A private investigator from the Bronx admitted to paying off a witness in a gun case and attempting to coerce the victims in the gun case into silence, prosecutors announced on Tuesday.
Charles Gallman, 55, pleaded guilty to bribing a witness before Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas, who indicated that he will sentence Gallman to one to three years in prison.
According to charges in the underlying gun case, on Jan. 30, 2013, Frederick Freeman, 30, went with his girlfriend Raneisha Williams, then 23, went to Williams’ brother’s apartment on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in Jamaica. When they arrived, they knocked on the door and Williams’ brother refused to open the door.
The brother looked through the peephole of his apartment door and saw Freeman with his hand in his waistband and decided to open the door. Freeman then pulled out a silver firearm, pointed it at the brother and told him to back up so that he and Williams could enter. However, the young man quickly closed the door instead, locked it and called 911.
When officers arrived, they found Freeman and Williams in an apartment three floors below and recovered Williams’ black handbag, which contained a defaced silver .380 caliber pistol loaded with one cartridge in the chamber and two in the magazine.
Freeman and Williams were arrested and charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Williams pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on May 14, 2014 and was sentenced to three and one-half years in prison.
While his criminal case was pending, prosecutors said, Freeman began working with Gallman, who purported himself as a private investigator. Between Feb. 1, 2013, and April 1, 2015, Gallman allegedly worked to bribe, intimidate and tamper with witnesses who were set to testify against Freeman in the gun case.
Over the course of a long-term investigation, authorities utilized techniques such as court-authorized eavesdropping, controlled telephone calls, the subpoenaing of telephone records and listening to recorded phone conversations from Rikers Island. During the aforementioned time period, Freeman and Gallman engaged in acts intended to instill fear in the victim and his family members, implying that they would be physically injured if he or any of them testified in the case.
Charges go on to say that Freeman contacted witnesses and members of the witnesses’ family and spoke with Gallman by phone from Rikers Island about offering bribes and tampering and intimidating witnesses. Gallman also contacted the victim and a member of his family in person and over the phone in an effort to tamper with, bribe and/or intimidate the two.
Freeman pleaded guilty to the original gun case as well as the witness tampering charge in May 2016. He was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison on Sept. 12, 2016.
“Witnesses of crimes must be protected from outside interference that might affect their testimony,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “My office will not tolerate the intimidation of, or tampering with, witnesses and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who engage in such conduct.”