Saving his family
A former detective with the NYPD vice enforcement division has received up to 12 years in prison after he was found guilty of running a multimillion-dollar gambling and prostitution ring.
Ludwig Paz, 52, was sentenced in Queens Supreme Court after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption and one count of promoting prostitution. His wife, Arelis Peralta, received 364 days in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of enterprise corruption, which has already been served, reports the New York Post.
The couple have two daughters, who were also facing charges as police believed they had helped out with the business.
However, Paz took a plea deal so that he could “save his family” and reduce his wife’s sentencing, according to his defense lawyer, Frank Kelly.
Addressing Judge Ronald Hollie at his sentencing, Paz said: “I want to apologize to the court, the DA’s office and the NYPD for my wrongful actions. I deeply regret them. I want to apologize and say sorry and ask for forgiveness to my family for my actions and all the pain and suffering that I’ve caused them.”
He was originally facing a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
Paz is reported to have operated brothels that charged $40 for 15 minutes of sex and $160 for a full hour. Between August 2016 and September 2017, he took in over $2m. He spent the money on lavish holidays and expensive purchases.
He was also operating illegal lotteries in Brooklyn and Queens.
Notably, though, he used his position in the NYPD and his police connections to protect what he was doing. He achieved this by paying Rene Samaniego, a Brooklyn South vice detective, $500 a week to tip him off about any upcoming raids. Samaniego is awaiting sentencing.
Taking measures a step further and to avoid getting caught, Paz made new clients at the brothels undress and they had to be touched before they passed security. He did this in the belief that law enforcement officers wouldn’t expose themselves in the line of duty.
Paz was eventually arrested last September after a three-year investigation started in 2015 following a tip-off.
Abusing a position of trust
Paz broke his position of trust to take advantage of a situation. His was not the first case, nor is it likely to be the last.
A report from January noted a similar case. A former police officer had allegedly used racing fans’ money from a gambling syndicate to buy horses and pay vet and training fees. This he did without their knowledge, and his actions only came to light after an investigation.
In both cases, the perpetrators had a police background, a role that has a certain level of trust placed in it.