News and Press Releases

Two New York City Police Officers and the Operators of a Queens Brothel Charged in Bribery Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 09, 2006

DENNIS KIM and JERRY SVORONOS, two New York City Police Officers, and GINA KIM and GEEHO CHAE, brothel operators, were arrested yesterday on bribery charges relating to the protection of a brothel located in Flushing, Queens. Agents seized approximately $800,000 in cash, believed to be the proceeds of the brothel, from a vehicle and residence used by GINA KIM and CHAE. Last night, search warrants were also executed at the brothel and a boarding house used by the brothel workers, and agents seized immigration documents, business records, and a small quantity of ecstasy. In addition, 16 brothel workers were taken into immigration custody.

The defendants’ initial appearances are scheduled to be held later today before United States Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The arrests in this ten-month investigation were announced by ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, RAYMOND W. KELLY, Commissioner, New York City Police Department, MARK J. MERSHON, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and SALVATORE DALESSANDRO, Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), New York Office.

As alleged in the government’s complaint, GINA KIM and CHAE operated a large brothel, located most recently at 57-24 164th Street, Flushing, New York. The brothel was staffed primarily with Korean women, many of whom were illegal aliens smuggled into the United States by associates of KIM and CHAE. The brothel earned approximately $4,000 per day in revenue.1

The complaint also charges that between June 1, 2004 and the present, Police Officers KIM and SVORONOS accepted from GINA KIM and CHAE sexual services, the payment of bar bills, and information leading to arrests that they believed could advance their careers, in exchange for permitting GINA KIM and CHAE to operate their brothel and for carrying out raids at competing brothels. As police officers assigned to the Conditions Unit of the 109th Precinct, DENNIS KIM and SVORONOS were responsible for enforcing violations affecting the quality of life in the precinct, including prostitution.

The investigation began in May 2005, when GINA KIM arranged a meeting with an NYPD detective (“the Detective”) who had participated in two earlier arrests of KIM for promoting prostitution. Suspecting that KIM might offer a bribe, the Detective immediately contacted the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau (“IAB”), which commenced an investigation and arranged to record the meeting. Since May 12, 2005, the Detective engaged in 17 recorded meetings with GINA KIM and CHAE, who paid him a total of $126,500 in cash bribes in the mistaken belief that, like Police Officers KIM and SVORONOS, the Detective would protect their prostitution activities from law enforcement.

During a surveillance of CHAE on December 5, 2005, in Flushing, an FBI agent (“the FBI agent”) was unexpectedly approached by Police Officer KIM, with whom the agent was personally acquainted. The officer entered the agent’s car, and KIM explained that he had arranged for an intermediary to meet with CHAE that evening to determine whether CHAE was under investigation. During the course of the ensuing conversation, Officer KIM admitted that he allowed CHAE to operate a massage parlor in the vicinity of 162nd Street in Flushing, and added that he used CHAE as an unregistered confidential informant to obtain information that he relied on to make arrests at massage parlors that competed with CHAE.2

On December 7, 2005, the FBI agent arranged a meeting with DENNIS KIM during which KIM admitted that he cultivated his relationship with CHAE because “I wanted to be the number one cop. You know? Because I wasn’t making sergeant. You know I wasn’t smart enough.” KIM added, “I wasn’t gonna hit his place.” When the FBI agent asked KIM if CHAE rewarded him for “hitting different prostitute places,” KIM replied, “No. He gave me information. And that was the reward.” KIM added that CHAE also bought him drinks “at hostess bars.” KIM also admitted that he arranged for other people, including his partner, SVORONOS, to obtain sexual services at CHAE’s brothel. On December 8, 2005, the NYPD removed KIM from the 109th Precinct and placed him on modified duty.

On December 9, 2005, two IAB officers approached Officer SVORONOS just before he arrived at DENNIS KIM’s residence. In a voluntary interview, SVORONOS admitted that he and his partner, DENNIS KIM, were aware that CHAE operated brothels and that they intentionally failed to take action against them. SVORONOS said that beginning in the summer of 2004, CHAE provided information about other brothels, which SVORONOS, KIM, and other members of the 109th Precinct Conditions Unit relied upon to conduct raids. SVORONOS said he believed CHAE provided the information so that the police would eliminate his competition. SVORONOS stated that on two occasions in 2005, he obtained sexual services at CHAE’s brothel. On December 9, 2005, the NYPD removed SVORONOS from the 109th Precinct and placed him on modified duty.

On December 30, 2005, the Detective recorded a telephone conversation with CHAE, during which CHAE acknowledged that he had provided prostitutes to Officer KIM at the brothel, and took steps to ensure that Officer KIM was not seen by other customers. CHAE also stated that GINA KIM gave Officer KIM money on a few occasions.

“The corruption of law enforcement officers threatens the fabric of society and will not be tolerated,” stated United States Attorney MAUSKOPF. “Thanks to an NYPD Detective and an FBI agent who immediately reported their contact with two of the defendants, these allegedly corrupt officers and brothel operators have been apprehended and will now be held accountable for their crimes. This successful investigation is a direct result of the combined efforts of the hardworking men and women of the NYPD, ICE, and the FBI.” Ms. MAUSKOPF stated that the investigation is continuing.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge MERSHON stated, “This was a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is that two officers sworn to protect and serve instead put personal gain and gratification ahead of their civic duty, allegedly providing another kind of protection for a criminal enterprise. The good news is that their behavior was as atypical as it is repugnant, and they were readily caught.”

Police Commissioner KELLY stated, “A dedicated New York City police officer exposed this ring. Equally dedicated Internal Affairs investigators documented the passing of attempted bribes during the 10-month sting operation. They also arrested the two officers who disgraced themselves and the New York City Police Department.”

“Today’s arrests highlight the commitment of local and federal law enforcement in New York working together to protect public safety from the perils of brothels and corruption,” said ICE Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge DALESSANDRO. “We will continue to work with our partners and pursue enforcement actions against those who violate customs and immigration laws.”

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven H. Breslow.

The Defendants:

GINA KIM
DOB: August 3, 1968


GEEHO CHAE, also known as “Ji Ho Choi”
DOB: December 11, 1968


DENNIS KIM
DOB: March 27, 1976


JERRY SVORONOS
DOB: September 14, 1975

_____________________________

1 The charges announced today are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

2 NYPD regulations require that all confidential informants be registered in accordance with detailed procedures. The use of unregistered informants is strictly prohibited.


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