Ex-San Francisco Cop Paul Makaveckas Charged With Bribery

Categories: Law & Order
Let's Make a Deal!
San Franciscans used to being run off the road by mad-driving cabbies now have a possible explanation.

Today retired San Francisco cop Paul Makaveckas, 65, and his alleged accomplice William Hancock, 70, were charged with orchestrating a scheme whereby they handed out passing grades on taxi permit tests in exchange for bribes.

According to data from the San Francisco Employee Retirement System, Makaveckas earns a pension of $101,650 per year.

Paul Makaveckas
We've asked officials at the SFPD and at the City Attorney's office whether Makaveckas would still receive a pension if convicted of using his position to extract bribes. We'll fill you in when we hear back.

Last June, SF Weekly's Ashley Harrel wrote about Makaveckas' 36-year SFPD career -- a tenure that seemed to sometimes tread on the wrong side of the thin blue line.

In 1991, fellow narcotics officer Alfred De La Cerda filed a $5 million lawsuit against the San Francisco Police Department, claiming that other officers tipped off drug dealers about raids, accepted payoffs for protection, and, in some cases, dealt drugs themselves. The suit stated that Makaveckas had a close relationship with Dennis Chan Lai, a "major convicted cocaine dealer," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. At Lai's drug trial, Makaveckas even appeared as a character witness, court records show.

According to the District Attorney's office, Makaveckas spent his final two years as a cop systematically shaking down aspiring cabbies:

William Hancock
Over the course of two years ending March 2009, Makaveckas accepted bribes from taxi cab driver applicants in exchange for giving them a passing grade on a written examination that was required for a taxi driving permit. During this period of time Makaveckas was a San Francisco Police Officer who was in charge of administering and grading the written examination. It is alleged that Hancock assisted Makaveckas by being the middle man in the transactions. Hancock is also alleged to have been the operator of a taxi cab driving school. The taxi driver applicants allegedly would pay Hancock the bribe money which he would then turn over to Makaveckas. It is alleged that Makaveckas ensured that those who paid the bribe money would not be failed on the written test.

Makaveckas pleaded not guilty to all charges, posted $160,000 bail, and was released from custody. He's scheduled to appear in court Dec. 2.

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