William Mendez allegedly targeted Hispanic-owned businesses in scheme; Co-defendant, former Village of Hempstead Trustee Perry Pettus, sentenced to 2-1/3 years to Seven Years in 2020
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Hempstead restauranteur pleaded guilty today to bribe receiving and other charges for his role in soliciting more than $150,000 in bribes from Hempstead restaurant owners.
William Mendez, 50, of Elmont, pleaded guilty today to two counts of bribe receiving in the second degree (a C felony), two counts of grand larceny in the second degree by means of extortion (a C felony), conspiracy in the fourth degree (an E felony) and two counts of tampering with public records in the second degree (an A misdemeanor) and conspiracy in the fifth degree (an A misdemeanor). The defendant is expected to be sentenced to 1-1/3 to four years in prison and is due back in court on May 17.
Co-defendant and former Hempstead Village Trustee Perry Pettus pleaded guilty for his role with Mendez, and in other cases, and was sentenced to 2-1/3 years to seven years in prison on January 14, 2020.
“William Mendez tormented numerous Hispanic-owned businesses with threat of ticket blitzes and closures if they didn’t pay bribes to him and former Village of Hempstead Trustee Perry Pettus,” DA Singas said. “Small, family-owned businesses are the backbone of our communities and these defendants exploited immigrant owners simply out of personal greed.”
DA Singas said that according to indictment 1208N-2018, between February 2018 and May 2018, former Hempstead Village Trustee Perry 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. William Mendez, Pettus’s accomplice - a local restaurant and bar owner in the Village of Hempstead - collected the payments from the victims and delivered them to Pettus.
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 $50,000 in bribes using William Mendez as an intermediary with Hispanic-owned restauranteurs by threatening to have summonses issued that would jeopardize the restaurants’ business, cabaret and liquor licenses, thereby forcing the restaurants out of business. Pettus and Mendez, acting in concert, targeted Hispanic-owned businesses as part of their extortion scheme.
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.
The cases against Johnson, Holland, and Savino are still pending.
Senior Investigative Counsel Lisa Berk and Senior Assistant District Attorney Sarah Nadeau Balducci of DA Singas’ Public Corruption Bureau are prosecuting this case.
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.