Former NYPD Officer Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 46 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Distribute Firearms and Stolen Goods
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 18, 2013|
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Ali Oklu, a former New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer, was sentenced today to 46 months in prison for participating in a scheme to illegally transport firearms, including M-16 rifles and handguns, and stolen goods across state lines. Oklu was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley, III.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Ali Oklu betrayed the NYPD and the fine men and women who serve there so honorably, even going so far as to conspire to bring firearms into New York where his brother and sister officers—as far as he knew—might have been potentially in the firing line. With his sentence today, he will now be punished for his crimes.”
According to the court filings and statements made in court:
From September 2010 to October 2011, Oklu participated in the transportation of firearms and what he believed were stolen goods across state lines. He was an active duty NYPD officer at the time he committed the offenses. The firearms Oklu helped transport included three M-16 rifles, one shotgun, and 16 handguns, the majority of which had been defaced to remove or alter the serial numbers and all of which had been rendered inoperable. The goods he helped transport, and that he thought were stolen, included 12-slot machines and thousands of cartons of cigarettes, as well as various counterfeit merchandise. In total, the goods that Oklu and his co-conspirators illegally transported carried a street value of approximately $1 million.
Oklu was recruited to join the conspiracy in early October 2010 by its leader and organizer and fellow NYPD Officer William Masso. The trips in which Oklu participated included two trips to transport purportedly stolen slot machines from Atlantic City to New York; multiple trips to transport hundreds of cases of purportedly stolen cigarettes from New Jersey to New York; a trip to Virginia to take part in the purported theft of hundreds of cases of cigarettes from trucks parked outside a warehouse; and the final trip during which 20 firearms, many of which were defaced, and all of which were rendered inoperable, were transported interstate. In total, Oklu was paid $35,000 for his role in the transport of the firearms and purportedly stolen goods.
Oklu specifically discussed with his co-conspirators using their law enforcement credentials and applying their law enforcement expertise in preparing for and carrying out these schemes. For example, in a meeting in March 2011, Masso explained that they should carry their law enforcement badges during the operation and, if stopped, say they were police officers working off-duty to deliver items that had been purchased at an auction. The group also discussed using their specialized knowledge as law enforcement officers in determining the ideal vehicles to rent to transport the goods. Oklu specifically recommended that the group not travel together in the rental vehicles they used to transport the purportedly stolen goods in order to avoid raising the suspicion of law enforcement. During his guilty plea, OKLU admitted that he had knowingly transported what he believed were stolen cigarettes, slot machines, and other merchandise across state lines and had willfully transported firearms across state lines.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Pauley sentenced Oklu, 36, of Sunnyside, New York, to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $7,500 fine and a $200 special assessment fee. Judge Pauley also imposed on Oklu an agreed upon forfeiture amount of $35,000, representing his share of the crime proceeds. Pursuant to Oklu’s guilty plea, Oklu relinquished his interests in guns seized from him at the time of his arrest.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption and Complex Frauds Units. Assistant United States Attorney Carrie H. Cohen is in charge of the prosecutions.