to 1 year in prison, thanks in large part to Villanueva’s cooperation, prosecutors said. The sergeant’s former supervisor, Lt. Paul Dean, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Villanueva also took the stand in the trial of cop-briber Jeremy Reichberg, who was sentenced to four years in prison. Another former cop in the division, Robert Espinel, was sentenced to a year.
Villanueva said greed made him lose his way.
“I was part of a circle where this was going on. I allowed myself to become corrupt,” he said.
“I will never be able to forgive myself.”