Former San Francisco Police Officer Found Guilty of Two Counts of Bribery
July 20, 2015
Maxwell Szabo, (415) 553-9089
Alex Bastian, (415) 553-1931
Former San Francisco police officer found guilty of two counts of bribery
Today, District Attorney George Gascón announced that former San Francisco Police Department Officer Paul Makaveckas, age 69 of Fremont, was found guilty of two counts of bribery.
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, District Attorney George Gascón announced that former San Francisco Police Department Officer Paul Makaveckas, age 69 of Fremont, was found guilty of two felony counts of bribery. Makaveckas faces 5 years in state prison in connection with the two convictions.
“This individual abused his position of power.” said District Attorney George Gascón. “He was sworn to serve the public, instead he chose to serve himself.”
Evidence presented at trial showed that Paul Makaveckas, a 36-year veteran of the SFPD, accepted bribes while he was assigned to the Taxi Detail where he had worked for more than 20 years. Makaveckas was the police officer in charge of selecting, administering, and grading the SFPD taxi cab exam, which occurred on Thursdays at the Hall of Justice. A taxi cab driver applicant needed to pass that exam in order to obtain a permit to drive a taxi cab in the City and County of San Francisco.
While he worked in the Taxi Detail, Makaveckas was personal friends with the owner of Flag-A-Cab taxi school, William Hancock. The evidence in the trial showed that Hancock accepted $100 bribes from taxi cab driver applicants who sought a guarantee that they would pass the SFPD taxi cab exam. Hancock would meet with the prospective taxi cab drivers at the Hall of Justice during the lunch break of the SFPD taxi cab test on Thursdays, and would collect $100 from each prospective driver who wanted a guaranteed passing grade. Hancock would then give all of the money he had collected to Makaveckas, who was the police officer in charge of grading the exam.
During the FBI investigation into this case, Hancock wore a wire and recorded a conversation during which Hancock gave Makaveckas $500 in bribes. Makaveckas was found guilty by the jury of accepting bribes through William Hancock on that date, March 10, 2009. Makaveckas was also found guilty of accepting bribes from prospective taxi cab drivers through William Hancock during the two year period leading up to that recorded exchange. Testimony during the trial revealed that Makaveckas had accepted approximately $25,000 in bribes throughout that two year scheme.
On two additional bribery counts the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict, finding 11-1 for guilt. Makaveckas will be sentenced September 18, 2015. An investigation by the public corruption squad of the FBI provided the evidence for the prosecution. Assistant District Attorney Kelly S. Burke, who works in the Public Integrity division of the Special Prosecutions Unit, prosecuted the case.