Staten Island police officer Besnik Llakatura, 37, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the extortion of an Astoria pizzeria owner with the help of fellow Albanian alleged mob members Denis Nikolla and Redinel Dervishaj.
Llakatura was contacted by the business owner shortly after Nikolla and Dervishaj demanded $4,000 from him for opening a business in “our neighborhood” according to the Gothamist.
Llakatura, who had befriended his victim and already knew Nikolla and Dervishaj, then reassured him that both Nikolla and Dervishaj were bad people that would surely hurt him, and that it would be unwise to go to the police.
The store owner was then chased with a gun down a street by Denis Nikolla, after which he agreed to pay up. Eventually, the trio extorted $24,000 from the restaurant owner over a period of six months.
The good guy, bad guy shake down method was also used with an Astoria club owner, who sought Llakatura’s advice after being threatened if he didn't pay $1,000 per week to the two Albanian tough guys, according to the Gothamist. Llakatura’s advice was once again for the club owner to pay up or else his family in the U.S and Albania would be at risk.
The New York Daily News reported that Llakatura would face seven years to life in prison on February 26th. He has been suspended with no pay since his December 2013 arrest for gun-brandishing charges, along with extortion.
Llakatura started his career as a police officer in 2006, however his alleged extra-curricular activities were long lasting. He was accused of tracking his mistress with a GPS device stuck to her car, along with threats toward her family. According to New York Post, Llakatura was caught on wire taps stating that he would routinely shake down business owners for "tax".
His extortions along with his associates would often be toward the Albanian-American community.
NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton said “I have no tolerance for corruption at any level in this department”.
According to NY Daily News, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown charged two Queens police officers with shaking down Flushing karaoke bar owners last week.
*Featured Image Via InstantCheckmate.com