A Paterson police sergeant was sentenced to almost three years in federal prison on Monday.
Michael Cheff, 51, of Oakland, was convicted by a jury in May following a five-day trial. He was found guilty of conspiracy to deprive persons of civil rights and falsification of a police report.
Cheff receuved a 33-month sentence.
Cheff was the supervisor of convicted police officers Eudy Ramos, Daniel Pent, Jonathan Bustios, Matthew Torres, and Frank Toledo.
On Nov. 14, 2017, Cheff along with Bustios, Ramos, and Torres stole cash from an apartment. In that incident, Cheff stole money from a safe in an apartment, approved a police report that omitted the theft of the funds, and shared a portion of the stolen proceeds with two now-convicted police officers.
Authorities said $2,700 was missing from the safe. Bustios and Toledo exchanged text messages that Cheff “grabbed the cash.”
“It’s a sad day when we have to announce the sentencing of a law enforcement official who has violated his oath, as we do today,” U.S. attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. “This defendant preyed on the public he had sworn to protect and violated the rights of citizens in the process, all to line his pockets and those of the officers he was supposed to be supervising.”
Cheff was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.
“Whether local, state, or federal, those of us who carry a badge have to prove ourselves worthy every single day,” FBI special agent in charge James Dennehy, Newark Division, said. “This defendant not only betrayed his badge and the public who entrusted him with it, he led his subordinates down a path of self-destruction and left his fellow officers to deal with the fallout.”
Cheff had worked for the Paterson police force for 24 years.