Officer in Ticket-Fixing Inquiry Is Accused of Trying to Kill Witness
A New York City officer accused in a broad investigation of ticket-fixing conspired with his wife to use money from his police pension to try to have one of the main witnesses against him murdered, prosecutors in the Bronx charged in an indictment unsealed on Thursday. The officer, Jose Ramos, 43, and his wife, Wanda Abreu, 39, were led into a courtroom in handcuffs for their arraignment on Thursday afternoon. Both pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy and a single count of criminal solicitation. “The two defendants have conspired to murder a witness,” a prosecutor, Omer Wiczyk, told Acting Justice Steven Barrett of State Supreme Court. “They were willing to pay a fee, but it was critical to them not to be involved.” It was the latest and most serious accusation in an investigation that has unsettled police precincts in the Bronx.
In October, 16 officers were indicted — 11 on charges related to ticket-fixing — as a result of a lengthy inquiry. The inquiry began in late 2008 with an anonymous complaint against Officer Ramos, who worked in the South Bronx in the 40th Precinct, and eventually led to over two dozen wiretaps, many of them on the cellphones of police union delegates and trustees, several officials have said. When charges against the officers were announced in October, Officer Ramos was accused of two dozen crimes, including attempted robbery, attempted grand larceny, transporting what he thought was heroin for drug dealers and revealing the identity of a confidential informer. At that time, Ms. Abreu was charged with filing a fraudulent insurance claim. (more…)