Lead Detective in Ticket-Fixing Scandal Probe Charged by NYPD
The lead detective in the NYPD's investigation of ticket-fixing has been charged by the department for leaking information to a high-ranking cop that was charged in the case and feeding her false details to see if she would share it with members of the police union, DNAinfo has learned.
The NYPD slapped Det. Randy Katakofsky on Friday with two charges stemming from dealings with Lt. Jennera-Everleth Cobb, who was among the cops who faced a Bronx judge in October and charged with leaking information during the two-year investigation.
This shocking turn of events in the case involving its key Internal Affairs detective will assuredly provide defense attorneys with ammunition to undermine the case against Lt. Cobb and perhaps many of the other indicted officers as well.
Katakofsky, 34, and a 12-year NYPD veteran, was accused of "improperly providing information he learned during the course of a confidential investigation [to Lt. Cobb]," according to the charges.
He was also accused of "conducting an integrity test in violation of the Internal Affairs bureau guide." The charge stems from the allegation he provided Lt. Cobb with "disinformation" about the internal probe to see if she would leak it to ticket-fixing targets with the cop's union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, but he never told his supervisors he was doing it.
"This a bogus charge, and it is not about what anyone thinks about ticket fixing,” said Katakofsky’s lawyer, Rae Dawn Koshetz. “This is an abuse of power to punish a detective who was doing his job.”
Of the 16 indicted cops, 11 of them were union officials were accused of fixing hundreds of tickets for friends, colleagues and relatives.
Police officials were not immediately available for comment. Neither was the attorney for Cobb.
The ticket-fixing probe started with a tip about a purported rogue Bronx cop, Jose Ramos, who was suspected of being involved with drug dealers.
Internal Affairs set up several stings to catch Ramos and even sent an undercover cop to work as a barber inside a barber shop Ramos owned in the Soundview section of the Bronx where the alleged dealing was centered.
Ramos was eventually snared running pounds of heroin and marijuana and other illegal contraband.
But in the course of the probe, IAB and prosecutors who were tapping Ramos’ phones also heard him being asked to fix a ticket for a friend, which eventually lead to eavesdropping on two dozen other police officer phones.
According to sources, Cobb worked years ago with Katakofsky during her stint in Internal Affairs.
But she later became an IAB target when her identity was gleaned as a possible leaker on a secretly wiretapped conversation involving Bronx PBA trustee Joseph Anthony, who was also a target and later arrested.
After news of the charges broke, the union's president blasted Katakofsky, and said his actions should jeopardize the case against all 16 officers charged in the scandal.
“This rogue investigator’s testimony was used to pursue this ticket investigation and to obtain wire taps on the phones of over a dozen NYC police officers," PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement. "If he cannot be trusted to follow the law, is it likely that he misled the court and prosecutors about the facts of this case? Why is he not being charged criminally?”