PATERSON — A former city police sergeant who oversaw the illegal activities of five subordinates, all of whom pleaded guilty to corruption charges, was found guilty on Thursday of conspiring to deprive people of their civil rights and tampering with a police report.
Michael Cheff, 51, of Oakland was arrested in early 2020 and, at the time, was the eighth Paterson police officer to be charged in a years-long corruption investigation.
In a statement, the US Attorney’s Office in Newark said Cheff could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison for conspiracy and 20 years for false records, with a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. ‘charge.
A sentencing date for Cheff was not immediately announced. Associate officers who previously pleaded guilty, Jonathan Bustios, Daniel Pent, Eudy Ramos, Frank Toledo and Matthew Torres, are also all awaiting sentencing.
“Michael Cheff was fired yesterday,” read a statement from Paterson Mayor’s Secretary Andre Sayegh on Friday. “His trial revealed sickening and horrific acts by former officers who violated their oath to protect and serve. Paterson has taken significant steps to stamp out such conduct and prevent it from happening, including by ensuring every officer is equipped with a body-worn camera, officers are retrained, and de-escalation is a point of attention.”
Among the charges against Cheff and previously reported by New Jersey 101.5 were Bustios, Ramos and Torres who arrested a victim in November 2017 and were later joined by Cheff at the individual’s apartment, where they had compels the person to sign a research consent form. then removed cash and narcotics from a safe inside the house.
The individual later said the safe contained approximately $2,700, which Cheff allegedly split among officers. He then filed a report saying only $319 of the money seized had been entered into evidence.
Cheff and the other officers also reportedly intercepted vehicles, seemingly for no reason, stealing drugs and money from those they were detaining in incidents dating back to 2016.
It was previously reported that Ramos had pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, but Thursday’s statement said he had since changed his plea.
Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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