Connecticut Police Chief Arrested by FBI Charged with Rigging Hiring Process
Bridgeport Police Department Chief Armando Perez, 64, was arrested on September 10 by the FBI on one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of false statement to federal investigators, according to the Justice Department.
Perez allegedly conspired with former personnel head David Dunn, 72, to ensure Perez was chosen for the permanent job of the Bridgeport Police Chief. Dunn was arrested on September 10 by the FBI also. Perez resigned as police chief on the day of his arrest. Dunn resigned on the following day. Dunn is charged with one count of making false statements to federal investigators, wire fraud and conspiracy.
NBC Connecticut reports that the charges allege Perez and Dunn arranged a criminal scheme to rig the city’s search for a new Bridgeport Police Department chief in 2018. During the course of this scheme, Perez– who was serving as the acting police chief at the time – conspired with Dunn, who was at that time the Bridgeport city’s acting personnel director.
The two men allegedly secretly rigged the independent search process for a new 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 chief.
Dunn, in his role as the personnel director oversaw the police chief examination process, and retained an outside consultant to assist with developing and carrying out the exam. Dunn and Perez allegedly manipulated that examination process in multiple ways.
Dunn stole confidential examination questions and related information developed by the outside consultants and provided those materials to Perez, including by email, according to prosecutors. Dunn instructed the consultant to tailor the examination scoring criteria to favor Perez, according to charging documents.
Arrest affidavits say Perez enlisted two Bridgeport police officers to secretly draft and write Perez’s written exam.
As a result of the scheme, the city of Bridgeport was deceived into ranking Perez among the top three candidates, which rendered him eligible for the permanent police chief position. The mayor ultimately offered the position to Perez that included a five-year contract, the terms of which included a payout of more than $300,000 to Perez for accrued leave.
Perez and Dunn were each voluntarily interviewed in connection with the FBI’s investigation. In an attempt to conceal their conduct during those interviews they both lied to FBI agents about facts material to the criminal investigation, federal prosecutors say. Perez allegedly provided false and misleading information about the assistance Dunn and others had provided him in connection with the examination process, including his alleged requests to a Bridgeport officer to sneak into headquarters to retrieve stolen confidential information provided by Dunn.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge David Sundberg says:
“Today’s arrest of city officials including a high ranking, long-time law enforcement officer is a stark reminder that the betrayal of public trust and community members by a public servant is not only unethical but often illegal. We recognize these arrests are not a reflection on the Bridgeport Police Department as a whole, but it is our responsibility to root out injustice and corruption by any and all elected and appointed officials entrusted to protect and serve with honor. We at the FBI will continue to aggressively pursue all those engaged in matters of public corruption throughout Connecticut.”