MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a grand jury has indicted Hempstead Village Trustee Perry Pettus and Richard Holland, the Deputy Chief of the Village of Hempstead Police Department, on bribery charges related to Pettus accepting a cash bribe to promote Holland to deputy chief of the department in May 2018.
Perry Pettus, 62, was arraigned today before Judge William O’Brien and charged with Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree (a D Felony) and one count of Official Misconduct (an A misdemeanor). The defendant was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on December 4.
Richard Holland, 47, was arraigned today before Judge William O’Brien and charged with Bribery in the Third Degree (a D felony). The defendant was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on December 4.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty. If convicted of the top charge the defendants face a maximum sentence of 2-1/3 years to seven years in prison.
“This ongoing investigation has uncovered shocking corruption at the highest levels of Hempstead Village government and law enforcement,” DA Singas said. “The criminal allegations against Trustee Perry Pettus and Deputy Chief of Department Richard Holland raise serious concerns about these officials’ leadership within these institutions that serve the public and I ask anyone, especially Hempstead officers and employees, to come forward with any information that may assist this investigation.”
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 Hempstead Hub Towing – at the beginning of this year after receiving credible information about an alleged bribery scheme.
Separately, beginning in April 2018, three police chiefs retired from the Village of Hempstead Police Department. In May 2018, the Village of Hempstead Board of Trustees began interviewing potential candidates for the positions and Lieutenant Richard Holland was among the people who applied. In the Village of Hempstead, the board is responsible for appointments and promotions within the police department.
Holland and Pettus allegedly met in the parking lot behind Spices Negril Restaurant in South Hempstead on May 14.
While both defendants were in their respective cars, Holland allegedly passed cash – wrapped in a newspaper – to Pettus. In exchange Pettus voted to promote Holland from lieutenant to deputy chief of the department on June 5, 2018.
Following the June 5 vote, Holland was appointed as acting deputy chief of police, and was sworn-in as deputy chief on June 7.
In July and October of this year, Pettus was arraigned on three separate grand jury indictments related to bribery and extortion schemes of local business owners.
The investigation is ongoing.
Senior Assistant District Attorneys Lisa Berk and Sarah Nadeau Balducci of DA Singas’ Public Corruption is prosecuting this case. Scott Druker, Esq. represents Pettus and Greg Madey, Esq. represents Holland.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.