PATERSON — Convicted in May of conspiracy to deprive victims of their civil rights and falsifying police reports, a former city police sergeant will spend nearly the next three years in prison after being sentenced Monday.

The 33-month sentence handed down to Michael Cheff, 51, of Oakland, far from the 30 total years he could have faced, nevertheless made him the sixth member of the Paterson police force ordered to do time as the result of an investigation covering incidents dating back to 2016, and culminating with Cheff's arrest in early 2020.

A release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark said Cheff will also be subject to three years of supervised release following his prison term.

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The Associated Press reported that five of Cheff's subordinates — Jonathan Bustios, Daniel Pent, Eudy Ramos, Frank Toledo, and Matthew Torres — testified against him as part of their plea deals.

All five of those officers were sentenced last week, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The crux of the investigation appeared to be the November 2017 arrest of a victim in Paterson, subsequent to which Bustios, Ramos, and Torres were joined by Cheff at the individual's apartment, where a safe containing about $2,700 was removed.

Cheff entered just over $300 into evidence at the time, and was accused of splitting the rest of the cash among the involved officers.

Potential fines against Cheff were not announced Monday; previous information from the U.S. Attorney's Office indicated he could have been required to pay up to $250,000 for each of the two counts charged against him.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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