In a strange twist of fate, federal prosecutors have now indicted suspended Falls police Officer Ryan Warme on the same public corruption charge as former Mayor Vince Anello.

In a superseding indictment handed up last week by a federal grand jury, Warme has now been charged with an additional count of deprivation of honest services. The charge is based on the premise that public officials defraud taxpayers when they are paid their salaries while they are violating laws or breaking rules and regulations.

“Essentially what we’re charging is that he stole his salary because he was breaking all of these (police) department rules and regulations,” a law enforcement source told the Gazette.

In Anello’s case, prosecutors have argued he deprived taxpayers of “their expectation of honest services” by failing to disclose he had received three interest free loans from developer Joseph Anderson while at the same time proposing to the City Council a no bid lease for Anderson to operate concessions on the East Pedestrian Mall.

The new indictment charges that Warme devised a scheme to defraud the police department, the city and the citizens of Niagara Falls of his “honest services” by “entering into relationships and engaging in illegal transactions with cocaine and crack cocaine dealers that created a conflict of interest between (Warme’s) sworn duties as a police officer and his need to ensure the availability of his own source of cocaine and crack cocaine.”

Specifically, the new indictment charges that Warme protected drug dealers he knew from being arrested.

Prosecutors also charge in the new indictment that Warme laundered his police pay through a bank in Texas so that he could purchase drugs. Warme is accused of making wire transfers from a local bank to the Texas bank and then withdrawing money from the out-of-state financial institution “to buy cocaine and crack cocaine from the (drug dealers) the defendant protected and insulated from arrest.”

The superseding indictment also charges that Warme violated police department rules and regulations by “obtaining, possessing, using and being under the influence of cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin both while on and off duty” and with “engaging in sexual activity (while on duty)” and “engaging in unlawful sexual conduct ... while armed with his NFPD firearm.”

Warme has pleaded not guilty to the charges in the new indictment, which also includes earlier charges of violating the civil rights of three women, using his position as a police officer to extort sexual favors from a Falls prostitute, conspiring to distribute both powder and crack cocaine, various firearms offenses and failing to arrest a known felon in possession of a weapon.

Two of the civil rights charges carry maximum terms of up to life in prison, while the third carries a maximum term of up to a year in jail. The extortion count carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and each of the two narcotics conspiracy counts carry mandatory minimum sentences of five years and maximum sentences of 40 years in prison.

Warme has been jailed since his arrest on Dec. 2.

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