By Philip Newman
Two city cops assigned to Queens precincts have been charged with accepting cash payments from $40 to $1,500 for supplying copies of official police accident reports, the Queens district attorney said.
Danny Cano, 36, of the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights, and Roberto Espinal, 44, of the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst were identified as the officers by Queens DA Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.. Both, free on bail, have been ordered to return to court Oct. 9.
“The defendants are alleged to have been operating independently of each other in this accident victim solicitation scheme,” said Brown. “However, what they allegedly did have in common was that they both tarnished their NYPD badges by exploiting the misfortune of others to unjustly enrich themselves.”
According to one of the criminal complaints, from March 11, 2013 to Aug. 19, 2013, Cano provided either copies of official NYPD accident reports or the information contained within of the names and addresses of 13 accident victims to a “runner” in return for a total of $6,200 that he either received in cash or was directly deposited into a bank account controlled by him.
The second complaint contended that between May 20, 2013 and Aug. 8, 2013, the alleged runner sent texts to Espinal requesting copies of NYPD accident reports containing names of specific accident victims. It is alleged that Espinal would obtain the requested reports, meet the runner at various locations in Queens in order to turn over the reports and received between $40 and $800 for providing the reports, the Queens DA said.
In total, it is alleged Espinal provided copies of official NYPD accident reports containing names and addresses of seven accident victims to a runner in exchange for a total of $1,500 in cash payments, according to Brown’s office.
Conviction could bring prison sentences of up to seven years for each defendant.
Brown thanked the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and New York Central Mutual Co. for assistance in the investigation.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-260-4536.