BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — The former Bridgeport Police Chief and the acting personnel director for the city were both in court on Monday and pleaded guilty to federal charges.
For a federal case it’s moving at lightning speed—Less than a month after he was arrested by the FBI the former chief says he did it. He lied and cheated his way to the top.
Former Bridgeport Police Chief Armando J. “AJ” Perez resigned last month after being arrested and charged with fraud by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s report, Perez and the acting personnel director for the city of Bridgeport, David Dunn, were arrested after “defrauding the City by rigging the 2018 police chief examination, mandated by the City’s Charter, to ensure Perez would be selected for the position.”
Perez and Dunn were both also charged with making false statements to federal agents in the course of the investigation.
Dunn has also since resigned in disgrace.
Prosecutors say Perez rigged the exam to make sure he became chief. He worked with Dunn to steal exam questions and have two of his officers write the test for him.
Dunn pressured the panel to score Perez as a top candidate. Telling a consultant the mayor wanted Perez.
Perez addresses reporters on Monday, saying he apologized to the residents of Bridgeport for his actions: “I’m so sorry. I apologize. We’re going to move on. We’re going to make this city the best city in the state of Connecticut.”
Though he didn’t say exactly how he’s going to do that.
His attorney, Robert Frost added, “He accepted help during the process to achieve a lifetime goal of his and that broke the law. By pleading guilty here today I think quickly, straight forward, he’s indicated that he’s sorry for that.”
Frederick Paoletti, Dunn attorney told reporters, “Today, a very good, decent, respected man, David Dunn took the courageous step of unequivocally accepting responsibility for his mistakes and his conduct in this matter.”
In a statement Mayor Joe Ganim – who has denied knowing about the scheme – says “today’s pleas help bring closure to this matter and to what has been a very difficult year for the city.”
Both Dunn and Perez now face a max of 10 years in federal lockup and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.
Prosecutors today in court indicating they may only go for two years.
Perez and his attorney walked out of district court Monday after entering their guilty pleas straight to the building that houses FBI HQ in Bridgeport.
A possible sign, sources tell News 8, of more to come.
Both men are due back in court in January 2021.