A pair of dirty cops were caught in an undercover NYPD sting operation driving supposed high-priced escorts to and from their dates in exchange for thousands of dollars, newly released disciplinary records show.
Former Officers Thomas Diorio and Michael Sardone of the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park, Queens were busted earlier this year when it was revealed the prostitute they were driving around was actually an undercover NYPD officer, according to the records that were recently made public.
Sardone, who has since retired and was once named “Cop of the Month” in 2015, was the subject of an unrelated investigation when one of his colleagues, posing as a prostitute, asked him in early April if he was interested in driving her and a few other girls to dates because their regular driver was sick.
“We’re not street girls, you know. We’re like high-end,” the undercover told Sardone in a recorded phone call.
“Sex for money. So it’s… simple. It’s just picking us up, dropping us off,” she explained in a subsequent meeting.
Sardone was told he’d be paid $1,000, and possibly more, and he said he’d do it and that he had someone who’d help him out, records show.
On three separate occasions in April and May, Diorio, a 20-year veteran with the NYPD, and Sardone met the undercover escorts at a diner parking lot and drove them to and from hotels in Manhattan and Queens, the records show.
On the first occasion on April 9, the undercover officer paid Sardone and Diorio $4,000 for a ride to and from a Manhattan hotel where they met another undercover cop, posing as a john, who also tipped the two officers $100 each.
A few weeks later, the cops were paid $2,000 for the same service and were asked again to help out in mid-May.
During that incident, the undercover officer told Sardone and Diorio she was meeting with a new client and they needed to be prepared to come up to the room in case things went awry, which the cops agreed to.
Shortly after they dropped the supposed working girls off, Sardone received a text message asking him and Diorio to come up to the room because the apparent john, also an NYPD undercover officer, was refusing to pay.
“Can we square this up so we can get out of here … I mean it was talked about before so let’s just pay them their money,” Diorio told the john as both he and Sardone encouraged the undercover sex buyer to pay up, according to the records.
The fake john acquiesced and forked over the $1,000, telling Diorio he “looks like a tough guy,” records show.
One of the female undercovers also told the “john” she was taking back her “coke” and then grabbed several baggies of what appeared to be drugs from him and took them with her back to the car with Sardone and Diorio.
The next day, Sardone told the undercover he and Diorio were still interested in working with her but he preferred that there not be any drugs involved “in case they were pulled over,” the records state.
In a scathing rebuke of Diorio following a department trial he was not present for, the assistant deputy commissioner for trials, Jeff Adler, called his action’s “egregious” and “repugnant.”
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