The Story Behind a Former Vice Detective and His Alleged Brothel Empire

Ludwig Paz is accused of running a syndicate of prostitution and gambling that spanned Brooklyn and Queens.

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

For years, the brothel empire that spanned Brooklyn and Queens was always one step ahead of the law. Last week, it was discovered why: The brothels were allegedly run by a retired police detective who had been repeatedly tipped off about planned raids by police on the force. This discovery revealed one of the worst corruption scandals to hit the New York Police Department in years.

The retired detective, Ludwig Paz, was arrested and accused of running a broad and complex syndicate of prostitution and gambling, reports The New York Times. His empire brought in millions of dollars. Two other officers were stripped of their guns and shields and put on administrative duty. The Times also reports that dozens of civilians have been arrested, and more are being sought.

Paz kept a clean record until he retired, only to change drastically and use his law-enforcement background to become the exact crime lord he was once supposed to stamp out. Police say that because of his familiarity with the tools of the trade and vice, he became an expert. His success at evading detection for years, writes The Times, underscores the enduring power of the “blue wall of silence,” which is when officers do not speak out about their colleagues’ misdeeds.

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