Coney Island Man Indicted for Posing as Immigrant Assistance Service Provider and Filing Dozens of Allegedly Fraudulent Asylum Applications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

 

Coney Island Man Indicted for Posing as Immigrant Assistance Service Provider and Filing Dozens of Allegedly Fraudulent Asylum Applications

Targeted Immigrants of Eastern European Descent and Allegedly
Charged Up to $3,000; Victims Never Received Immigration Benefits

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 42-year-old Brooklyn man has been indicted for scheme to defraud, grand larceny, immigrant assistance services fraud and other charges for claiming to be an Immigrant Assistance Service Provider authorized to prepare immigration applications and filing as many as 35 asylum petitions with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which were flagged as fraudulent.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “As the federal government puts in place unprecedented hurdles on immigrants and asylum seekers, it is more important than ever to make sure that con men don’t take advantage of the desperation and fear. This defendant allegedly did just that: he presented bogus credentials and charged vulnerable newcomers thousands of dollars for immigration services he never delivered. My Immigrant Affairs Unit will continue to protect all Brooklyn residents, regardless of status, from fraud and abuse, and I urge everyone to be cautious and diligent when seeking immigration assistance.”

“It is particularly despicable when scammers prey on those in their own community, taking advantage of the trust placed in them to prepare immigration applications and petitions,” said United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) New York Asylum Office Director Patricia A. Menges. “Today’s indictment is a reminder to those seeking to defraud the government that they will be brought to justice by the local and federal agencies tasked with preserving the integrity of our immigration system.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Vadim Alekseev, 42, of Coney Island, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 21-count indictment in which he is charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree immigrant assistance services fraud, fourth-degree grand larceny, tampering with physical evidence and practicing or appearing as attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered. He was ordered held on $15,000 bail and to return to court on October 3, 2018. The defendant faces up to four years in prison if convicted on the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between August 2014 and December 2017, the defendant filed 35 asylum applications with the Department of Homeland Security, which were flagged as fraudulent by the agency. He targeted immigrants of Eastern-European descent, presented himself as a licensed paralegal authorized to prepare immigration applications and advertised his services in Russian newspapers and websites.

It is alleged that that the defendant charged the victims in advance between $1,000 and $3,000 and, after filing their applications, became unresponsive and refused to answer phone calls and text messages. In total, the defendant obtained at least $30,000 as a result of his alleged scheme. The USCIS found that all the applications he filed were “strikingly similar” and deemed them to be fraudulent. None of the victims received asylum status or other benefits, the investigation found.

The grand larceny and immigrant assistance services fraud charges pertain to five specific victims who all reside in Brooklyn and arrived at the U.S. from Eastern Europe in 2016 and 2017. All met with the defendant and paid him between $1,250 and $3,000 to file asylum applications on their behalf. None of the victims were granted asylum or other immigration status.

The District Attorney thanked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Fraud Detection and National Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, New York Asylum Office, for its assistance in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Immigration Counsel David Satnarine, of the District Attorney’s Immigrant Affairs 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 an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Former National Grid Employee Who Helped Facilitate Operation of Shadow Utility Company that Illegally Installed Gas Meters Sentenced to Up to Three Years in State Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

 

Former National Grid Employee Who Helped Facilitate Operation of Shadow Utility Company that Illegally Installed Gas Meters
Sentenced to Up to Three Years in State Prison

Pleaded Guilty to Enterprise Corruption

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced that a former National Grid employee, who aided the leader of a shadow utility company that illegally installed gas meters in violation of safety protocols by infiltrating the public utility and corrupting some of its employees, has been sentenced to up to three years in prison.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant used her position of trust to enable this criminal enterprise to operate. She circumvented protocols specifically put in place to protect public safety and facilitated this criminal scheme. She has now been held accountable.”

Commissioner Peters said, “This defendant acted as the dispatcher for a shadow utility operation, directing a network of unlicensed plumbers and other associates to addresses where they would install illegal gas meters for thousands of dollars in payments, ignoring safety and potentially endangering New Yorkers. Today’s sentencing holds her accountable for the integral part she played in this crime and demonstrates the importance of DOI’s investigations where City processes and regulations are violated in the construction industry. DOI thanks the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for their assistance and prosecution of this case.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Phoebe Bogan, 43, of Rosedale, Queens. She pleaded guilty to enterprise corruption on May 9, 2018, before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who, in a plea offered by the Court, promised her an indeterminate term of one to three years in state prison, to which he today sentenced the defendant.

Bogan worked as a National Grid customer service representative in the Special Services Group, in the utility’s main office at One Metro Tech Center, during the course of the scheme.

The mastermind of the scheme, Weldon “Al” Findlay, 48, of Snyder Avenue, Brooklyn, Findlay, who worked for National Grid until 2010, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of enterprise corruption and one count of falsifying business records before Justice Chun, who sentenced him to a promised term of 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to the guilty pleas, the enterprise arranged for the illegal installation of gas meters in exchange for cash at 33 residential properties across Brooklyn, including Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Heights, Bushwick, Crown Heights, Midwood, and Borough Park, in addition to homes in parts of Queens. Findlay formed the enterprise and directed its criminal activities throughout the period covered by the indictment, namely January 12, 2016 to June 30, 2016.

The Department of Buildings and National Grid have inspected every property identified in connection with the investigation, and ensured that there is no risk to public safety.

The District Attorney said that existing protocols required National Grid employees opening accounts (for new or renewed gas service) to check the public Building Information System (BIS) database to confirm that the property had been inspected as required by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). A licensed master plumber or a DOB inspector must visit the location and conduct appropriate testing to ensure that gas lines have been properly and safely installed; compliance is indicated by a control number created in the BIS database. A National Grid employee acting properly would check for the BIS number and then include it in the account record before dispatching a technician to install a meter and initiate gas service.

According to the investigation, when a landlord with a new or renovated apartment wanted to avoid either the expense of the required tests, or possible delays associated with compliance, the landlord paid Findlay, who then contacted Bogan, who would arrange for illegal service. Landlords could be confident that National Grid employees setting up the account and providing gas service would violate or ignore any rules or regulations that would prevent or delay the supply of gas.

The case was investigated by DOI, specifically, Deputy Inspector General Michael Antolini, Assistant Inspector General Noah Mohney; Assistant Inspector General Dan Taylor, Deputy Inspector General Edward Zinser and Chief Investigator James McElligott, under the supervision of Inspector General Gregory Cho, Associate Commissioner James J. Flaherty, and First Deputy Commissioner Lesley Brovner.

The District Attorney thanked New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters and his staff for their hard work on this case. He also thanked the New York City Department of Buildings and National Grid for their assistance and cooperation in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sara Walshe and Special Assistant District Attorney Renee Hassel, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Mark Feldman, Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Crime Strategies and Investigations.

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East New York Man Indicted For Sex Trafficking of 14-Year-Old Girl

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

 

East New York Man Indicted For Sex Trafficking of 14-Year-Old Girl

Defendant Allegedly Kept Her Against Her Will, Forced Her to Work as Prostitute

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East New York man has been charged in an 11-count indictment with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution and related charges for allegedly forcing a 14-year-old girl to have sex with men for money and then turn over that money to him.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly treated a young girl as a piece of property, forcing her to work in the sex trade. In Brooklyn we are committed to protecting all victims of predators and keeping individuals safe from such violent behavior. We will now seek to hold him accountable for his alleged actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Travis Walker, 28, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic on an indictment in which he is charged with sex trafficking, first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree promoting prostitution, second- and third-degree rape, third-degree attempted assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count and will have to register as a sex offender. He was ordered held on $300,000 bail and to return to court on August 29, 2018.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between May 25, 2018 and June 18, 2018, the defendant prostituted a 14-year-old girl on multiple occasions in Brooklyn, forcing her to walk the streets in the middle of the night to pick up strangers to have sex for money, as well as at his house, at a Borough Park hotel, and at a bachelor party in Williamsburg. The defendant also allegedly raped the victim. The investigation also revealed that in addition to the minor victim, Walker allegedly promoted the prostitution of several other women.

It is alleged that the defendant withheld food from the victim; used force, including kicking her in her back with his boots; had one of the other women use force against the victim; and forced her to give him any money she earned from prostitution.

After a woman who was also working as a prostitute for the defendant learned the victim’s true age, that woman helped the teenager get away from the defendant’s house, according to the investigation. The victim was later spotted on a Brooklyn street by her aunt, who contacted her parents, who then called police.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Jacob Merino and Detective Elizabeth Gonzalez, of the Vice Human Trafficking Team, under the supervision of Lieutenant Christopher Sharpe and Captain Thomas Milano, and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein. Police Officer Tony Cuoco of the NYPD’s 75th Precinct assisted in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, with the assistance of KCDA Social Worker Tracy Sun, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Edidin, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.

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Low-Level Marijuana Prosecutions in Brooklyn Plunged by over 91% This Year as District Attorney’s Office Expanded Declination Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 27, 2018

 

Low-Level Marijuana Prosecutions in Brooklyn Plunged by over 91%
This Year as District Attorney’s Office Expanded Declination Policy

Declined Prosecution Rate Increased to Over 70% of Cases between January and June,
Corresponding with Over 60% Decrease in Arrests; Pilot Policy of Declining to Prosecute
All but Small Categories of Low-Level Marijuana Cases Will Continue

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that prosecution of low-level marijuana offenses in Brooklyn plummeted by over 90% between January and June of 2018 as his Office expanded its policy of declining to prosecute simple possession cases to include cases of smoking in public. The declination rate has been rising steadily to over 70% of cases, correlating with a decline in arrests, which were cut by more than 60% over this time period. Given the success of the pilot expansion of the policy, the District Attorney announced that his Office will continue to decline to prosecute all but the most egregious examples of such offenses – when an individual is posing a threat to public safety.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Aggressive enforcement and prosecution of personal possession and use of marijuana does not keep us safer, and the glaring racial disparities in who is and is not arrested have contributed to a sense among many in our communities that the system is unfair. This in turn contributes to a lack of trust in law enforcement, which makes us all less safe. That is why, earlier this year, we expanded our existing non-prosecution policy to include smoking cases. That pilot policy proved to be effective in dramatically reducing the number of low-level marijuana cases processed in court, freeing resources and strengthening trust in the justice system. I intend to maintain this approach and to only prosecute the most egregious offenses, which will help ensure fairness and equal justice.”

The District Attorney said that, starting in the spring of 2018, his Office gradually expanded its policy of not prosecuting low-level marijuana possession cases to include cases involving smoking in public, which are charged under the same statutes (PL 221.10 and 221.05). The only individuals currently prosecuted for these offenses are those who are posing a threat to public safety (e.g. driving with burning marijuana), are creating a genuine nuisance (e.g. smoking on public transportation or in a schoolyard where children are exposed to smoke) or are involved in violent criminal activity (i.e. “drivers of crime”).

The new pilot policy started before the City announced its intent to ask the NYPD to begin issuing criminal summonses, instead of making arrests, in most low-level marijuana cases and before the NYPD outlined its revised enforcement policy that is set to take effect this fall. The success of the DA’s policy indicates that these enforcement changes can be made without jeopardizing public safety. The DA’s Office predicts that the number of prosecuted cases will be reduced further once the NYPD implements its new protocols.

As the attached charts demonstrate, following an increase in cases that were declined prosecutions, the number of arrests has steadily decreased. Taken together, the number of cases that were accepted for prosecution this year declined from 349 in January to 29 in June – a drop of 91.6%. Of the cases that were prosecuted between January and June 2018, 84% resulted in a dismissal (by either an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal or by other means). In the remaining cases, the overwhelming majority were pleas to non-criminal charges, or violations (95.6%.) Only eight cases resulted in a misdemeanor conviction, and in all of those cases (0.37%) the defendants had prior criminal records.

District Attorney Gonzalez said that as we move away from prosecuting these low-level offenses, we cannot forget those who have a conviction on their record based on conduct that we no longer prosecute. Having a marijuana conviction can seriously impede a person’s ability to get a job, education, housing and other important services. That is why the DA’s Office – as part of its Justice 2020 Initiative – is developing a new program for vacating and sealing marijuana possession convictions for thousands of people in Brooklyn. Details about this program will be released in the near future.

The number of arrests, cases that were declined prosecution and criminal court complaints (or cases that were accepted for prosecution) [1] are summarized in the table below:

Arrests and Prosecutions of PL 221.10 and PL 221.05 in Brooklyn

Month Arrests Declined Prosecution Criminal Court Complaints
January 425 58 349
February 461 103 324
March 430 127 273
April 399 243 132
May 293 210 71
June 168 122 29


[1] Arrest numbers were reported by the NYPD while declined prosecution and complaint numbers were compiled by the DA’s Office. Accordingly, there are some variances in the data (for instance: an individual may be the subject to multiple arrests that get consolidated into a single complaint), making the proportion of arrests that were not processed for prosecution even higher.

 

East New York Man Sentenced to 22 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Shooting Man and Wounding Another During Botched Robbery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

 

East New York Man Sentenced to 22 Years to Life in Prison for
Fatally Shooting Man and Wounding Another During Botched Robbery

Shot Victim Outside Livery Cab While Meeting to Buy Forged Credit Cards

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 21-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to 22 years to life in prison for the 2014 shooting death of a 19-year-old victim, who was killed during a botched robbery. An accomplice was previously convicted and sentenced for his participation in the murder.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant shot and killed a young man in cold blood – a callous crime for which he and his codefendant will now spend many years in prison. We will never tolerate the use of gun violence in Brooklyn and will prosecute such cases to the fullest extent.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Shaquille Escalona, 21, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Ruth Shillingford to 22 years to life in prison following his conviction last month of second-degree murder, second-degree assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree attempted robbery after a jury trial. A codefendant, Ajuul Manwarring, 23, of East New York, was tried separately earlier this year. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced in May to 18 years to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on December 29, 2014, the victim, 19-year-old Aaron Parkinson, was communicating with Manwarring regarding a transaction involving forged credit cards. At about 4:43 p.m., Manwarring texted a meeting location of “29 McClancy (Place)” in East New York.

The victim and a friend of his arrived at the location in a livery car about an hour later and met with the defendant and his accomplice, the evidence showed. The defendant opened the passenger door, pointed a gun at the two men and said, “Give it up.” He then went to the rear of the car, pulled the victim outside and – after Manwarring told him, “Let it blow” – fired six shots, striking Parkinson in the body and grazing the friend’s back shoulder, according to the evidence, which included forensics, surveillance videos and phone records. The livery driver sped to Brookdale Hospital, where Parkinson was pronounced dead.

The defendant and his accomplice were apprehended in March 2015 while walking together.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Chow Xie, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Robert Schwartz of the District Attorney’s Red Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Brownsville Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Shooting Man While Robbing Him of Necklace

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

 

Brownsville Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for
Shooting Man While Robbing Him of Necklace

Victim Remains Paralyzed from the Waist Down

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 44-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for shooting a 23-year-old man as he robbed him of a necklace he was wearing. The attempted murder left the victim paralyzed from his waist down.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant callously shot an innocent man in broad daylight, kept shooting after he was struck and left him paralyzed for nothing more than a piece of jewelry. I am committed to keeping the people of Brooklyn safe and will not tolerate such violence on our streets.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as David Johnson, 44, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Mondo to 25 years to life in prison following his conviction last month of first-degree attempted murder after a jury trial. Because the defendant is a persistent violent felony offender he faced a mandatory sentence of up to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on May 23, 2016, at approximately 10:50 a.m., the victim, who was 21 at the time and working in construction, was laying bricks for a fence that was being built at the corner of Shepherd and Belmont Avenues in East New York, Brooklyn. The defendant approached him from behind and tried to snatch a necklace from the victim’s neck.

The two struggled and the defendant pulled out a firearm and shot at the victim. The victim fell to the ground and threw the necklace to the defendant in an effort to stop him from continuing to shoot, the evidence showed. But the defendant continued to fire the gun, striking the victim once in the elbow and twice in the torso. He then fled and left behind a baseball hat that fell during the altercation.

Responding officers recovered three spent .40 caliber shell casings and the hat, which contained the defendant’s DNA, according to the evidence. The defendant was arrested on July 23, 2016.

The victim was hospitalized for two months, underwent at least two surgeries and remains paralyzed from the waist down.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Daphney Gachette and Judd Gartenberg, of the District Attorney’s Red Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kin Ng, Bureau Chief.

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Ditmas Park Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Fatally Stabbing Wife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 23, 2018

 

Ditmas Park Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Fatally Stabbing Wife

Defendant Repeatedly Stabbed Victim in Neck and Chest Following Argument

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 60-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison following his conviction of first-degree manslaughter for stabbing his 47-year-old wife in the neck and chest after a dispute.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “With today’s sentence the defendant has been held responsible for the vicious and deadly stabbing of his wife. He not only took an innocent woman’s life, but also deprived their 25-year-old son of a mother and father as he will now be incarcerated for many years.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Clairmont Donald, 60, of Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic to 20 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter last month.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on September 26, 2016, at 5:45 p.m. at 422 East 17th Street, a neighbor and close friend of the defendant’s wife, Hannah Donald, heard her screaming. When the neighbor opened the front door of her apartment, the defendant was walking in the hallway of the building towards the stairs. The neighbor followed the defendant down the stairs and outside of the apartment building, where she saw Hannah Donald on the steps of the building bleeding profusely from stab wounds to her neck and chest.

An ambulance arrived and took the victim to Kings County Hospital. The victim told both her neighbor and an ambulance attendant that she was stabbed by the defendant. A knife was recovered from inside of her apartment.

The defendant was arrested a few hours later at the Cortelyou Road train station. According to the officers who apprehended him, he was severely intoxicated.

The victim underwent surgery at the hospital, but later died of her injuries. At the time of the incident, there were three active orders of protections against the defendant.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sabeeha Madni, of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michele Kaminsky, Bureau Chief.

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Flatbush Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Shooting Man Six Times After Arguing at Cookout in Bedford-Stuyvesant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 28, 2018

 

Flatbush Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Shooting Man
Six Times After Arguing at Cookout in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Defendant Left the Party and Returned to Shoot the Victim

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 46-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of attempted murder for shooting a man six times at a 2016 barbeque following an argument.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s actions put everyone who was attending the cookout in immediate danger. He has now been held accountable for his callous behavior. My office will continue to prosecute all individuals who show no regard for human life or respect for our laws.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Fred Richardson, 46, of Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Mondo to 15 years in prison. The defendant was convicted of second-degree attempted murder following a jury trial in April.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on July 2, 2016, at approximately 11:43 p.m., the defendant was at a cookout on Chauncey Street, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. While at the gathering, the defendant approached the 42-year-old victim, who lived on the block, and inquired about getting guns. The victim told the defendant he would not be able to help him with that, and then referred to the defendant as “son,” to which the defendant apparently took offense, according to trial testimony.

The defendant left the party, according to testimony, and returned with a gun. He then walked towards the victim and shot him three times in the back, causing him to fall to the ground. The defendant then stood over the victim and shot him twice in the stomach and once in the arm at point blank range, before fleeing.

The victim, who was rushed to Kings County Hospital, suffered significant, life-threatening injuries, according to his doctor’s testimony at trial.

The defendant was arrested on August 4, 2016 after being identified from a photo array.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Midey and Jacob Uriel, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Bureau Chief.

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East New York Man Sentenced to up to 16 Years in State Prison For Promoting Prostitution of Two 14-Year-Old Girls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 28, 2018

 

East New York Man Sentenced to up to 16 Years in State Prison
For Promoting Prostitution of Two 14-Year-Old Girls

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East New York man was sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison following his guilty plea last month to promoting prostitution for offering two 14-year-old girls to men who paid to have sex with them.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Protecting our children and youth is one of my highest priorities. With today’s sentence, this defendant will spend many years in prison for his criminal behavior that took advantage of two vulnerable girls.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Anthony Young, a.k.a., Royalty, 30, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to an indeterminate term of eight to 16 years in prison following his guilty plea last month to one count of first-degree promoting prostitution before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. He will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between March and August 2016, Young prostituted two 14-year-old girls in Brooklyn, Hempstead, Huntington, and Westbury, New York; and Elizabeth, New Jersey, posting photos of them alongside advertisements for escort services.

The defendant rented several rooms at the Howard Johnson hotel on Rockaway Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn, as well as at other locations. Men came to the locations and paid to have sex with the girls. Furthermore, according to the investigation, Young drove the underage girls to other locations in Brooklyn, as well as Long Island and New Jersey to have sex with men for money. Young was physically violent towards both victims and they had to turn over their earnings to the defendant.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective David Mills, Detective James Rufle and Detective Adrian Campos of the Human Trafficking Team, Vice Enforcement Division, under the supervision of Lieutenant Christopher Sharpe and Captain Thomas Milano, and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein. Police Officer Tony Cuoco of the NYPD’s 75th Precinct assisted in the investigation.

Senior Intelligence Analyst Brooke Middleton of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit assisted in the investigation.

The District Attorney thanked Sergeant Patricia Gusmano, of the Special Victims Unit at the Union County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s Office for her assistance in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Edidin, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.

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Drunk Driver Sentenced to Up to 15 Years in Prison For Killing Cyclist During Citywide Bike Tour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Weekday, June 27, 2018

 

Drunk Driver Sentenced to Up to 15 Years in Prison
For Killing Cyclist During Citywide Bike Tour

Plowed into Group of Cyclists with Minivan, Wounding Three Others;
Blood Alcohol Level Measured at More Than Three Times the Legal Limit

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 40-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for driving while intoxicated and slamming into a group of cyclists in the middle of a bike tour, killing one and wounding three others.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s decision to drink and then get behind the wheel caused mayhem and the death of an avid cyclist during what was supposed to be a festive bike tour. We will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who chooses to engage in blatant criminal behavior that endangers cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Abel Antonio Pina Morocho, 40, of Borough Park, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Sharon Hudson to an indeterminate sentence of five to 15 years in prison following his guilty plea earlier this month to aggravated vehicular homicide.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on September 10, 2017 at approximately 9:05 a.m., a group of 25-30 bicyclists, who were taking part in the Citywide Bike Tour, approached the intersection of 12th Avenue and 39th Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn and stopped at a red light. The defendant, driving a Dodge Grand Caravan, was attempting to pull out of a parking spot. He struck a parked car in front of him and then drove out of the spot at a high rate of speed, striking multiple cyclists.

Nancy Pease, 55, was struck by the defendant’s minivan, fell in front of the vehicle and got lodged underneath. The defendant continued to lurch forward with the victim trapped under his car. When he finally came to a stop, witnesses pulled the defendant out of the driver’s seat and held him until police arrived, the evidence showed. The victim suffered serious injuries, including lacerations to the liver and spleen, intra-abdominal bleeding and a traumatic brain injury. She was in a coma until September 22, 2017, when she died of her injuries.

When the defendant struck the group with his car, he caused a cyclist to be thrown onto another cyclist, knocking both of them to the ground. A fourth cyclist was also knocked down and the defendant ran over his leg and his bicycle, according to the evidence. Those victims suffered scrapes, bruises and pain.

When police arrived, they observed the defendant exhibiting signs of intoxication. A breathalyzer test at the scene revealed that his blood alcohol level was .278, more than three times the legal limit of .08.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Linda Hristova, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein, Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit.

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