(NEW YORK) -- A Brooklyn police sergeant was charged Thursday with extorting $2,500 from undercover FBI agents posing as customers at a Chinese
nightclub known for prostitution in Queens.
Jay Zhao, 32, a patrol supervisor in the 78th Precinct, was released on $150,000 bond following his arraignment in Brooklyn federal court.
Calls to his attorney were not returned.
Police officials confirmed that Zhao had been arrested and suspended from the force, but they declined to comment further.
Authorities said Zhao's arrest stemmed from an FBI and Internal Affairs Bureau investigation into allegations that he and other off-duty officers were collecting $5,000 a month in protection money from the club.
According to court papers, FBI agents posing as businessmen from Chicago first met Zhao at the club in late 1998. One asked if they could hire him as private security for their employer.
The agent" explained to Zhao that his employer would be entertaining clients in New York" and "wanted to avoid being arrested if they were to obtain prostitutes and gamble after conducting business, "the papers said.
Prosecutors allege that the off-duty sergeant took the job for $1,000 a day. In exchange, he allegedly chaperoned the undercovers and their "boss" while they openly mixed with prostitutes, gamblers, and drug dealers at the club and other spots over two days last April.
(iSyndicate; The Record; Nov. 10, 2000). Terms and Conditions: Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.