In addition to this bribery scheme, JOHN CHAMBERS, a former Assistant District Attorney in Kings County, was arrested for a separate bribery conspiracy with Villanueva. CHAMBERS is an attorney who represents individuals before the License Division, and who markets himself to potential clients as the “Top Firearms Licensing Attorney in NY.” From at least 2010 through 2015, CHAMBERS gave Villanueva numerous valuable items, including tickets to sporting and entertainment events for Villanueva and his family, free dinners and lunches for Villanueva, sports memorabilia, and a wristwatch valued at approximately $8,000.
In exchange, Villanueva assisted CHAMBERS’s clients in several ways. He ensured that renewal applications submitted by CHAMBERS’s clients, which typically take 30 to 40 days for approval, were renewed more expeditiously, sometimes as quickly as within one day. In addition, in evaluating “incidents” – investigations to determine whether an individual’s gun license should be suspended or revoked – Villanueva expedited the investigations, and then shortened the suspension periods, for CHAMBERS’s clients.
Villanueva also helped CHAMBERS renew gun licenses for clients before the Pistol Section of the Nassau County Police Department, where Villanueva had contacts. Starting in or about 2012, CHAMBERS brought his clients’ renewal applications to Villanueva at One Police Plaza, and Villanueva mailed those applications to the Pistol Section using his NYPD License Division stationery. Villanueva did so knowing that because he was submitting the renewal applications using his NYPD License Division stationery, the renewals would be approved in a significantly faster time for CHAMBERS’s clients than for other applicants. In exchange, CHAMBERS paid Villanueva several times in cash, as well as with tickets to sporting and entertainment events for Villanueva and his family. CHAMBERS typically mailed Villanueva the cash by taping it to the inside of a magazine.