EXCLU: Driver Who Sicced NYPD on Lawyer Adam White For ‘Criminal Mischief’ on Defaced Plate is Cop-Adjacent
He’s got friends in high places — especially the NYPD.
The driver who called police on attorney Adam White after he fixed the obscured license plate on a Chevy SUV in November is cozy with law enforcement, Streetsblog has learned.
Sholem Klein, whose name only became public when White filed a notice of claim against him for wrongful arrest on Thursday night, is the head of the Rockaway Nassau Safety Patrol. The 44-year-old lives in Nassau County and patrols parts of eastern Queens and southwestern Long Island in a black SUV equipped with flashing lights and tinted windows as the leader of a local Shomrim group — a controversial volunteer patrol group that works in tandem with police.
Klein’s background is central to White’s case because of the circumstances of the lawyer’s arrest.
Here’s what happened. On Nov. 11 at about 9:45 am, Klein spotted White removing a piece of plastic on the SUV that was obscuring the car’s license plate in what White believed was an intentional manner to avoid speed or red light cameras. Klein then called 911, prompting six officers from the nearby 78th Precinct to show up within minutes, handcuff White, and charge him with criminal mischief — a charge that accused White of damaging someone else’s property. (But the Brooklyn DA ended up dropping the case, saying there was “Insufficient evidence to prosecute due to being unable to prove that def intended to damage CWs license plate.”) Klein’s SUV has racked up six camera-issued speeding tickets and 14 camera-issued bus lane violations between 2019 and that fateful day in November; the car has been nabbed for two red-light tickets since.
Klein falsely told cops when they arrived that White was “breaking his license plate,” according to the notice of claim filed with the city Comptroller by attorney Gideon Oliver.
Klein had also falsely told the cops that White caused the same damage to his plate weeks before, the claim says.
“The information was so obviously untrue that the NYPD members knew or should have known it was false,” the claim says.
It’s unclear if the responding cops — Sgt. Leighton Barrett; Police Officer Adam Phillips; Police Officer Palakpreet Kaur; Police Officer Ikram Ullah; Police Officer Carlos Rebolledocortes; and Police Officer Ahmed Ali — knew Klein. According to the notice of claim, Klein told Ali that he volunteered with the 101st Precinct as a member of the Shomrim. He also referred to the sergeant when he arrived at the scene as “boss,” which is typically a phrase used by members of the NYPD when greeting their superiors, the claim says.
But what is clear is that Klein has NYPD cops on speed dial.
According to social media accounts, Klein works closely with the 100th and 101st Precincts, as well as the Nassau County PD. They have fun together, too, playing in a first responder’s softball game, according to pictures of Klein that Streetsblog saw before he locked his social media account, as well as public police accounts.
A quick Google search for the the Rockaway Nassau Safety Patrol (Rockaway Shomrim) pulls up the same Chevy SUV with the same license plate, JGG-6230 — albeit partially obscured — that Klein was driving that day in November.
But it’s not just cops in Queens with whom Klein is friendly. Just months prior to White’s arrest, Klein was schmoozing and smiling for photos with several members of New York’s Finest, including the Commanding Officer of the NYPD’s Brooklyn South patrol unit, Assistant Chief Michael Kemper, which oversees the 78th Precinct.
Was honored to attend the Annual Brooklyn South Safety Patrol @bpshomrim BBQ — in recognition of the hard work, courage & sacrifices exhibited by their dedicated members. @FlatbushShomrim @ShomrimCH pic.twitter.com/z0AiVzBGod
— NYPD Brooklyn South (@NYPDBklynSouth) August 17, 2022
And it’s not the first time Klein has tried to manipulate the legal system. In 2004, Klein, along with seven others, was indicted on charges of corporate fraud, arson, insurance fraud, and bribery, according to the Department of Justice and reports from the time.
Klein and seven others were eventually convicted for defrauding investors into believing that their company, Allou Healthcare, was doing better than it actually was. The eight men planned to burn down their warehouse carrying all their company’s products in order to claim insurance money. And then according to the court documents, Klein and the others also tried to bribe a New York City fire marshal with $100,000 to change the official report stating that the fire was an accident, not arson.
Klein was sentenced to four years probation. He did not serve any jail time, according to court records.
White has already sued the NYPD for stonewalling key evidence in his case against the driver and the NYPD, amNY reported. He told Streetsblog on Thursday night that the incident with Klein and the six cops was “very concerning and very troubling.”
Messages left for Klein were not immediately returned.