December 8, 2008

Parking Tickets Expose BNE Investigator Misdeeds, Inspector General Finds

Parking Tickets Expose BNE Investigator Misdeeds, Inspector General Finds

A rogue state investigator who violated suspects’ Miranda rights, ingested the narcotic Fentanyl on duty and ran an unsafe undercover operation has no business in state government, the New York State Inspector General concluded in a report released today.

The 18-page expose reveals that Louis Crisafi, 49, abused his position in numerous ways, most egregiously by denying two suspects their rights to an attorney. Crisafi investigates illegal prescription drug distribution for the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement (BNE) in Manhattan.

Inspector General Joseph Fisch called Crisafi “openly unrepentant,” stating: “This employee is clearly unfit for a law enforcement position, having shamelessly broken the laws and rules he was hired and pledged to uphold.” Fisch forwarded his report to the New York County District Attorney’s Office for review.

The Crisafi investigation was sparked by a March 22, 2007, New York Times article on the abuse of government parking placards. The article mentioned a police placard in Battery Park City used illegally “for more than a year” on Crisafi’s yellow Corvette.

Crisafi, who earns $58,000 a year, has worked at BNE since 2002. Previously, he was a beverage control investigator for the State Liquor Authority.

The Inspector General’s report found that a systemic lack of oversight at BNE contributed to Crisafi’s misconduct. BNE investigators combat the illegal diversion of controlled substances, including forged prescriptions, and criminal behavior by medical professionals. Inadequate supervision by BNE Director James Giglio and Section Chief Michael Moffett, both based in Troy, N.Y., contributed to a “bizarre dynamic,” the report states, which allowed Crisafi to dominate the Manhattan office. His “arrogant and narcissistic personality” and bullying prompted a high staff turnover rate, the report states.

In addition, BNE failed to conduct a proper background check on two investigators and was unaware that Crisafi was forced to resign from a California police department for “out of bounds” behavior.

The Inspector General’s investigation also found that Crisafi:

• Carried a loaded weapon and drove a state car after sucking on an Actiq (Fentanyl) lollipop, which is a highly-addictive narcotic.

• Put undercover officers at risk in a highly-criticized undercover operation in which investigators monitored a drug sale they could not understand because they didn’t speak Spanish.

• Lied about having the required five years of experience for his job and could not verify having a GED.

• Abused two official parking placards and ran up $1,310 in parking fines on a state vehicle.

In response to recommendations made by the Inspector General, Commissioner Richard F. Daines stated that the Department of Health will initiate disciplinary action against Crisafi and a subordinate accused of falsifying a Miranda rights document as well as tighten controls over the Manhattan office, reexamine its hiring procedures, update parking placard policies and make sure that any outstanding parking fines are paid.