NYPD sergeant from LI accused of approving gun licenses for cash, gifts

Multiple NYPD officers were arrested Monday in a federal corruption probe for allegedly accepting cash, meals and trips in exchange for fixing tickets, orchestrating police escorts and expediting gun licenses, according to authorities.

NYPD Sgt. David Villanueva, of Valley Stream, is a top-ranking officer who is among those facing charges.

According to the indictment, a Brooklyn businessman bribed Villanueva in order to get gun licenses approved for his clients. Authorities say that in granting the approvals, Villanueva would not complete a full review of the applicants' criminal history, did not verify the details of the application, and did not conduct in-person interviews with the applicants.

"The result of the alleged corruption, not surprisingly -- licenses were issued to people who had no business having them," said U.S Attorney for New York's Southern District Preet Bharara.

Officials say they have been working to revoke the affected licenses, but say the process has been "compromised."

No one answered the door at Villaneuva's home Monday, but neighbors who spoke with News 12 were surprised by the charges. They described him as "very nice" and a "decent guy."

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton says Sgt. Villanueva has been suspended, along with two of the other officers charged, Deputy Inspector James Grant and Deputy Chief Michael Harrington.

"The alleged conduct violates the principal that public servants are to serve the public, not to help themselves to cash and benefits just for doing their job," Bharara said in announcing the charges.

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