Two New York City officers are off the force after they were caught accepting thousands of dollars to drive ‘high-end hookers’ to and from hotel liaisons in an elaborate sting where fellow cops posed as prostitutes, NYPD officials said.
Officers Thomas Diorio and Michael Sardone drove the undercover escorts around the city to meet ‘johns’ at hotels between April 9 and May 14, according to internal disciplinary records.
The pair allegedly accepted $8,000 in total, $4,000 for the first round trip and $2,000 each for the next two.
Diorio, a 21-year department veteran, was fired on August 21, while Sardone, who joined the force in 2011, retired amid the investigation.
It is unclear if they will face criminal charges.
The New York City Police Pension Fund did not immediately respond to questions from DailyMail.com about their pension status.
Officer Michael Sardone filed for retirement in July as the NYPD investigated him for taking thousands of dollars in exchange for driving around undercover cops posing as hookers
Sardone was a youth coordination officer supposed to ‘act as a role model to our young people’
The rogue cops – who worked at the 106th precinct in Queens, which serves the neighborhoods of Ozone Park, Lindenwood and Howard Beach – were snared by an ‘extended integrity test,’ a sting operation that featured fellow officers posting as prostitutes and clients.
The sting began in February as part of an ‘unrelated’ investigation into Sardone, according to an order of dismissal signed by NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea in August. It’s not clear what that investigation was about.
Sardone texted and spoke with an undercover officer posing as a prostitute, who asked if he was interested in replacing her regular driver, who was sick, according to disciplinary records.
On April 6, Sardone told her that he knew another officer who could help escort them to and from their encounters.
‘We’re not street girls, you know. We’re like high-end,’ the undercover officer assured Diorio.
He and Sardone then discussed logistics and payment over the phone and during an in-person meeting with an undercover officer at a Starbucks, which was captured on video.
The undercover officer said she’d be meeting a high-end client for an hour-and-a-half.
On April 9, the officers met three female undercover cops at the parking lot of a diner in Queens and drove them to a Manhattan hotel, records show.
Sardone and fellow officer Thomas Diorio worked at the 106th precinct in Queens, above, when they began driving the undercover sex workers around in April of this year
In one encounter, the officers even went up to a Queens hotel room to help squash an argument between the undercover prostitutes and a ‘client’ who didn’t want to pay
‘Upon arrival, a male undercover officer, posing as the client, approached [Diorio] and Sardone outside the vehicle and gave each of them a one hundred dollar tip,’ police said.
‘When they were ready for pickup, [an undercover officer] texted Sardone, and they were all driven back to the diner parking lot, where the undercover officer handed the remaining two thousands dollars to Sardone and [Diorio].’
The officers were paid $2,000 for another trip to Manhattan on April 23.
The undercover officers tested out their acting chops on May 14 after Diorio and Sardone drove two undercover ‘prostitutes’ to a Queens hotel.
‘She explained to them that this was a new client and asked them to be prepared to come up to the room, which they agreed to do,’ police said.
One of the undercover officers texted Sardone and urged him and Diorio to come upstairs, where the women ‘pretended’ to argue with a ‘john,’ another officer posing as a client, about payment.
‘Can we square this up so we can get out of here? I mean it was talked about before so let’s just pay them their money,’ Diorio said during the filmed encounter, according to police.
The phony john handed Diorio $1,000 and told him that he ‘looks like a tough guy.’
Diorio was found guilty of misconduct and making false statements in an internal trial. He was fired in August, and it’s not clear whether he nor officer Sardone will face criminal charges
One of the female officers then said she was taking back her ‘coke,’ and grabbed multiple baggies of white powder from the fake client.
The next day, Sardone told her that they were still interested in the job, but they ‘preferred for there not to be any narcotics brought into the vehicle in case they were pulled over,’ police said.
During the last trip, the pair even confronted an undercover cop who posed as a client who didn’t want to pay for the services, with Diorio asking him: ‘Can we square this up so we can get out of here?’
Diorio made ‘deliberately misleading’ statements after the stings, which were all filmed, police said.
He repeatedly answered, ‘I don’t remember,’ to questions from investigators.
Diorio was found guilty of advancing and profiting from prostitution on three separate occasions and of failing to perform his duty as a police officer.
He had no disciplinary record before agreeing to escort the fake prostitutes to their jobs.
In fact, he received ratings of ‘exceeds expectations’ in 2018 and 2019 and a rating of ‘exceptional’ in 2020. He had also been awarded two medals for excellent police duty and one for meritorious police duty.
Before his retirement, Sardone was a youth coordination officer, who ‘provide support and act as a role models to our young people,’ according to a tweet from his precinct last year.