A Connecticut police chief resigned Thursday after he and the acting personnel director of the city of Bridgeport were federally charged with scheming to rig the hiring process for the city's top cop and then lying to FBI agents about it, according to a federal complaint.
Bridgeport Police Chief Armando “A.J.” Perez, 64, along with David Dunn, 71, were each charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to investigators, said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Authorities allege Perez, a 32-year veteran of the Bridgeport Police Department, and Dunn rigged the police chief examination in 2018 to ensure Perez would be selected for the job, thereby corrupting what was intended to be an impartial process.
“As alleged, Chief Perez and Personnel Director Dunn schemed to rig the purportedly impartial and objective search for a permanent police chief to ensure the position was awarded to Perez, and then repeatedly lied to federal agents in order to conceal their conduct,” a statement from Strauss said.
The 400-member police department has an annual budget of more than $100 million, authorities said.
Dunn is accused of giving Perez exam questions in advance, having two police officers complete his written exam, and skewing the scoring to ensure Perez was one of the top three job candidates.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge David Sundberg said the arrests were a "stark reminder that the betrayal of public trust and community members by a public servant is not only unethical but often illegal."
Struss said the city's residents and police officers deserve "leaders with integrity who are committed to enforcing, not breaking, the law."
Messages to Perez's lawyer, Robert Frost were not returned. Dunn's attorney, Frederick Paoletti declined to comment to Fox News. In an email to Fox News, the city said Perez resigned Thursday afternoon and that Acting Assistant Chief Rebeca Garcia was sworn in as acting police chief.
Mayor Joe Ganim addressed Thursday's news in a video statement to residents.
"We all need to know that public safety and leadership at the top will remain committed to making this and every way that we can, the safest city that we can," he said.
Perez and Dunn were each granted $150,000 bond, the Connecticut Post reported.