Neil Rockind in the Detroit News:
Ex-West Bloomfield cop, ex-convict sentenced in ticket-fixing scandal
- By Mike Martindale
- The Detroit News
Pontiac — A former West Bloomfield Township police officer and an ex-convict were both sentenced Tuesday to county jail and probation for their roles in a traffic ticket-fixing scandal.
Ex-Officer Jeffrey Pindzia, 38, of Canton Township and Rudi Gammo, 31, of Franklin appeared separately before Oakland Circuit Judge Leo Bowman in plea agreements on charges of misconduct in office involving an incident in which Pindzia was to be paid $2,500 by a West Bloomfield Township resident for Pindzia to get rid of some tickets.
“You often hear citizens allude to how unfair the (judicial) system is … and when it gets to an excess, you can pay to get out of things, illegally,” said Bowman, before sentencing Pindzia. “It’s usually idle banter. But not in this case.”
Saying that the case was the type that “undermines the administration of justice,” Bowman sentenced Pindzia to two years probation with 60 days to be immediately served in the Oakland County Jail, minus one day jail credit. He was also assessed more than $2,000 in fines and court costs.
The incident, which happened between Nov. 21, 2010, and Dec. 15, 2010, concerned a man Pindzia stopped as a suspect in a hit-and-run accident in November. When stopped, Pindzia ticketed the man for a license infraction and tinted windows.
According to Gammo’s attorney, Neil Rockind, Gammo was acquainted with Pindzia, who “instigated” the arrangement.
Gammo was a “middleman” in the scheme and charged with conspiracy to aid the offense. The charges were felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and $20,000 fines.
But Gammo was sentenced to five years probation with one year in the county jail and about $2,300 in court fines and costs. Because Gammo has past convictions, including recent parole for an assault conviction when the incident occurred, he could have been looking at a prison sentence of any term up to life.
Gammo had also been initially charged with being a habitual offender because of his past convictions but that charge was dismissed because of his cooperation in the case. Gammo was released from prison in May 2010 after serving four years on a 10-year prison sentence for a 2006 assault conviction.
Pindzia, a 17-year veteran, resigned from the department on April 1 shortly after he was arraigned on charges resulting from an investigation by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.