Two New York City cops have been fired after being caught accepting thousands of dollars to drive “high-end hookers” to and from hotel contacts in an elaborate sting involving fellow cops masquerading as prostitutes, NYPD officials said.
Agents Thomas Diorio and Michael Sardone drove the undercover escorts through the city between April 9 and May 14 to meet “johns” at hotels, according to internal disciplinary records.
The pair reportedly accepted a total of $8,000, $4,000 for the first round trip and $2,000 each for the next two.
Diorio, a 21-year veteran of the department, was fired on August 21, while Sardone, who joined the police force in 2011, retired during the investigation.
It is unclear whether they will face criminal charges.
The New York City Police Pension Fund did not immediately respond to questions from DailyMail.com about their retirement status.
Agent Michael Sardone filed for retirement in July when the NYPD investigated him for taking thousands of dollars in exchange for driving undercover cops masquerading as hookers
Sardone was a youth coordination officer who was supposed to be a role model for our youth
The rogue officers – who worked at the 106th Queens Police Department, which serves the Ozone Park, Lindenwood and Howard Beach neighborhoods – were entangled in an “extensive integrity test,” a covert operation in which fellow officers presented themselves as prostitutes and customers.
The sting began in February as part of an “unrelated” investigation into Sardone, according to a resignation order signed by NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea in August. It is not clear what that investigation was about.
Sardone texted and spoke to an undercover cop posing as a prostitute, who asked if he was interested in replacing her regular driver, who was ill, according to disciplinary records.
On April 6, Sardone told her he knew another officer who could escort them to and from their encounters.
“We’re not street girls, you know. We’re like high-end,’ assured the undercover agent Diorio.
He and Sardone then discussed logistics and payment over the phone and in a face-to-face meeting with an undercover agent at a Starbucks, which was captured on video.
The undercover cop said she was going to meet a high-end client for an hour and a half.
On April 9, officers met three female undercover officers in the parking lot of a Queens restaurant and took them to a Manhattan hotel, records show.
Sardone and fellow officer Thomas Diorio were working at the 106th police station in Queens, above, when they started driving the undercover sex workers around in April this year.
In one encounter, the officers even went to a hotel room in Queens to help crush an argument between the undercover prostitutes and a “customer” who wouldn’t pay.
Upon arrival, a male undercover officer, posing as the client, approached [Diorio] and Sardone outside the vehicle and tipped each of them a hundred dollars,” police said.
When they were ready to be picked up, [an undercover officer] texted Sardone and they were all taken back to the restaurant parking lot, where the undercover cop handed over the remaining $2,000 to Sardone and [Diorio].’
The agents were paid $2,000 for another trip to Manhattan on April 23.
The undercover cops tested their acting skills on May 14 after Diorio and Sardone drove two undercover “prostitutes” to a hotel in Queens.
“She explained to them that this was a new client and asked them to be willing to come to the room, which they agreed to,” the police said.
One of the undercover cops texted Sardone, urging him and Diorio to come upstairs, where the women “pretend” to argue with a “John,” another cop posing as a customer, over payment.
“Can we sort this out so we can get out of here? I mean, it’s been talked about before, so let’s just pay them their money,” Diorio said during the videotaped encounter, according to police.
The fake John handed Diorio $1,000 and told him 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 is not clear whether he or Officer Sardone will face criminal charges
One of the female officers then said she was taking back her “coke” and took several bags of white powder from the fake customer.
The next day, Sardone told her they were still interested in the job, but preferred that no narcotics were brought into the vehicle in case they were apprehended,” police said.
On the latest trip, the pair even confronted an undercover cop posing as a customer who wouldn’t pay for the services, with Diorio asking him, “Can we sort this out so we can get out of here?”
Diorio made “deliberately misleading” statements after the stabbing, all of which were filmed, police said.
He repeatedly answered “I don’t remember” to questions from researchers.
Diorio was found guilty of promoting and profiting from prostitution on three separate occasions and of failing to fulfill his duties as a police officer.
He had no criminal record before agreeing to escort the fake prostitutes to work.
In 2018 and 2019 it was even rated ‘exceeds expectations’ and in 2020 it was rated ‘exceptional’. He had also been awarded two medals for outstanding police service and one for meritorious police service.
Before his retirement, Sardone was a youth coordination officer, “supporting our youth and acting as role models,” according to a tweet from his neighborhood last year.