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Posted on: October 17, 2018

Hempstead Village Trustee and Associate Indicted on New Charges

MENDEZ, WILLIAM  10.16.18

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a grand jury has indicted Hempstead Village Trustee Perry Pettus and his associate, William Mendez – who were previously arrested in July – and charged them with new counts of bribery, larceny, conspiracy and official misconduct related to additional businesses that were allegedly targeted as part of an extortion scheme. 

Perry Pettus, 62, was arraigned yesterday before Acting Supreme Court Justice William O’Brien on three counts of Bribe Receiving in the Second Degree (a C felony), four counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony), three counts of Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree (a D felony), three counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a D felony), two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony), three counts of Official Misconduct (an A misdemeanor) and two counts of Tampering with a Witness in the Fourth Degree (an A misdemeanor). 

Mendez, 48, also known as Jito Malania and Leocadio Molino Rios, was arraigned today before Acting Supreme Court Justice William O’Brien on two counts of Bribe Receiving in the Second Degree (a C felony), three counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony), two counts of Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree (a D felony), two counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a D felony), two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony) and two counts of Official Misconduct (an A misdemeanor). 

Bail was set at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash for Pettus and Mendez was remanded. The defendants are due back in court on October 30. If convicted of the top charge, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years to 15 years in prison.

“Hempstead Village Trustee Perry Pettus and his associate William Mendez allegedly threatened to drive half a dozen people out of business unless they paid extortion money,” DA Singas said. “As an elected official, Pettus should be held to a high standard, and the widespread greed alleged in this indictment – taking approximately $80,000 in bribes – is a cause for concern. This investigation is ongoing and I encourage anyone with information to contact my office.”

DA Singas said that the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office initiated an investigation into Perry Pettus – a Trustee for the Village of Hempstead, former deputy mayor of the village and owner of Hubs Auto Care – in the beginning of this year after receiving credible information about an alleged bribery and extortion scheme.

According to the indictment, Pettus used his position and authority as a deputy mayor and trustee of the village to solicit bribes from local restauranteurs by threatening to have summonses issued that would jeopardize the restaurants’ business, cabaret and liquor licenses, thereby forcing the restaurants out of business.

It is alleged that Pettus and an associate, William Mendez, a local restaurant and bar owner in the Village of Hempstead, targeted Hispanic-owned businesses as part of their extortion scheme.

Mendez, who speaks Spanish, allegedly aided and assisted Pettus by meeting with victim business owners and demanding money to avoid tickets, fines, license revocations, and other actions that could jeopardize their businesses.  

Mendez allegedly benefited from his relationship with Pettus by having Pettus fast-track certain business permits and licenses for Mendez.

The defendants were arrested in July and charged with multiple crimes related to the extortion of two businesses for more than $25,000. Since then, the investigation has determined that additional Village of Hempstead business owners were targeted by the pair and allegedly shaken down for an additional $80,000. 

In one incident, Pettus, who was Deputy Mayor at that time, conducted frequent inspections of a business late at night and complained about the noise. The business owner allegedly paid Pettus fearing Pettus would not renew the owner’s business license and to stop the defendant from conducting inspections. Intercepted phone calls allegedly capture Pettus soliciting a birthday gift from the same owner – three weeks after his birthday.

Another owner allegedly made extortion payments to Pettus via Mendez, after he was told by police to close his business down at midnight. The victim allegedly delivered one extortion payment to Mendez at Mendez’s restaurant with Pettus present.

In another incident, Pettus and Mendez visited a business owner together. The owner was told that he was not allowed to be open beyond certain hours. Pettus then instructed the owner to talk to Mendez who later demanded money from the business owner.

After the business owner made one payment, intercepted phone calls between Mendez and Pettus allegedly confirm Mendez told Pettus about the payment and that Mendez delivered the payment to Pettus. Bank records reveal Pettus deposited $7,920 into his Santander Bank account the next day.

Intercepted phone calls between Mendez and Pettus allegedly confirm Mendez told Pettus about the payment and that Mendez delivered the payment to Pettus. Bank records reveal Pettus deposited $7,920 into his Santander Bank account the next day.

Pettus is also charged with witness tampering. Following Pettus’s arrest on July 31, 2018, Pettus is allegedly captured on video surveillance approaching a business owner. During this conversation, Pettus allegedly asked the victim to give a false statement to Pettus’s attorney claiming the victim never paid Pettus money.

Pettus ceased to be deputy mayor of the Village of Hempstead on April 2, however, he remains a trustee.

Perry Pettus was arraigned on separate grand jury charges in July before Acting Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington and charged with Bribe Receiving in the Second Degree (a C felony), Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony), Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree (a D felony), Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a D felony), Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (an E felony), Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony), Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree (an A misdemeanor) and six counts of Official Misconduct (an A misdemeanor).

Mendez was arraigned on separate grand jury charges in July before Acting Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington and charged with Bribe Receiving in the Second Degree (a C felony), Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a D felony), Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (an E felony), Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony), Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree (an A misdemeanor) and Official Misconduct (an A misdemeanor).

Additionally, Pettus was arraigned on a third indictment yesterday on charges of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a D felony), six counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (a D felony), 12 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (an E felony), Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (an E felony), eight counts of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree (an A misdemeanor) and Making a Punishable False Written Statement (an A misdemeanor).

The investigation is ongoing and the NCDA encourages anyone with information to contact the Public Corruption Bureau at 516-571-2100. 

Senior Assistant District Attorneys Lisa Berk and Sarah Nadeau Balducci of DA Singas’ Public Corruption are prosecuting this case. Pettus is represented by Scott Druker, Esq. and Mendez is represented by Jeff Schwartz, Esq.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.


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