The scandal in the NYPD's gun licensing bureau is widening. Three ex-cops and a former prosecutor are accused of trading gun permits for bribes. Prosecutors say at least 100 gun licenses were improperly issued -- some to convicted criminals - and hundreds more permits appear "suspicious." NY1's Gene Apodaca filed the followng report.

Massive corruption. That's what federal prosecutors say was happening at the NYPD's gun licensing division. 

Three retired officers and a former prosecutor were charged Tuesday with taking part in a scheme to expedite hard-to-obtain city gun permits in return for bribes.

"They allegedly got more audacious as time went on," said acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim.

Former Lieutenant Paul Dean, once the number two officer in the division, and former officer Robert Espinel allegedly accepted food, alcohol, parties, strippers and even prostuitutes in return for expediting permits. 

Former Brooklyn prosecutor John Chambers, who ran a licensing-expediting business, allegedly handed out tickets to Broadway and sporting events, and an $8,000 watch. He, too, was arrested Tuesday along with the owner of a gun shop in Queens, officer-turned-expediter Gaetano Valestro.

Prosecutors also disclosed that two other former officers in the licensing division previously pleaded guility and are cooperating. Both allegedly accepted lavish trips to places like Mexico and Hawaii.

Court papers allege that after taking bribes on the inside, Dean and Espinal decided to be corrupt expediters themselves.

"I'm done watching people make money off of my back," Dean allegedly said.

"They saw that expediters were making more money than they were, sometimes over $10,000 for each license," Kim said.

The NYPD has suspended 100 licenses linked to the scheme. Another 348 appear suspicious and are being reviewed. 

Prosecutors say because of bribes, people with criminal records wrongly ended up with licenses, one of them a man accused of domestic violence four times.

"Including one in which he allegedly threatened to kill someone," Kim said.

The NYPD said it's cleaned house in the division.

"We increased supervision," said Police Commissioner James O'Neill. "All personnel at the command level of the division were replaced, inlcuding the commmanding officer, the exec and civilian director."

This is the second round of arrests in this scandal. Lawyers for Dean and Espinal said their clients are not guilty. Attorneys for the others could not be reached.