A police officer accused in a ticket-fixing scandal is now facing more serious charges after the Bronx district attorney accused him and his wife of allegedly conspiring to hire a hit man to murder a witness in a criminal case against him. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
While police officer Jose Ramos was sitting in a Rikers Island jail cell, charged with dealing drugs and robbing drug dealers, the Bronx District Attorney alleges he was busy plotting another crime: to have a witness against him murdered.
"Ramos once said, 'Without him, there's no case,'" said Assistant District Attorney Omer Wiczyk. "And so, they began conspiring to have that witness killed. They did not want to be involved in it themselves and so they reached out to find people that could do it for them. They were willing to pay a fee but it was crucial to them that they not to be personally involved in the murder."
"They" are Ramos and his wife, Wanda Abreu. Prosecutors allege that in recorded conversations from Rikers, the veteran cop and his wife were caught talking about using his police pension to pay for the hit.
"However, at the last possible moment, Ms. Abreu became aware that she was being recorded and investigated," Wiczyk said. "Consequently, and only for that reason, (she) refused to hand over the money for the murder."
Ramos and Abreu both pleaded not guilty Thursday.
"We are totally blindsided by this," said Dawn Florio, Jose Ramos's attorney. "We had no idea what this was about and we are in just total shock that these charges have been brought forth. My client is absolutely saying he has no involvement in this."
While Ramos was being investigated for alleged ties to drug dealers, prosecutors stumbled onto the ticket-fixing scandal in the Bronx. 16 officers are charged with making tickets disappear for friends, family and VIP's.
NY1 has spoken with Ramos since his initial arrest in October. He said he's not guilty of any wrongdoing.
His lawyer said they plan to fight and prove the Bronx DA wrong about all of the charges Ramos has been hit with.