BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut -- The chief of police in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was arrested Thursday, along with the city's personnel director, on charges they schemed to rig the 2018 police chief exam.
Bridgeport Chief Armando Perez and acting personnel director David Dunn were charged with fraud and making false statements to the FBI.
According to federal prosecutors in New York, where the charges originated, the goal of the 2018 scheme was to make sure Perez, then the acting chief, would be selected for the position on a permanent basis.
The pair tried to "deceive the city by secretly rigging the supposedly independent search process for a new Bridgeport Police Department chief to ensure that Perez was ranked as one of the top three candidates and could therefore be awarded a five-year contract to serve as the BPD chief," the criminal complaint said.
Dunn allegedly stole the exam questions and emailed them to Perez. Perez then allegedly enlisted two officers to secretly draft his answers.
The mayor ultimately offered the job to Perez, who was given a 5-year contract and a payout of more than $300,000 for accrued leave.
"Bridgeport's citizens and police officers deserve leaders with integrity who are committed to enforcing, not breaking, the law," acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
Perez, 64, of Trumbull, and Dunn, 72, of Stratford, are each charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Perez is also charged with two counts of false statements to federal investigators, and Dunn is charged with one count of false statements to federal investigators, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Perez will be released on $150,000 bond following a brief federal court appearance Thursday afternoon. He will have to surrender his passport and his travel will be restricted to Connecticut.
He was ordered to have no contact with the victim or witnesses and no access to firearms.
The City of Bridgeport released the following statement:
"Bridgeport officials learned this morning that Acting Civil Service Director, David Dunn and Chief Armando Perez willfully presented themselves to the U.S. Attorneys office where they were charged with misrepresentation in relation to the 2018 Chief's Exam. Since learning this information, but without details of the charges being brought forth, the administration has been reviewing these key positions to prepare to make any immediate and appropriate changes in personnel.
The City Attorneys Office is now in receipt of the U.S. Attorneys release and reviewing the allegations in order for the administration to react and respond effectively. City officials will provide more information as soon as possible."