Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Wayne Peiffer, a former police officer in Brewster, New York, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion and conspiracy to commit bribery in violation of the Travel Act. Peiffer was charged for his role in protecting two Queens-based prostitution businesses from law enforcement when operating in Brewster, in exchange for free sexual services. Today’s proceeding was held before United States Chief Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak. When sentenced, Peiffer faces up to 25 years in prison and forfeiture of $5,000.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ricky J. Patel, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the guilty plea.
“The defendant disgraced his sworn oath to protect and serve the community by using his badge as a shield for prostitution rings in exchange for sexual services from victims of sex trafficking,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Rooting out official corruption and protecting victims and survivors of trafficking are top priorities of this Office.”
Mr. Peace expressed his appreciation to the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance throughout this investigation.
“Sex trafficking and forced prostitution are crimes against the body and soul that shock the conscience of society,” stated HSI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Patel. “For years, Wayne Peiffer abused his position as a law enforcement officer and betrayed the trust given to him by society, taking sexual favors from the women he was sworn to protect. Due to the hard work of HSI, EDNY prosecutors, and our law enforcement partners, Peiffer has pleaded guilty to his crimes and his network of violators has been dismantled. HSI will vigorously pursue criminals like Peiffer, whether they operate in the U.S. or abroad.”
“Corruption is a crime and a stark violation of a police officer’s sacred oath,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “With today’s guilty plea, this former officer admitted to disgracing his shield and betraying the public trust. The NYPD and our law-enforcement partners will continue to proactively identify and expose such unethical and immoral behavior committed by anyone sworn to enforce and uphold the law.”
According to court documents and facts presented during today’s proceeding, from approximately 2010 through October 2018, Peiffer provided protection to members of a prostitution business and a sex trafficking organization that each transported women from Queens to Brewster, New York, for the purposes of engaging in prostitution. Peiffer’s protection included advance notice of law enforcement activities and assistance with avoiding detection and apprehension. In exchange, Peiffer directed members of the prostitution business and sex trafficking organization to deliver women to him, including at the Brewster Police Department station, for free sexual services.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the office’s Civil Rights Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Lauren H. Elbert, Nicholas J. Moscow and Rachel Shanies are in charge of the prosecution.
Highland, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-622 (LDH)