Building Superintendent Charged with Posing as Management Agent, Stealing Over $18,000 from Eight People Seeking Apartments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

 

Building Superintendent Charged with Posing as Management Agent,
Stealing Over $18,000 from Eight People Seeking Apartments

Defendant had No Authority to Rent Apartments but Still Accepted Payments;
Victims Never Gained Possession of the Apartments; Defendant Never Returned Money

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Cypress Hills man has been charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud for posing as an employee of his building’s management company and stealing over $18,000 from eight people, fraudulently collecting deposits and fees for vacant apartments which he had no authority to rent.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s alleged theft and deception in this case is particularly reprehensible in light of the many challenges renters already face as they look for affordable housing in this city. We will continue to work to ensure that there is no room in Brooklyn for schemes such as this.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Ruben Almeidas, 58, of Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, and seven counts of fourth-degree grand larceny. He was ordered held on $5,000 bail and to return to court on August 9, 2017. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendant, a superintendent for a building located at 233 Jamaica Avenue in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, showed vacant apartments in that building to would-be tenants, from approximately April 1, 2016, to October 30, 2016. The defendant allegedly indicated that he worked for the management company that owned the building and that he could accept deposits for the apartments.

According to the investigation, after showing a vacant apartment, the defendant would collect a deposit and “finder’s fee” from a prospective tenant, even issuing receipts. The would-be tenants, however, found it impossible to move into the building, with the defendant offering a litany of excuses and reasons that the tenant could not yet move. While the tenants were unable to move in to the apartments they had paid for, the defendant is charged with keeping the fees he had already collected.

According to the investigation, the defendant allegedly carried out the scheme even though he had acknowledged that he did not have permission or authority to take any money from prospective tenants, in writing, to his employer.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant allegedly stole a total of $18,500 from eight prospective tenants, in amounts ranging from $1,850 to $3,600. The defendant was arrested in February 2017.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Ernest Kenner of the Brooklyn North Grand Larceny Division.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Fayola Charlet of the District Attorney’s Immigrant Fraud Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney José Interiano, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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An indictment is only an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 10 Years in State Prison For Assaulting 3-Year-old Son

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 10 Years in State Prison
For Assaulting 3-Year-old Son

Struck Toddler with Cord, Wire and Belt, Had him Kneel on Legos;
Child Left with Limited Use of his Hand

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brownsville man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for brutally assaulting his 3-year-old son by violently striking him, holding his hands and feet under hot water and making him kneel on Legos for hours at a time.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This horrific violence against a helpless child by his own father is disturbing and completely unimaginable. Instead of caring for him, this defendant subjected his innocent little boy to repeated assaults. We will continue to seek lengthy prison sentences for those who harm our children.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Leonardo DeCouite, 24, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik to 10 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree assault earlier this month.

The child’s mother, Kiana Mohansingh, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ post-release supervision on May 19, 2017.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between September 1, 2015 and March 4, 2016, DeCouite assaulted his son repeatedly – beating him with wire, cord, a belt, making him kneel on Legos and holding his hands and feet under hot water. The child’s mother, Mohansingh, admitted striking him in the face with a hard plastic toy causing bruising and swelling to his left cheek.

The defendants were arrested after Mohansingh’s mother noticed bruising on the child and called police. The child has limited use of his hand due to his parents’ failure to seek immediate medical attention.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gwen Barnes of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Miss Gregory, Chief.

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Three Inmates Indicted for Assaulting Correction Officers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 22, 2017

 

Three Inmates Indicted for Assaulting Correction Officers

Punched and Dragged an Officer, Pepper Sprayed Two of his Colleagues

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that three inmates have been indicted for allegedly attacking a New York City correction officer inside the Brooklyn Detention Center, punching and dragging him down a flight of stairs. One of the defendants is additionally charged for allegedly spraying two other correction officers with pepper spray.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Correction officers work under some of the most difficult and dangerous conditions, as this unprovoked and infuriating alleged assault demonstrates. They must be protected and those who attack them should expect severe consequences. We will do everything in our power to vigorously prosecute those who put our dedicated correction officers in danger.”

Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Elias Husamudeen said, “For too long, inmates who assault New York City Correction Officers have remained immune from prosecution for their crimes committed behind bars. The COBA has vigorously urged the District Attorneys to act swiftly to ensure that the frequent attacks on our members do not go unpunished. That is why we applaud Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and his team of Assistant District Attorneys for indicting the three inmates who brutally assaulted three correction officers at the Brooklyn Detention Center several weeks ago. With today’s indictments, the Brooklyn DA’s Office has sent a very clear message to every inmate in our jail system that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if they assault a New York City Correction Officer.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Koron Bailey, 30, Johnny Williams, 23, and Gilbert Marcano, 33. Bailey and Marcano were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Foley on an indictment in which they are variously charged with second-degree assault, second-degree attempted assault, second-degree obstructing governmental administration and related counts. Williams will be arraigned at a later date. The defendants face a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the incident took place on April 19, 2017, at about 12:10 p.m. inside the Brooklyn Detention Center, located on 275 Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn. It is alleged that Bailey repeatedly punched a correction officer in the face and body. Marcano then held the officer’s arms as Bailey continued to punch him. Bailey proceeded to drag the victim down metal stairs with Williams walking behind him, according to the investigation.

Another correction officer responded and assisted his colleague. He observed that Williams was holding pepper spray, a knife and keys that fell from the officer’s duty belt during the assault. Williams refused to hand over the pepper spray and, after a third officer came to help, that defendant allegedly sprayed both officers in the eyes with the pepper spray, according to the evidence.

At the time of the incident, the defendants were jailed pending the resolution of cases they have been charged with: Bailey for a murder in Manhattan, Williams for a Brooklyn robbery and Marcano for criminal contempt in the Bronx.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Chow Xie, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Bureau Chief.

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

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Woman Sentenced to up to 4½ Years in Prison for Hate Crime Theft of $140,000 Cash and Gold Jewelry from Bensonhurst Woman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

 

Woman Sentenced to up to 4½ Years in Prison for Hate Crime Theft of
$140,000 Cash and Gold Jewelry from Bensonhurst Woman

Defendant Pledged to Remove Curses in Elaborate “Chinese Blessing Scam”

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 44-year-old woman was sentenced to 1½ to 4½ years in prison, following her earlier guilty plea to second-degree grand larceny as a hate crime. The defendant admitted to stealing about $140,000 in cash and gold jewelry from the victim, a Chinese woman, during an elaborate scam, convincing her she needed to remove a curse that threatened her family.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “After targeting vulnerable immigrant women, this defendant stole the victim’s life savings by exploiting the fears and beliefs of the culture they shared. Her deplorable conduct more than merits the prison sentence imposed today. I will aggressively prosecute those who seek to profit from our immigrant communities, and we will continue my Office’s efforts to educate everybody about common illegal schemes like this Chinese blessing scam, as we do in our monthly Immigration Forums.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Xuekun Su, 44, of China. She was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to an indeterminate term of 1½ to 4½ years in state prison, following her guilty plea last month to one count of second-degree grand larceny as a hate crime.

The Acting District Attorney said that the defendant, acting with other unapprehended individuals, approached the victim, a 61-year-old Chinese immigrant, on April 27, 2016, in the vicinity of Bay 22nd Street and 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The defendant and the other individuals engaged the victim in conversation and, after gaining her trust, claimed to be clairvoyants. They warned the victim that she or a member of her family would die because of a curse.

They convinced her that she could rid herself of the curse by gathering large sums of cash and jewelry to be blessed. The defendant and the others assured the victim that after the blessing removed the evil spirits surrounding her family, the items would be returned to her. The victim proceeded to gather approximately $140,000 in cash and various pieces of gold jewelry.

The victim then returned to the defendant and the others who, according to the investigation, instructed the victim to place the cash and jewels into a bag for the “blessing.” Manipulating the bag, the defendant and others removed the victim’s valuables and returned a closed one to the victim. They told the victim that the blessing would only work if she did not open the bag for many days. Later that evening, however, after the defendant and the others had gone, the victim opened the bag and found that her property was gone. She then contacted the police.

The defendant admitted that she had selected the victim based on her age and national origin, making her larceny conviction a hate crime under New York State law.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Dimitrij Prokopez and Sergeant Sean O’Hara, of the NYPD’s Grand Larceny Division, under the supervision of Sergeant Gregory Marotta, Lieutenant Robert Rattigan, Inspector John M. Denesopolis, and Assistant Chief Brian McCarthy of the Criminal Enterprise Investigations.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jose Interiano, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Immigrant Fraud Unit, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Brownsville Woman Convicted of Manslaughter for Beating Her 4-Year-Old Nephew to Death with a Belt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

 

Brownsville Woman Convicted of Manslaughter for
Beating Her 4-Year-Old Nephew to Death with a Belt

Defendant Struck Child Numerous Times, Claiming
He Wouldn’t Focus During Spelling Lessons

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 24-year-old Brownsville woman has been convicted of first-degree manslaughter for beating her 4-year-old nephew to death with a belt and its buckle while she was babysitting him.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s crime is made even more atrocious by the excuse she offered for beating her nephew to death: that he wouldn’t focus on his spelling lessons. Little Ethan should have had many, many years to grow and thrive, but instead he was robbed of his life by this defendant’s vicious attack. I remain committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting those who seek to harm our children.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Christen Dale, 24, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. She was convicted today of first-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik, who set sentencing for June 1, 2017, at which time the defendant faces up to 25 years in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on February 25, 2015, inside of 287 Rockaway Parkway, where the defendant lived with her sister and her nephew, Ethan Ali, 4, the defendant was watching the child while her sister was at work.

At some point, according to testimony, the defendant began to beat him with a belt, striking him repeatedly with both the strap and the metal buckle. The defendant told police she had been trying to teach the 4-year-old to spell and became enraged when the child failed to focus on the lesson.

According to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Ethan suffered blunt impact trauma resulting in internal bleeding causing multi-system organ failure, and was left with extensive bruising on his torso, back, buttocks, thighs, arms and scalp.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Frank DeGaetano, First Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Deanna Paul, also of the Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Convicted of 1998 Rape in Park Slope Subway Station Following Cold Case DNA Hit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of 1998 Rape in Park Slope Subway Station Following Cold Case DNA Hit

Faces up to 25 Years in State Prison when he is Sentenced Next Month

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 45-year-old Brooklyn man has been convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman on a subway platform in 1998. The defendant was charged with the rape as a result of a “cold hit” in which a DNA sample obtained from the victim’s rape kit was positively matched to the defendant’s DNA profile in the New York DNA databank.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Thanks to the DNA evidence collected at the time of this attack the defendant has now been held accountable for this brutal rape. This case once again underscores the importance of DNA evidence in proving guilt or innocence. I’d also like to commend the victim for having the courage to testify at trial and bring this defendant to justice.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Johnny Jacob, 45, of Brooklyn. He was convicted yesterday of first-degree rape following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo, who set sentencing for June 2, 2017, at which time he faces up to 25 years in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on March 2, 1998, at approximately 9:30 a.m., the victim, who was 19 at the time and going to her first day of work, had just exited the M train at the 9th Street and Fourth Avenue stop. She was approached by the defendant, who ordered her to the back of the platform, while threatening to shoot her and placing what she believed to be a gun to her back. He forcibly raped her, then brought her outside of the train station and told her that he would kill her if she called the police.

The defendant, who was not known to the victim, then fled the scene. The victim ran to work, and her employer called 911 to report the rape. She was treated at Lutheran Hospital, where a rape kit was administered.

The defendant was arrested on October 4, 2013, after there was a DNA hit connecting the defendant to the semen found in the complainant’s rape kit. His DNA had been entered into the database following a conviction on federal money laundering charges.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Lisa Nugent and Assistant District Attorney Tamara Marshall, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief.

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North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty in Connection With Trafficking 33 Guns to Sell on the Streets of Brooklyn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 12, 2017

 

North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty in Connection With
Trafficking 33 Guns to Sell on the Streets of Brooklyn

To be Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 24-year-old man from North Carolina has pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sale of a firearm in connection with trafficking 33 firearms from his home state into Brooklyn.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Today’s guilty plea and promised lengthy sentence is further evidence of our commitment to fight the scourge of gun trafficking, particularly from southern states with lax gun laws, in an effort to keep these deadly weapons off of the streets of Brooklyn. This defendant has now been held accountable and faces 10 years in a New York State prison for his actions.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Marcus Gamble, 24, of Charlotte, North Carolina. He pleaded guilty today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Foley to the top count in the indictment, first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, in exchange for 10 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision when he is sentenced on June 26, 2017.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on December 5, 2016, the defendant sold 10 loaded firearms to an undercover police officer and, on December 13, 2016, the defendant sold the undercover 15 loaded firearms for a total of about $27,000. The sales took place inside a car in the vicinity of Flatbush Avenue and Maple Street in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn.

On December 20, 2016, as the defendant was waiting for a third sale to commence, he was arrested inside a Golden Krust restaurant located at 568 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Eight guns and parts of an assault rifle were recovered from his backpack, according to the indictment.

The 33 guns the defendant transported to Brooklyn were mostly pistols and revolvers, including Smith & Wessons, Colts and Rugers. Some of the weapons were purchased legally in North Carolina and others were reported stolen, the investigation found. The defendant grew up in New York City, has extensive family ties to Brooklyn, but has been living in North Carolina for the past couple of years, according to the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Katie Lee Wright, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision Assistant District Attorney Jonathan R. Sennett, Deputy Chief of VCE, and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Construction Company Owner Indicted for Manslaughter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

 

Construction Company Owner Indicted for Manslaughter

Ignored Workers’ Safety Concerns and Industry Protocols
Prior to Wall Collapse that Killed One Man and Seriously Injured Two Others

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler and Occupational Safety and Health Administration Regional Administrator Robert Kulick, today announced that the owner of a Bedford-Stuyvesant construction company and his businesses have been indicted on manslaughter and other charges after a wall collapsed at an excavation site, killing one construction worker and injuring two others.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Fernando Vanegaz should be alive today. Construction site deaths such as his are becoming all too common as builders ignore safety protocols and hire untrained workers to maximize profits. Even worse, we allege, is that in this case the builder went ahead with this illicit excavation even after the Department of Buildings explicitly prohibited it. I vow to continue investigating and prosecuting these unscrupulous builders whose practices endanger their workers and anyone near their sites.”

Commissioner Peters said, “We have seen the tragic results on construction sites too many times when contractors ignore repeated warnings of danger and put the lives of workers at risk. In this case the warnings were clear, but the defendant disregarded them at a deadly cost. The City expects construction companies and general contractors to follow the laws that protect worker safety. When they do not, DOI and its partners, like the Brooklyn District Attorney, will hold them criminally accountable.”

Commissioner Chandler said, “Fernando Vanegaz lost his life in a tragic and completely preventable accident. Our hearts go out to this young man’s loved ones, friends and co-workers. The criminal charges against this contractor are a warning to other bad actors in the construction industry that no building is worth a life, that cutting corners on the job site has very real consequences and that if you fail to protect your workers, the city will come after you. I thank DA Gonzalez and his team and our partners at DOI for their great work on this case.”

Regional Administrator Kulick said, “Mr. Vanegaz’s death and the injuries to the other workers were needless and avoidable. All workers have a right to a safe and healthful workplace and all employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. When employers abandon their responsibility the consequences can be devastating and irreversible. We remind employers and workers that implementing effective safety and health programs, including training, and adherence to OSHA standards are critical to identifying and eliminating hazards that can harm workers.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Michael Weiss, 47, of Throop Avenue in Williamsburg and his companies, RSBY NY Builders Inc. and Park Ave Builders Inc., both in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 14-count indictment in which Weiss is charged with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree assault, third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, first-degree falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, fraudulent practices under the workers’ compensation law, and failing to secure workers’ compensation insurance. An indicted co-conspirator is charged with two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and will be arraigned at a later date.

Weiss was ordered held on bail of $250,000 bond or $100,000 cash and to return to court on August 9, 2017. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count. His co-defendant faces up to one year in prison if convicted.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, on September 3, 2015, employees of Weiss and his companies were working at a construction site at 656 Myrtle Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where they were replacing a one-story building with a five-story building. Weiss ordered several of his employees to excavate in the rear of the lot in an area not permitted by the approved Department of Buildings plans and without knowledge of other professionals involved in the project.

Furthermore, it is alleged, despite repeated requests from his workers in the months, and even just hours before the collapse, Weiss refused to provide any material for shoring or underpinning of the excavation and adjacent exposed walls – despite OSHA regulations requiring him to do so – and refused to listen to the safety concerns of his workers, insisting they continue working in an unsafe area. At approximately 11:30 a.m., the wall of the adjacent building collapsed, and masonry blocks and other debris fell on three of the workers, killing one man and severely injuring two others.

The deceased worker, Fernando Vanegaz, 18, suffered severe head trauma, lacerations to his head, broken legs and cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at the scene. A second worker suffered a fracture of the lumbar vertebra, a fractured hip and injury to his spine. He has undergone multiple surgeries and continues to have difficulty walking or engaging in physical activity. A third worker also suffered a lumbar vertebra fracture, a fractured nose and skull and orbital area, a crushed face and scalp, a fractured rib and other facial bone fractures. He had back surgery and continues to have difficulty with physical activity and suffers constant back pain.

The indicted co-conspirator was the owner of a construction company that had a safety registration with the DOB, with endorsements in concrete, construction and demolition, allowing his company to obtain permits from DOB to perform construction work in New York City. It is alleged that since Weiss did not have the appropriate licenses with DOB to apply for the necessary permits to perform the work he paid the co-defendant $10,000 to sign the work permit applications and insurance certificates as general contractor.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, Weiss began working on the site in June 2015 after being hired by the building owners to replace a one-story fruit store with a five-story mixed use building that would house a shoe store and residential apartments. Weiss hired seven workers with little to no training and without OSHA safety certifications to do the demolition.

In late July 2015, the next phase of construction began in which the untrained workers dug trenches around the perimeter of the existing cellar for foundation structures in accordance with DOB-approved plans, though DOB was not notified of this excavation prior to the work beginning as required by the building code, nor was the necessary shoring, bracing or underpinning provided. Furthermore, after the work began, Weiss instructed the workers to excavate beyond the approved area and in direct contradiction to the DOB-approved plans.

Throughout the excavation, it is alleged, several of the workers complained to Weiss that the excavation was unsafe because the adjacent walls were unstable, especially the rear concrete masonry wall because it had a crack. Weiss repeatedly refused to provide any materials to shore up the wall and refused a request to hire experienced workers.

By September 2, 2015, the excavation in the rear of the lot was more than six feet below the foundation of the adjacent building to the rear. This undermined the concrete masonry wall of the adjacent building. On that day, two of the workers again asked Weiss for lumber, according to the indictment, to shore up the wall. Finally, on September 3, 2015 at 8:00 a.m., Weiss’ employees reported for work. One worker, concerned about the crack, asked Weiss and his supervisor for 2 x 4s to shore up the wall, and informed Weiss that the wall could collapse.

Weiss stated that the materials were coming, and shortly thereafter lumber arrived. However, Weiss refused to allow them to shore up the wall with it, instead saying it was for formwork for the upcoming concrete pour and that he would bring lumber to shore up the wall the following day. He also allegedly told the workers they were working too slowly and ordered three workers, including the deceased, to work in the rear excavated pit. The wall of the rear adjacent building then collapsed onto the workers.

Furthermore, according to the indictment, Weiss failed to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage while employing seven construction workers at the site, then applied for coverage hours after the collapse. He also allegedly committed tax fraud by failing to report $75,000 in income on his state tax returns. Based on this unreported income he owed state taxes of $4,310 and unlawfully received a refund of $3,686. He thereby stole $7,996 from the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

The case was investigated by Chief of Investigations with the DOI Buildings Special Investigations Unit Barry Romm and Chief Investigator James McElligott, under the supervision of Inspector General Gregory Cho, Associate Commissioner James Flaherty, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Michael Carroll and First Deputy Commissioner Lesley Brovner.

The case was additionally investigated by Detective Investigator Ismael Zayas, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator Robert Addonizio and Deputy Chief Edwin Murphy, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

The Acting District Attorney thanked the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, specifically, Tax Auditor I Shumaila Qureshi and Tax Auditor III Ronald Chan, under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner John Harford, Director of the Criminal Investigations Division.

The Acting District Attorney further thanked the investigators and supervisors of the Manhattan Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.

The Acting District Attorney further thanked the New York City Department of Buildings, specifically, Geoff Eisele, PE, LEED, AP, Executive Engineer, Construction Safety; Inspector Burt Thomas and Matthew Burdge, Director of the Special Enforcement Team.

Finally, the Acting District Attorney thanked New York State Insurance Fund Underwriter Maribel Docal and Senior Investigator and Jacqueline Waters; and New York State Workers’ Compensation Fund Investigator Sherard John.

KCDA Investigative Analyst Megan Carroll and Digital Forensic Analyst Mirsada Bogdanovic assisted in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Samantha Magnani, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Meredith McGowan, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Labor Frauds Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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An indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt

 

Photos presented at the press conference are available here:

 

East New York Man Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison For Three Gun-Point Robberies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

 

East New York Man Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison
For Three Gun-Point Robberies

Wounded One Victim and Fired at Another; Incidents Took Place Two Days Apart

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 23-year-old East New York man has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for committing three robberies during a two-day span. In one incident, the defendant shot a fleeing victim in the leg and also shot at another victim after a failed carjacking attempt.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant went on a violent crime spree. He used a gun to rob and to shoot at innocent people, one of whom was shot while trying to escape. He is clearly a danger to society and today’s sentence ensures that he will not be able to terrorize other members of our community for many years.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Anthony Samuel, 23, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice to 21 years in prison following his guilty plea last month to first-degree robbery.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on August 10, 2014, at about 5:30 a.m., outside 630 Utica Avenue, in East Flatbush, the defendant approached three women and two men in a parking lot behind a diner and displayed a gun. The three women fled in their car. One of the men then handed a chain to the defendant and fled. The defendant fired at him, striking him in the knee.

Later that morning, at 6:50 a.m., outside 1470 East New York in Brownsville, the defendant approached a man who had just parked his car and brandished a gun, demanding the victim’s belongings. The victim handed the defendant his car keys, wallet and credit cards, the evidence showed.

On August 12, 2014, at approximately 6:30 a.m., outside 2 Paerdegat 9th Street in Canarsie, the defendant approached a victim who was moving his cars to comply with alternate side street parking regulations. The defendant exited a vehicle, pulled out a handgun and demanded the victim’s wallet and keys. The victim complied, and then fled. The defendant attempted to drive away in the victim’s car, but failed. He exited the vehicle and discharged one shot in the victim’s direction, but missed him. The incident was captured on video surveillance. Police later recovered a 9-mm shell casing and the defendant’s DNA was recovered from the gear shift of the victim’s car.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Brian Wagner and Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Kyriacou, of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of David Klestzick, Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Indicted for Deed Fraud in Connection With Six Properties, Including Landmarked Residence in Fort Greene

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

May 9, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Deed Fraud in Connection
With Six Properties, Including Landmarked Residence in Fort Greene

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been indicted for allegedly stealing a 19th century mansion in Fort Greene, as well as attempting to steal five other properties in a brazen scheme in which he transferred title of others properties to himself.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between February 2015 and December 2016, the defendant, Aderibigbe Ogundiran, 36, of 123 Albany Avenue in Crown Heights, engaged in a scheme to steal title to or the economic benefit from six residential properties in Brooklyn, targeting properties whose title holders were deceased or properties that no one seemed to be taking care of.

It is alleged that the defendant took advantage of the apparent inattention to the properties by filing fraudulent deeds or other instruments against the properties in an effort to gain control of them. In fact, he gained control or attempted to gain control of them in a variety of ways that included using aliases, corporate alter-egos, impostors, forged driver’s licenses, misuse of personal identifying information, and forged notarizations.

The indictment charges the defendant with committing crimes involving the following properties:

  • 176 Washington Park in Fort Greene
  • 123 Albany Avenue in Crown Heights
  • 42 Albany Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • 1024 Hendrix Street in East New York
  • 1424 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • 49 Albany Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The Acting District Attorney said that in at least one instance, involving 42 Albany Avenue, the defendant collected rent from a tenant after leasing out an apartment. In another instance, involving 1424 Fulton Street, he was captured on videotape filing a Power of Attorney at the City Register’s office, after the actual owner of the property received an email alert of a document filed against the property.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Escalating real estate values in Brooklyn unfortunately make frauds like this inviting to thieves. We vow to continue to vigilantly prosecute scam artists such as this defendant, but at the same time I would urge homeowners to protect themselves by registering with the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) so that they are automatically informed of changes made to documents associated with their property – as happened with one of the victims in this case – which would alert them to potential theft and fraud related to their property.”

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Read the full press release here.