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Former NYPD Detective, Copiague Resident Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Tax Fraud Charges

Defendant was a Member of a Sophisticated Burglary Crew That Stole Approximately $10 Million in Cash and Property

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New York, NY - June 26, 2014 - Earlier today, Rafael Astacio, a former detective with the New York City Police Department, pleaded guilty in Central Islip federal court to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and filing a fraudulent tax return. When sentenced, Astacio faces up to eight years in prison, a forfeiture money judgment of $200,000, and a fine of up to $500,000.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kathleen M. Rice, Nassau County District Attorney, George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Thomas C. Krumpter, Acting Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), Shantelle P. Kitchen, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS), and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD).
“For three years, Astacio and his band of thieves invaded people’s homes and businesses and stole millions of dollars. What makes Astacio’s crimes even more disgraceful is that he committed them while he was a NYPD detective who took an oath to protect and serve our community,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Today’s plea demonstrates that no one is above the rule of law. I want to thank my law enforcement partners for their hard work and unwavering commitment to ensure that Astacio was brought to justice.”
According to the indictment, court filings,and statements at today’s proceeding, between 2009 and 2012, Astacio was a member of a burglary crew that committed approximately three dozen commercial burglaries and ten residential burglaries in the Eastern District of New York stealing approximately $10,000,000 in cash and property. The crew used traditional burglary tools, such as blow torches, crowbars, wire cutters, and sledge hammers, as
well as modern technology, including cell phone jammers and police scanners, to commit those burglaries. In addition, they often conducted surveillance of their burglary victims to determine when the victims would be out of their homes and businesses. On at least one occasion, they even installed a tracking device on a victim’s car to assist in that endeavor.
On April 29, 2010, Astacio’s co-conspirators burglarized a business in Plainview, New York, entering that commercial establishment while Astacio and another co-conspirator monitored a police scanner and acted as lookouts. Astacio’s co-conspirators spent approximately three and a half hours in the business and stole more than 45,000 pairs of Under Armour, Hobie, and other sunglasses that were worth approximately $3,000,000. After the burglary, Astacio and his co-conspirators transported the stolen property across state lines and sold some of the sunglasses on the Internet. In another instance, Astacio and his crew stole approximately $2,000,000 in cash from a plastic surgeon’s office located in Nassau County.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher C. Caffarone and Special Assistant United States Attorney Rick Whelan.
The Defendant:
Copiague, New York