D.A. Moved to Vacate Convictions of Wrongfully Arrested New Yorkers at Outset of Investigation
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of NYPD detective JOSEPH FRANCO, 46, for entering false testimony during court proceedings and making false statements in court documents on multiple occasions while he was assigned to Narcotics Borough Manhattan South, resulting in three unlawful arrests. The defendant is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with 16 counts, including Perjury in the First Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, and Official Misconduct.
“As alleged in the indictment, this detective lied to judges, prosecutors, and his own colleagues in the NYPD about crimes that never happened, and three New Yorkers wrongfully lost their liberty as a result,” said District Attorney Vance. “My Office will continue to bring the full weight of the law against uniformed officers who lie and undermine the public trust in law enforcement on which we rely to keep New York safe.”
According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, FRANCO was employed as an NYPD detective assigned to Narcotics Borough Manhattan South. Between February 21, 2017 and May 3, 2018, FRANCO entered false testimony in court proceedings on three separate occasions and made false statements in forms, reports, complaints and other documents, leading to the unlawful arrest of three individuals on drug-related charges. As a result of the defendant’s conduct, all three individuals pleaded guilty and two of the individuals began serving state prison sentences before the matter was referred to the Manhattan D.A.’s Public Corruption Unit for investigation. D.A. Vance moved to vacate the three wrongful convictions at the outset of the Office’s investigation.
Previous Prosecutions of Uniformed Officers
The Manhattan D.A.’s Office aggressively investigates and prosecutes corruption and misconduct by uniformed officers, including in the following prosecutions over the past two years:
- On August 29, 2018, NYPD Officer ELIJAH SALADEEN was charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Assault in the Third Degree and other charges for assaulting a 19-year-old man and then making false statements about the incident.
- On August 14, 2018, former NYPD Officer JOHNNY DIAZ pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and other charges for helping transport cocaine in exchange for money.
- On June 27, 2018, former NYPD Officers SASHA CORDOBA and KEVIN DESORMEAU pleaded guilty to Official Misconduct and other charges for making false statements in court documents and in court proceedings related to a Washington Heights arrest.
- On May 25, 2018, former Human Resources Administration (HRA) Peace Officer JOHN LUGO pleaded guilty to Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree for placing a woman under arrest at an HRA facility and forcing her to perform a sex act.
- On May 17, 2018, former NYPD Officer NYSIA STROUD was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree and Official Misconduct for transporting marijuana and cocaine in exchange for money.
- On March 9, 2017, former NYPD Officer JONATHAN MUNOZ was convicted of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and other charges for an unlawful arrest and an illegal search in Washington Heights.
Assistant D.A.s Stephanie Minogue and Marc Stepper are handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Julio Cuevas, Jr., Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and Luke Rettler, Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, as well as Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Investigative Analyst Kate Daly, Senior Investigator Leonid Rashkovsky, and former Assistant D.A. Robert Cannata also provided valuable assistance on the case.
District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for its assistance on the investigation.
JOSEPH FRANCO, D.O.B. 12/2/1972
New York, NY
- Perjury in the First Degree, a class D felony, four counts
- Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, nine counts
- Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, three counts