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City and federal workers among 18 charged in major white-collar ghost guns investigation: Manhattan DA

Employees for the city’s homeless services agency, the U.S. Postal Service, NYCHA, the MTA and a former NYPD school safety agent were among 18 indicted in Manhattan on Thursday as part of a major white-collar investigation involving ghost guns.

The public servants in positions across the local, state and federal levels were expected to appear in Manhattan Supreme Court on a variety of different charges laid out in four indictments, including allegations they manufactured 3D ghost guns, conspired to defraud New York’s pandemic unemployment assistant program and burglary. Some of those accused, whose names were not immediately released, allegedly abused their positions in the course of the conspiracies.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the cases were born out of a standard street crime investigation that expanded into a financial fraud probe. He said the first two indictments alleged a set of ghost gun conspiracies involving the manufacturing and sale of homemade ghost guns. The other two accuse several of scamming the pandemic program and a burglary.

“Both of the conspiracies really underscore how the public can get their hands on these really dangerous goods — creating firearms from the comfort of one’s home,” Bragg said at a press conference. “With just a few clicks on popular websites like eBay or Amazon, the public can buy printing machines and gun parts for just a few hundred dollars.”

Cliffie Thompson

Cliffie Thompson


Cliffie Thompson

Two of the suspects are accused of submitting 170 fraudulent applications to the state Department of Labor pandemic program netting $1.2 million, Bragg said. Five charged were DHS employees who allegedly stole private information from unsuspecting shelter residents, according to the prosecutor. To make sure they got the cash from the program, the suspects allegedly enlisted a USPS letter carrier and applied for checks to be sent to addresses along his mail route.

Bragg said the burglary charges stemmed from a disagreement among the accused over how to split illicit profits in the benefits scheme, leading to the robbery of a since-fired NYPD school safety agent’s apartment.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg is pictured on April 4, 2023, in Manhattan.
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg (Barry Williams for New York Daily News)

Sources said the arrests followed a more than yearlong investigation stemming from the indictment of East Village man Cliffie Thompson, who’s accused of running a 3D-printing “ghost gun factory” out of his mother’s NYCHA apartment.

Cops discovered 3D printers, plastic firearm components, several rounds of ammunition, a ledger with the names of potential clients and more than two dozen credit cards with fake names during a January 2023 raid of Thompson’s mother’s apartment in NYCHA’s Lillian Wald Houses off the FDR Drive.

Thompson pleaded guilty to weapons charges on Jan. 8 and received a prison term of five years in addition to three years post-release supervision.


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