Former Owner of Three-Quarter Houses Pleads Guilty To Fraud for Unlawfully Removing Tenants from Homes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Former Owner of Three-Quarter Houses Pleads Guilty
To Fraud for Unlawfully Removing Tenants from Homes

Will Be Sentenced to up to Three Years in Prison; Forced Tenenets Out of Homes
During the Day, Locked Doors, Put Belongings on the Street, Broke Stoves

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that the former owner of a company that operated three-quarter houses in Brooklyn pleaded guilty to scheme to defraud and will be sentenced to up to three years in prison. The defendant used various tactics to evict residents without a court order, including putting their belongings on the street, removing their mattresses, preventing them from cooking by breaking stoves and locking the doors to the residences to prevent entry after forcing them out during the daytime.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant victimized the most vulnerable among us by treating them inhumanely – they were used to make him a profit and then literally thrown to the curb. His actions were unlawful and unconscionable, making the prison sentence he will receive appropriate. I remain committed to protecting everyone in Brooklyn from fraud and illegal evictions such as these.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Yury Baumblit, 67, of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. He pleaded guilty yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to first-degree scheme to defraud in exchange for a promised sentence of one and a half to three years in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for March 7, 2018. The sentence will run concurrently with a sentence in a separate case that’s being handled by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Baumblit operated Back on Track Inc., a company that rented out three-quarter houses (also known as transitional houses or sober houses). Most tenants in his houses received shelter allowance from the New York City Human Resources Administration and others paid the landlord in cash.

Between April 2014 and March 16, 2016, the defendant unlawfully evicted at least 10 tenants who occupied rooms for over 30 days – even though landlords cannot evict a tenant who occupies a room or a bed for 30 consecutive days without a court order. That constituted an ongoing scheme to defraud these tenants of their property. All the tenants were directed by Baumblit to attend a substance abuse program, even when they did not have a substance abuse problem.

One victim moved to 456 Glenmore Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn in May 2014 and resided there for over a year. During that period, Baumblit or his employee locked the residence during the day, according to the investigation. In addition, the victim observed the defendant or his employees removing mattresses belonging to tenants and destroying the stove so tenants could not cook.

Another tenant in the residence, who paid Baumblit in cash from his disability payments, was evicted after six months in the home when the defendant removed his belongings and placed another tenant in his bed. The victim sued in Tenant-Landlord Court and obtained an order directing Baumblit to return the bed to him. The defendant refused and the victim slept on the floor for more than four months.

At that same residence, another victim had surgery in early 2015 and, subsequently, was told by Baumblit he could not stay in the home during the day and had to attend his assigned program. The victim went to the program, collapsed in the street and was hospitalized for five days, according to the indictment.

The case was investigated by Detecitve Investigator Marvin Chalmers under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator Robert Addonizio and Deputy Chief Edwin Murphy. NYPD Police Officer Courney Vishawadia, of the 73rd Precinct, initially investigated the case and arrested the defendant.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Vivian Young Joo, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Former Employee of Charter Bus Company Sentenced to Prison For Stealing over $1 million in Amusement Park Tickets from Employer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 

Former Employee of Charter Bus Company Sentenced to Prison
For Stealing over $1 million in Amusement Park Tickets from Employer

Used Company Credit Card to Buy and Misappropriate over 36,000 Tickets
To Dorney Park and Six Flags Great Adventure

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced that a Staten Island woman was sentenced to one to three years in state prison today, following her guilty plea to first-degree grand larceny last month for stealing amusement park tickets valued at over $1 million from her employer, a Red Hook-based charter bus company. The defendant used the company credit card to purchase tickets that were later redeemed at the parks but unconnected to any company offerings.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant was an unscrupulous employee who used her position of trust to steal more than $1 million in property from her employer. Losses such as this can be devastating to small businesses, which are integral to our communities in Brooklyn. Today’s prison term holds her accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Rosemarie Bader, 51, of Staten Island. The defendant was sentenced today to one to three years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who signed a judgment order directing the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $1,000,533.00 to Best Trails & Travel. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree grand larceny last month.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendant worked for Best Trails and Travel Corporation (BTTC), a charter bus company located at 5 Sigourney Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. BTTC offers private and corporate charter bus packages to a variety of locations, including regional amusement parks and casinos and often including admission to the destinations. The defendant, a 16-year employee of the company, was most recently employed as the Sales Director – a role in which she alone managed and coordinated the various amusement park trip packages offered by BTTC to its clientele: She ordered the tickets from the amusement parks, took delivery of the tickets, secured the tickets in a safe to which she alone had access, placed bus dispatch orders and distributed the appropriate number of theme park tickets to the bus drivers and trip leaders. The defendant was authorized to use BTTC’s American Express credit card to pay for the theme park tickets for the packages.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between approximately January 2014 and November 2016, the defendant used the BTTC credit card to over-order tickets to two of the company’s destinations, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey and Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, using the card to pay for over 36,000 tickets that were unconnected to any BTTC bus package but were redeemed at the parks. The defendant took delivery of the tickets by intercepting UPS and Federal Express deliveries and storing the tickets in a personal safe under her desk to which only she had access. The vast majority of the tickets the defendant over-ordered and possessed were never used to fulfill BTTC’s bus-and-ticket packages, nor were the unused and unauthorized tickets returned to the amusement parks for refund, as was the company’s usual practice. Rather, the defendant kept those tickets for her own use without authorization of BTTC.

The defendant’s scheme was discovered in 2016 when an accounting by her employer revealed company ticket orders to Dorney Park and Six Flags Great Adventure far exceeding the actual bus seats available to the parks through company-run trips during applicable time periods. In total, between approximately January 2014 and November 2016, the defendant allegedly used the BTTC American Express credit card to purchase 23,136 tickets to Dorney Park and 13,102 tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure that were redeemed at the parks, according to the investigation, but were unconnected to any BTTC trips. Combined, based upon the average cost of the tickets misappropriated by the defendant, she stole at least $1,000,533 worth of tickets from the company. The defendant’s employment was terminated in October 2016.

The case was investigated by Supervising Detective Investigator Michael Seminara and Detective Investigator Jacqueline Klapak, both of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the overall supervision of Chief Investigator Joseph Piraino.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Deidre Moskowitz, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, and Assistant District Attorney Mark Feldman, Senior Executive for Investigations and Crime Strategies.

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New York City Police Officer Convicted in Connection With Transferring Title to Bedford-Stuyvesant Property to Herself

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

 

New York City Police Officer Convicted in Connection
With Transferring Title to Bedford-Stuyvesant Property to Herself

Faces Up to 7 Years in Prison at Sentencing

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a New York City police officer has been convicted in connection with transferring title from a neglected three-family house in Bedford-Stuyvesant by filing a deed transferring the property from the deceased owner’s nephew to herself in 2012, only to see her scheme unravel when the nephew was approached by an actual potential buyer in 2014.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant shamelessly took advantage of a vacant house to enrich herself. She has now been held accountable. I am committed to protecting homeowners as Brooklyn’s property values soar and criminals try to cash in. I urge property owners to register their homes with ACRIS (Automated City Register Information System) so that they are automatically informed of changes made to documents associated with their property.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Police Officer Blanche O’Neal, 40, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She was convicted of first-degree perjury, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing today following a bench trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. She will be sentenced on April 18, 2018, at which time she faces up to 7 years in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on September 12, 2012, the defendant, who is an NYPD officer, executed a deed that stated that she bought the property, 23A Vernon Avenue, from the nephew of the deceased homeowner, Lillian Hudson, who died in 1993. The nephew and several relatives inherited the property, though it sat vacant and neglected for many years.

The defendant, according to trial testimony, falsely indicated in her filings with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, that she purchased the property for $10,000 from the nephew and the deed was purportedly signed by him. The Office of the City Register recorded the deed on October 11, 2012.

Furthermore, in connection with a burglary involving the property, the defendant falsely testified before a grand jury on September 29, 2014, that she owned the property.

In 2014, the nephew and the other heirs were approached by a buyer in the form of a business entity known as 23A Vernon LLC. That is when Lillian Hudson’s heirs discovered the 2012 deed allegedly filed by the defendant.

The case was investigated by the New York City Office of the Sheriff, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Investigator Teresa Russo, under the supervision of Chief Investigator James Grayson, First Deputy Sheriff Maureen Kokeas, and the overall supervision of Sheriff Joseph Fucito.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Frank Dudis and Assistant District Attorney Ellen Koenig of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Unit Chief, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Gang Member Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Shooting Teenager during Incident where Another Teen was Killed Outside of Applebee’s in Downtown Brooklyn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

 

Gang Member Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Shooting
Teenager during Incident where Another Teen was Killed
Outside of Applebee’s in Downtown Brooklyn

Shots Fired as Two Rival Gangs Confronted Each Other on Busy Flatbush Avenue

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a gang member was sentenced to 15 years in prison following his convictions of first-degree manslaughter and other charges in connection with a 2015 shooting in which he shot an 18-year-old, leading to the subsequent death of 16-year-old Armani Hankins.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am committed to keeping the people of Brooklyn safe and will not tolerate gun battles in our streets like the one that took place in this case. This defendant opened fire in a bustling neighborhood, not far from a hospital and a college campus, wounding a young man. With today’s sentence, he has been held responsible for his brazen and lawless actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Tyshawn Simon-Roberson, 18, of Downtown Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice following his conviction last month of first-degree manslaughter, first-degree attempted assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after a jury trial. A co-defendant, Malik Peters, 19, was convicted of the same charges by a different jury and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 27, 2018.

According to trial testimony, on October 26, 2015, at approximately 6 p.m., members of two rival gangs, the East New York-based “4 to 5” and the Fort Greene-based “900” met up in the vicinity of 395 Flatbush Avenue Extension, in front of an Applebee’s restaurant, and confronted each other. Simon-Roberson pulled out a firearm and fired twice, striking an 18-year-old in the leg. When “4 to 5” associates, which included Armani Hankins, ran in pursuit of the fleeing “900” members after the teen was shot in the leg, Peters pulled out a gun and shot and killed “4 to 5” gang member Hankins.

The case was investigated by Detective Anthony Barbee of the NYPD’s 88th Precinct Detective Squad. The case was additionally investigated by Detective Investigator Kolawole Olosunde, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator David Acres, Deputy Chief Edwin Murphy and Interim Chief Joseph Piraino, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Patrick O’Connor, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Viviane Dussek, also of VCE, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, VCE Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years to Life in Prison For Fatal Shooting of Innocent Woman in Crown Heights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years to Life in Prison
For Fatal Shooting of Innocent Woman in Crown Heights

Victim Shot on Eastern Parkway as Her Son Waited in Her Car

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 37-year-old man has been sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the 2007 fatal shooting of a 35-year-old woman.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant senselessly took the life of an innocent bystander when he engaged in an afternoon gunfight, leaving a young boy without his mother and devastating her family. He has now been held accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Darius Dubarry, 37, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik to 20 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of one count of second-degree murder on December 15, 2017 following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on December 15, 2007, at approximately 5:30 p.m., the defendant got into a gun battle with Herburtho Benjamin in the vicinity of 390 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. Dubarry fired 10 shots from his 9mm gun and Benjamin fired approximately four shots. Carol Simon was struck once in the abdomen by a bullet from Dubarry’s gun and later died at Kings County Hospital. She had just left her 9-year-old son in a car and was trying to return home to her apartment on Eastern Parkway to retrieve something before taking her son to his swimming lesson when she was shot.

The defendant fled to Augusta, Georgia and was apprehended there by police on December 23, 2007 in a Days Inn motel where he had checked in using a different name.

Dubarry was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009, but the conviction was reversed on appeal. At the same trial, his co-defendant, Benjamin was convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Olatokunbo Olaniyan, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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