VILLAGE OF HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two Village of Hempstead officials have been indicted by a grand jury on bribery charges after prosecutors say the deputy chief of police bribed a trustee $1,000 in order to win his promotion within the department.
Perry Pettus, 62, and Richard Holland, 47, each face a felony charge of third-degree bribery, carrying a possible maximum sentence of up to seven years in prison. Pettus also faces a misdemeanor count of officials misconduct.
Both men entered not guilty pleas to the charges.
According to the Nassau County district attorney’s office, three police chiefs retired from the Village of Hempstead Police Department in April, after which Lieutenant Richard Holland applied for the position. The village board decides police department promotions.
On May 14, Holland and Pettus allegedly met in the parking lot behind Spices Negril Restaurant in South Hempstead.
“While both defendants were in their respective cars, Holland allegedly passed cash – wrapped in a newspaper – to Pettus,” said the DA’s office in a statement. “In exchange Pettus voted to promote Holland from lieutenant to deputy chief of the department on June 5, 2018.”
“This ongoing investigation has uncovered shocking corruption at the highest levels of Hempstead Village government and law enforcement,” said District Attorney Madeline Singas. “The criminal allegations against Trustee Perry Pettus and Deputy Chief of Department Richard Holland raise serious concerns about these officials’ leadership within these institutions that serve the public and I ask anyone, especially Hempstead officers and employees, to come forward with any information that may assist this investigation.”
Pettus, a former Hempstead Village deputy mayor, was indicted on multiple felony charges earlier this year following an investigation that authorities claim uncovered a scheme to shake down business owners for protection money.
Pettus and his alleged partner William Mendez, 48, face counts of bribery, larceny, conspiracy and official misconduct related to additional businesses targeted in an alleged extortion scheme.