MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a former Hempstead Village Trustee pleaded guilty in satisfaction of six indictments today to extorting business owners, submitting false paystubs to obtain a mortgage and ticket fixing.
Perry Pettus, 63, pled guilty in satisfaction of indictments 1208N-2018, 1600N-2018, 1601N-2018, 1836N-2018, 715N-2019 and 716N-2019 before Supervising Judge Teresa Corrigan to:
- Bribe Receiving in the Second Degree (a C felony)
- Five counts 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)
- Two counts of Tampering with Public Records in the First Degree (a D felony)
- Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (an E felony)
- Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony)
- Official Misconduct (an A misdemeanor)
- Tampering with a Witness in the Fourth Degree (an A misdemeanor)
- Two counts of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree (an A misdemeanor)
The defendant is expected to be sentenced to two to six years on September 10, after seeking and accepting an offer from the court.
“Perry Pettus betrayed the trust placed in him as a public official, shook down business owners for bribes, and abused his authority over the police department to help friends and punish those who didn’t pay,” DA Singas said. “His admissions today underscore the need for the Village of Hempstead to take corrective action to ensure that these abuses in government and the police department cannot happen again, because the public deserves a government that works for the people, not the powerful.”
DA Singas said that according to indictment 1208N-2018, from between February 2018 and May 2018, Pettus used his position and authority as a deputy mayor and trustee of the village to solicit more than $50,000 in bribes from Hempstead restauranteurs by threatening to have summonses issued that would jeopardize the restaurants’ business, cabaret and liquor licenses, thereby forcing the restaurants out of business.
According to indictment 1601N-2018, from June 2017 to September 2018, Pettus used his position and authority as a deputy mayor and trustee of the village to solicit more than $100,000 in 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.
According to indictment 1600N-2018, in November 2016, the defendant attempted to obtain a mortgage from TD Bank by lying on the application about the amount of money he earned annually and submitting forged pay stubs as proof of income.
According to indictment 715N-2019, from May 16, 2018, to June 5, 2018, Pettus used his position and authority as a trustee of the village to fix tickets for an employee of Mendez. Pettus allegedly called then-Lieutenant Paul Johnson of the Hempstead Police Department on the same day, described the tickets and told Johnson he would stop by the police department and show him the ticket numbers on his phone. Johnson later allegedly told Pettus that the tickets would be fixed and Pettus then called Mendez to say, “They’re done. You don’t have to worry.”
According to indictment 716N-2019, from April 13, 2018, to April 16, 2018, Pettus used his position to ask Joseph Savino, a Sergeant in the Hempstead Police Department, to fix tickets as a favor to Mendez. Savino allegedly disposed of two parking tickets issued to Mendez and a uniform traffic summons and complaint issued to an employee of Mendez.
According to indictment 1836N-2018, Pettus received a cash bribe – wrapped in newspaper – allegedly from the Hempstead Police Department Lieutenant Richard Holland, in exchange for voting to promote Holland to deputy chief of the department on June 5, 2018.
The cases against Mendez, Johnson, Holland, and Savino are still pending.
July 31, 2018 - Hempstead Village Trustee and Associate Indicted for Soliciting Bribes and Extortion
October 17, 2018 – Hempstead Village Trustee and Associate Indicted on New Charges
November 16, 2018 – Hempstead Village Trustee and Deputy Chief of Village of Hempstead Police Department Indicted
May 1, 2019 – Hempstead Police Chief, Police Sergeant Former Village Trustee and Restaurant Owner Indicted
Pettus is represented by Jim Druker, Esq., Mendez is represented by Bruce Barket, Esq., Johnson is represented by Ronald Bekoff, Esq. and Savino is represented by Scott Carrigan, Esq. Holland is represented by Jerald Carter, Esq.
The charges against the remaining defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.