Shortly after his appointment as Police Chief of Connecticut’s largest city in November 2018, Armando J. Perez, a Bridgeport cop since 1983, said, “I did it on my own.”
Turns out he had lots of help, all of it illicit.
According to his guilty plea in Federal Court Oct. 5, Mr. Perez schemed with the city’s acting Personnel Director to ace the promotion test and pave the way for his promotion by the city’s Mayor, a good friend and himself a convicted felon.
Lied to the FBI
Mr. Perez, 64, admitted in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport to single counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to Federal investigators, the Office of acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said.
The city’s former acting Personnel Director, David Dunn, who gave Mr. Perez answers to the test, pleaded guilty to similar charges.
Each count carries with it a maximum of five years in prison, and both men could also be fined as much $500,000 when they are sentenced in January.
According to the criminal charge, in June 2018, Mr. Perez, at the time Bridgeport’s acting Chief for more than two years, directed two officers under his command to compose a resume and a cover letter on his behalf that he submitted along with his application for the permanent position.
He then had the two officers complete a questionnaire and essay questions that he turned in to city officials later that month. Along with that material, he sent the written-exam portion of the application, whose scoring guide he had “obtained from a co-conspirator,” presumably Mr. Dunn.
Helped on Oral Test
Invited to an oral exam that was to be conducted by phone, Mr. Perez directed one of the officers to print out the draft questions and to compose answers the acting Chief could relay during the call.
In May, the charging document said, Mr. Perez then tried to deceive FBI agents during questioning about his relationship to the officer.
For his part, Mr. Dunn, 73, who as acting Personnel Director was responsible for the examination process, retained an outside consultant and convinced him to ease the preferred requirements so that they would favor Mr. Perez, by, for instance, not requiring a bachelor’s degree. He also procured the questionnaire’s scoring guide and passed it on to Mr. Perez.
He then called one of the independent panelists conducting interviews for the Chief’s post, telling the interviewer that the Mayor wanted Mr. Perez to be ranked among the top three applicants, which would facilitate his appointment. Mr. Dunn, in February of this year, would deny doing this to investigators.
‘We’re Going to Move On’
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, who himself served seven years in prison following convictions on Federal racketeering and bribery charges in 2003, appointed him permanent Chief on a five-year contract in November 2018.
Leaving the Federal Courthouse in Bridgeport after his plea, the former Chief said he “accepted responsibility.”
“I apologize to the good people, people that I served with pride and I gave 37 years of my life to,” he said. “I’m so sorry, and I apologize. We’re going to move on, and we’re going to make this city the best city in the State of Connecticut.”
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