- A former NYPD police detective was arrested for running a prostitution ring for nearly 10 years and recruiting at least seven officers to aid his criminal activities.
- The prostitution ring brought former detective Ludwig Paz millions of dollars until his arrest at J.F.K. airport.
- Paz is being held on bail in protective custody while authorities search for the other members involved in his operation.
A retired police detective allegedly ran a prostitution ring in New York City for nearly 18 years before he was caught, marking one of the most marked corruption NYPD scandals in recent history.
Authorities say they discovered 51-year-old Ludwig Paz, a former police detective who retired in 2010, successfully ran at least seven brothels in New York City for years without discovery. Paz previously had a clean record and did not entertain engaging in any criminal activity until he began suffering significant financial difficulties in 2008, The New York Times reported Friday.
In 2008, Paz had more than $690,000 in debt, and earned only $120,000 on his police salary, according to The NYT.
The former detective, arrested for operating a massive prostitution ring, remained in the dark for years by collecting a crew of trustee police officers working under his wing and tipping him off about planned raids ahead of time. Records indicate that Paz ran multiple brothels along with “pop-ups” in Brooklyn and Queens, making billions of dollars through his criminal activities.
Paz recruited at least seven police officers in order to keep his activities off the radar. “Because of his familiarity with the tools of the trade and vice — and how to investigate these kind of enterprises — he kind of became expert,” according to an anonymous law enforcement official. “He figured, wow, he can make a lot of money.”
Following Paz’s arrest at J.F.K. International Airport, authorities put three sergeants, two detectives and two officers in handcuffs for their involvement with the prostitution activities. Twenty-six civilians were also arrested, and the authorities are looking for at least 13 more.
Giovanny Rojas-Acosta, Carlos Cruz, Cliff Nieves and Rene Samaniego are among those arrested.
Paz relied on his doorman, bagmen and legmen among others to secure his activities would be kept in the dark. Paz recruited seven police officers that he’d met during his time in the NYPD. The men divulged to Paz the identities of undercover officers and tipped him off about upcoming raids. (RELATED: Parents Face Charges For Allegedly Running Prostitution Ring)
Men who arrived for services from a prostitute were required to allow themselves to be groped in order to identify undercover officers who are not permitted to submit themselves to any kind of interaction with a prostitute.
Fifteen minute sessions cost $40, and customers paid $160 for an hour.
An anonymous worker who noticed suspicious activity told NYT that the activity was obvious. “These guys were pretty blatant. You’d see a half dozen guys coming and going at the same time.”
A building tenant near one of the brothels reported the activities to the police in January 2017, but the authorities didn’t take any action until September 2017 by which time Paz had been tipped off about an upcoming raid and moved the brothel’s location. Another man repeatedly called the police through August 2017 to report the brothel, but nothing happened.
Despite its apparent inaction in 2017, however, the police department began investigating the prostitution in 2015 after an anonymous cop sent a telephone tip to the Internal Affairs Bureau. Many credit the “blue wall of silence” — an unspoken code whereby officers don’t divulge the misdeeds of their colleagues — for Paz’s ability to evade detection.
The code originated in New York and is generally defined as, “A rule among police officers not to report on another officer’s errors, misconducts, and or crimes when questioned about an incident of misconduct involving another colleague, during a course of an inquiry.”
Paz is being held on $325,000 cash bail and currently sits in protective custody in jail.
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