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In May Angus Deayton faced lurid headlines about his alleged use of prostitutes and cocaine. The series follows her and her teenage boyfriend as they face the big moment and even bigger decisions about life. Angus, 56, is no stranger to awkward situations. In May he faced lurid headlines about his alleged use of prostitutes and cocaine.
Here is his story, as uncovered by a team of Times reporters. The retired police detective, Ludwig Paz, 51, is accused of running a syndicate of prostitution and gambling that spanned Brooklyn and Queens and brought in millions of dollars.
Police officers swooped in one day in Septemberslamming through the door with a battering ram, but they left empty-handed. The brothel on the border of Gowanus and Park Slope had quietly closed down before the raid, just as had happened with several other brothels around the borough, gone dark right before the police showed up. Last week, prosecutors disclosed why: They said the brothels were run by a retired police detective who had been repeatedly tipped off about planned raids by officers on the force, revealing one of the worst corruption scandals to hit the New York Police Department in years.
The retired detective, Ludwig Paz, 51, was arrested and accused of running a broad and complex syndicate of prostitution and gambling that spanned Brooklyn and Queens and brought in millions of dollars. Three sergeants, two detectives and two officers were also charged.
Two other officers were stripped of their guns and shields and placed on administrative duty. Dozens of civilians were arrested, and more are being sought. Police corruption in New York City has long revealed its share of notorious characters — the rookies working as muscle for drug dealers, the veteran investigators in the pockets of Mafia bosses, the shakedowns and favors and kickbacks. But Mr. Paz, as portrayed by prosecutors, represents an unusual breed: a vice detective who kept a clean record until he retired, only to pivot hard and use his law-enforcement background to become the very strain of crime lord that he once was supposed to stamp out.
His years wearing a badge in Brooklyn, the police said, would prove to be on-the-job training for a second career as a purveyor of prostitutes and protector of pimps. City officials were quick to claim credit for smashing the brothel-and-gambling ring, saying that the arrests offered evidence that the Police Department could police itself.
Still, Mr. Department officials defended their anticorruption programs, but acknowledged that the Paz case was prompting them to examine whether they need to put new ones in place. Paz is in protective custody in jail, and his lawyer declined to be interviewed for this article. But his rise and fall was pieced together by reporters for The New York Times who conducted dozens of interviews with current and former law enforcement personnel, Mr.
The reporters also visited locations of brothels and gambling parlors across the city. The interviews and court records portrayed a crime boss who relied upon seven police officers he had met over his years on the job to be his crew — his legmen, his doormen, his bagmen.
Most important, they were Mr. Wiretaps revealed Mr. The contents of the wiretaps were recounted to The Times by senior law enforcement officials.
The syndicate thrived because of its secret weapons — all seven of them — and yet it was done in from within. The whistle-blower was a fellow officer who called the Internal Affairs Bureau with a tip. Selfies, grinning and topless.
This was how Mr. Paz attracted customers for his syndicate, the police said. New ones arrived looking for the women advertised on their phones, only to be met by a bizarre requirement. They were ordered to drop their pants and submit to a fondling before engaging with prostitutes.
The screening was Mr. From his time on the vice squad, Mr. Paz knew that undercover police officers are barred from exposing themselves in interactions with prostitutes. After submitting to the screening, and the vast majority did, the customer paid, was handed a playing card as a receipt and proceeded to the next room to select a prostitute, the police said.
The sessions played out in seedy little plywood stalls within the apartment on Fourth Avenue. Law enforcement officials shut down Back earlier this year. Now there was a Whole Foods a short walk away, and modern condos across the street advertised a full-time doorman and residents lounge. New residents were arriving in the neighborhood and, like the old-timers, they were dismayed at what was happening in the building. A former tenant at the Gowanus building said she started reporting the sex operation to the police in Januaryafter she noticed lots of men visiting and talk of a massage table.
She said nothing happened. At one point, a detective from the vice squad told her that the sex trade was impossible to stamp out, she said, and suggested she move.
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The police finally came with the battering ram in September Nothing there. Sven Britt, a musician who lived in a building on Foster Avenue in Ditmas Park, said he first noticed a brothel there in September He said he repeatedly called the police through August to report the brothel, and visited the nearby 70th Precinct in person to report the issue.
Before he was Defendant Paz standing in handcuffs in a courtroom and before he was Detective Paz or Officer Paz, he was just another hopeful young man telling his father what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to be a cop. His father, Luis Paz, had misgivings.
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To save money for his Catholic education, his parents gave him water instead of juice at breakfast. His father still felt disappointment, but that was nudged aside by pride. As a patrolman, Officer Paz was ased to the 84th Precinct, covering the brownstones and cobblestones of Brooklyn Heights and Vinegar Hill. One officer who was actually his partner, Officer Giancarlo Raspanti, was perhaps the first of the seven he would work beside.
The prostitution empire and the former n.y.p.d. detective, always one step ahead of the law
More than two decades later, Officer Raspanti would end up in handcuffs with Mr. ByDetective Paz was on the Brooklyn Vice Squad, where he learned the inner workings of street crime at its most sordid. To get inside required going undercover, entering the realm of pimps and prostitution and speaking their language. Along the way, he met several other officers whose names, in the far-off year ofwould appear beside his own in a sweeping indictment detailing corruption and prostitution.
Among them: Giovanny Rojas-Acosta, Carlos Cruz, Cliff Nieves and, most notably for his actions as described by the police, Rene Samaniego, who would tell pimps when undercover officers were planning to visit a brothel and describe what they looked like. He and Mrs. Paz went to comedy clubs in Manhattan. Detective Paz took his son to the arcade and for hikes in state parks. He had met another woman, apparently through his work on the vice squad.
Law enforcement officials said the woman, Arelis Peralta, was inside a brothel that the vice squad raided, though they did not say why she was there. Detective Paz let her slip out the back door when the police arrived, the officials said. The detective and Ms. Peralta began a romance.
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His wife had moved to Puerto Rico and was waiting for him to her and their son. Instead, he asked for a divorce. Peralta, who was arrested last week along with Mr. Paz, did not respond to requests for comment. Back then, Detective Paz, perhaps thinking back to the cramped building above the auto parts store, did what a lot of Americans did. He borrowed too much. And, like a lot of others inhe was swept into the financial crisis, failing to make monthly payments on his subprime mortgage loans and filing for bankruptcy.
On a later wiretap, the law enforcement official said, he was heard telling an associate that he started working in prostitution in — not as an arresting officer, but as a player. He retired in Mostly, it was Detective Samaniego from the vice squad.
Paz would listen, hang up and call one of his brothels, said a law enforcement official who has listened to wiretap recordings of the conversations. Paz would tell the brothel, the official said. They shut the place down. Other calls were more specific. Paz never sounded panicked.
Always relaxed. Paz said, according to prosecutors, using the abbreviation for undercover officer.
In hindsight, it would seem reckless for a retired detective to speak so openly on the telephone. The officers working with Mr. Paz helped in many ways, the police said. Some watched the door at the brothels, collecting cash. They arrested his competitors. When Mr. The police waited until 1 p. At one location, officers even handcuffed a year-old superintendent who, after convincing them he had nothing to do with any crimes, was released. The raids were the culmination of an investigation that started with a telephone tip to the Internal Affairs Bureau.
It came from a police officer. Three years later, the tipster, still unnamed, would be praised by Commissioner James P.