Private Investigator and Two Others Indicted on Charges of Witness Tampering and Unlawful Surveillance for Allegedly Trying to Keep Victim of Child Sexual Assaults From Testifying Against her Alleged Abuser

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

 

Private Investigator and Two Others Indicted on Charges of Witness Tampering and Unlawful Surveillance for Allegedly Trying to Keep Victim of Child Sexual Assaults From Testifying Against her Alleged Abuser

Defendants Allegedly Recorded Compromising Images of Victim’s Family Member

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a private detective, Vincent Parco, an associate and a client have been indicted for allegedly trying to influence a woman to stop cooperating in the prosecution of a man who allegedly sexually abused her as a child.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly engaged in an illicit and disturbing scheme in an attempt to obstruct justice. They have now been exposed and I intend to hold them accountable. I would also like to commend the victim and her family for their courage in resisting the alleged extortion and reporting it to my office.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Vincent Parco, 67, of Manhattan; Tanya Freudenthaler, 41, of Manhattan; and Samuel Israel, 45, of Borough Park, Brooklyn. They were arraigned today on the indictment before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew J. D’Emic. Israel is charged with first- and second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child. All of the defendants are variously charged with second-degree unlawful surveillance, third- and fourth-degree promoting prostitution; first-degree dissemination of an unlawful surveillance image, fourth-degree tampering with a witness, and second-degree criminal contempt.

Justice D’Emic set bail at $150,000 for Israel and released Parco and Freudenthaler without bail. He ordered them to return to court on October 20, 2017.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on March 2, 2016, Israel was arrested and subsequently indicted for sexually abusing a woman when she was 12 years old. He was arraigned and bail was set at $100,000 cash or $50,000 bond, which he posted. He was offered a plea to five years’ prison and 10 years’ post-release supervision, which he rejected. An order of protection was issued forbidding him to contact the victim or her family.

In July 2016, according to the investigation, Israel hired Vincent Parco, who owns a private investigative firm, to surreptitiously record embarrassing video images of a family member of the victim to allegedly get the victim to stop cooperating against Israel. He was allegedly paid approximately $17,000.

It is alleged that on December 17, 2016, Tanya Freudenthaler, after being enlisted by Parco, lured the family member to a hotel room in Sunset Park, where she and Parco had installed video recording equipment. She allegedly also hired a prostitute, who she recorded having sex with the family member. The equipment malfunctioned, so Freudenthaler allegedly set up another encounter two days later, on December 19, 2016.

Freudenthaler hired the same prostitute for the second encounter, as well as a second prostitute. The family member was secretly recorded with both women.

On January 6, 2017, Israel appeared in court, was offered the same plea he had been offered earlier in the case, and rejected it. On January 17, 2017, the family member recorded at the hotel was approached by a stranger wearing a scarf who showed him a cell phone video of the hotel encounter and stated: “Be smart. Stop making trouble.” The family member reported the incident to the DA’s office.

Israel’s case proceeded and a trial date was set for June 26, 2017. On June 22, 2017, a stranger approached another member of the victim’s family and showed that person a cell phone containing video from the hotel.

Finally, a third person contacted the family member and allegedly offered to act as a mediator, offering to obtain the video from Israel and destroy it and to obtain a statement from Israel admitting to his crimes as “insurance” in the event the video gets released but he cautioned the family member not to report any of this to the authorities.

This was also reported to the DA’s office and on June 26, 2017, investigators from the District Attorney’s office executed a search warrant at the third party’s home and recovered the video of the hotel encounter and a statement in which Israel makes some admissions as to improperly touching the victim.

Videos of the encounter were also recovered from Parco’s office computer, pursuant to a search warrant, and he subsequently admitted that he was hired by Israel.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigator Sam Chen, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigators Michael Seminara and Phil O’Rourke and Deputy Chief William Pettie, and the overall supervision of Chief Investigator Joseph Piraino, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau. KCDA Investigative Analyst Janelle Cacopardo assisted in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Gwen Barnes of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau and Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam S. Libove, of the District Attorneys Public Integrity Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Michael Spanakos, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Mark Feldman, Senior Executive for Crime Strategies and Investigations.

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

 

East Flatbush Man Indicted for Forging Deed To Steal House from Elderly Neighbor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 18, 2017

 

East Flatbush Man Indicted for Forging Deed
To Steal House from Elderly Neighbor

Defendant Allegedly Forged Deed Transferring Ownership
Of Neighbor’s Three-Family House Worth $445,000 to Trust in His Name

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East Flatbush man has been charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument and related charges for allegedly stealing a house owned by his 84-year-old next-door neighbor by forging a deed and other documents that transferred ownership of the property to a trust in his name.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly exploited his elderly neighbor’s absence to brazenly steal her house. As Brooklyn’s real estate values continue to rise, I remain vigilant in my commitment to protect homeowners across the borough, particularly vulnerable seniors, who are all too often the target of unscrupulous individuals.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Winston Gregory Hall, also known as “Sage El,” 36, of 388 East 49th Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The defendant was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic on an indictment in which he is charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, one count of first-degree falsifying business records and one count of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on October 19, 2017. The defendant faces up to five to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between April and May of 2015, the defendant allegedly perpetrated a fraud to steal the title to 390 East 49th Street in Brooklyn, a three-family home owned by his next-door neighbor, an 84-year-old woman who lives with a family member in New Jersey.

According to the investigation, on April 16, 2015, the defendant created the Winston Gregory Hall Express Trust, of which he was the trustee. One week later, on April 23, 2015, a deed was purportedly executed by the victim, the owner of 390 East 49th Street, transferring ownership of the property to the defendant’s trust. Further, on May 8, 2015, the deed and related tax documents, also allegedly forged, were filed at the New York City Register’s Office. On May 18, 2015, the deed was recorded with the New York City Department of Finance, at which time the estimated market value of the property was $445,000.

A subsequent transfer of the property is under an ongoing investigation.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the victim stated that she does not know the defendant and never intended to transfer ownership of her home to the defendant.

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

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

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

 

Police Officer Indicted for Allegedly Assaulting Young Man In Coney Island, Then Trying to Intimidate Him after Incident Reported

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 18, 2017

 

Police Officer Indicted for Allegedly Assaulting Young Man
In Coney Island, Then Trying to Intimidate Him after Incident Reported

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a New York City Police Officer has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with misdemeanor assault and intimidating a witness for allegedly attacking a 23-year-old man in Coney Island following a verbal altercation, and later confronting him about reporting the incident.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Police officers risk their lives every day to keep us all safe. However, this defendant crossed the line by allegedly assaulting a man and later threatening him. Such conduct is not only unacceptable, it undermines public trust in our justice system and will not be tolerated in Brooklyn.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Police Officer O’Keefe Thompson, 30, who was assigned to the 60th precinct at the time of the incident. Thompson was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with one count of intimidating a witness, two counts of third-degree assault and two counts of official misconduct. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on November 29, 2017. If convicted, he faces up to one and one-third to four years in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 8, 2017, shortly after midnight, in the vicinity of Mermaid Avenue and West 32nd Street, in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the defendant, who was on duty and in uniform, ordered Raymond Crespo, 23, to pick up a plastic cup that his friend had knocked out of his hand. Crespo refused the defendant’s request and an argument ensued. It is alleged that Thompson then threw Crespo against the doorway of a nearby bodega, knocking him to the ground, before dragging him out onto the sidewalk.

It is further alleged that Crespo was motionless for a few seconds when Thompson grabbed him again, dragged him several more feet and dropped him to the ground again before stating, in sum and substance, “Don’t you know that I’m from the Ville (referring to Brownsville)?” The incident was captured on surveillance video. Following the incident, the victim went home, went to sleep and subsequently woke up with a swollen face and a headache. The victim dialed 911and was taken to Coney Island Hospital, where he was treated for swelling and bruising to the face, as well as for possible concussion symptoms. After the victim was discharged from the hospital, he filed a complaint against the defendant later that same day.

According to the investigation, the defendant was assigned the evening tour from July 8, 2017 to July 9, 2017. At the end of his tour, at approximately 2:30 a.m. on July 9, 2017, the defendant went to the victim’s neighborhood, in plainclothes, looking for him. Once the defendant spotted the victim, the defendant allegedly confronted the victim, raised his shirt and displayed a gun in his waistband to the victim, and stated, in sum and substance, “Why are you shitting on my name? Do you know what I’m going to do to you?” A crowd of bystanders successfully pushed the defendant away from the victim. This incident was also captured on surveillance video.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detectives assigned to the Brooklyn South Investigations.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney T. Peter Choi, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Joseph P. Alexis, Chief of the Trial Division.

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

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison after Pleading Guilty To Participating in Attack on Two Bedford-Stuyvesant Brothers, Killing One

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison after Pleading Guilty
To Participating in Attack on Two Bedford-Stuyvesant Brothers, Killing One

Innocent Victims Were Stabbed and Robbed on Way Home from Work

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a fifth gang member who participated in an attack that left a 23-year-old man dead and his brother injured has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter last month. Four other gang members were previously sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being convicted of robbery and murder at trial earlier this year.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Today’s sentencing brings to justice the final defendant in this harrowing case in which an innocent young man was killed and his brother was injured. We have now held all five defendants who participated in the robbery accountable and ensured they will spend many years in prison for their actions.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Celestino Martinez, 25, of Prospect Park South, in Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte to 20 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter on August 16, 2017. Four co-defendants, Carmello Bello, 28, and Miguel Bello, 34, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Javier Ortiz, 35, and Martin Carillo, 36 of Sunset Park, Brooklyn were convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery earlier this year following a jury trial before Justice Laporte. Each of the defendants was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on September 7, 2014, at approximately 1:50 a.m., on Myrtle Avenue between Marcy and Tompkins Avenues in Bedford Stuyvesant, the defendants approached and demanded money from the victims, Juan Carlos Luna-Juarez, 23, and his 27-year-old brother as they returned home from work.

When the victims did not comply, the defendants, acting together, repeatedly punched, kicked and stabbed the two victims. The defendants then stole a bike and backpack, according to trial testimony. During the attack, Juan Juarez was stabbed approximately 10 times and died as the result of a puncture wound to the heart. His brother suffered stab wounds to his leg and back and survived the injuries.

The defendants, all members of the Ninos Malos gang, were apprehended near the crime scene shortly after the attack. When they were arrested, two defendants had blood on their clothing, which was later determined to belong to the victims, and officers found a knife in the pocket of one defendant. Two additional knives were recovered from the crime scene. Defendant Miguel Bello subsequently admitted to being at the crime scene and stabbing someone, the evidence showed.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Yaniris Urraca and Leila Rosini, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and City Councilman Robert E. Cornegy Jr., Announce Safe Summer Cyberbullying Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 17, 2017

 

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and City Councilman Robert E. Cornegy Jr., Announce Safe Summer Cyberbullying Initiative

Launched by the Anti-Bullying Partnership to Prevent Violence and Suicide

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with City Councilman Robert E. Cornegy Jr., and other members of the Anti-Bullying Partnership to Prevent Violence and Suicide, today announced a street campaign to raise awareness of cyberbullying, its devastating effects and what we can all do to prevent it.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Bullies have stepped out of the schoolyard and into our children’s cyberspace. With this campaign, we’re reaching out to parents to make them aware of the tell-tale signs that may indicate if their child has fallen prey to cyberbullying. We’re hearing all too often about tragic outcomes for children who are bullied, often by anonymous online taunts, which can have devastating effects on a young person. We’ve got to put a stop to this all too real crisis.”

Councilman Cornegy said, “The perception that bullying only happens on school grounds is false. Creating a community where students feel safe is important. For years we recognized an uptick of cyberbullying through social media. This initiative is one step in the right direction for addressing cyberbullying. I’m extremely excited to collaborate with Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, community leaders, parents and students to make our dreams a reality.”

Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant President Lynette Lewis-Rogers said, “Our children are under attack and the Brownstoners will not stand for it. We spoke out against drugs and gangs and now we, together with the community members of the Partnership, are speaking out about the deadly danger of cyberbullying. We are proud to be the championing force behind the Partnership as we work together to ensure that our parents, educators, children and community are equipped to fight this battle…and we will win!”

Anti-Bullying Partnership to Prevent Violence and Suicide said, “We are in a fight for the safety of our children. It is just critical! By banding together in this partnership, we are sending the message that the entire community is ready for a sustained battle against the scourge of cyberbullying and other forms of harassment that have exploded over the past few years.”

The Anti-Bullying Partnership to Prevent Violence and Suicide, created earlier this year, is a coalition composed of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, Councilman Cornegy Jr.’s Office, Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Interfaith Medical Center, All for One, Restoration Plaza, New York City Police Department’s 79th and 81st Precincts, Thrive NYC and First Lady Chirlane McCray’s Office, New York City Commission on Human Rights and Samaritans NYC.

The Partnership has taken a multi-pronged approach to fight cyberbullying that has included community workshops for parents to promote internet safety and heighten awareness of cyberbullying, a street campaign to get local businesses involved in spreading the word about the dangers of cyberbullying and a fall campaign throughout School District 16 that will directly reach out to children.

The goals of the campaign are to help parents recognize the signs of unhealthy internet use among young people, identify community resources that are available to help them combat these issues and prevent young people from using verbal and physical violence to solve social conflicts.

Among other things, parents should be on the lookout for changes in behavior that may signal a child is being bullied such as withdrawal from friends and family, unwillingness to attend school, increased hostility, and desensitization towards violence.

The coalition has also reached out to local businesses including bodegas, nail salons and barbershops for help in promoting the campaign through the display of posters offering valuable – and in fact startling – information about cyberbullying and identifying resources where help may be obtained.

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Bronx Teen Indicted for Sexual Assaults of Four Women in Brooklyn Over the Course of Four-Hour Terror Spree in Crown Heights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

 

Bronx Teen Indicted for Sexual Assaults of Four Women in Brooklyn
Over the Course of Four-Hour Terror Spree in Crown Heights

Defendant Allegedly Attacked Victims after Following Them Home

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today that a Bronx teenager has been arraigned on a 32-count indictment in which he is charged with burglary as a sexually motivated felony, sexual abuse, forcible touching, and other charges for an alleged Crown Heights terror spree that took place over the course of four hours last month.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly terrorized four innocent women during a frightening crime spree in Crown Heights last month. Luckily, they managed to fight him off. He is clearly a danger to society and we will now seek to hold him responsible for his alleged actions.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Dennis Ofuoma, 19, of Tremont, in the Bronx. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Miller on a 32-count indictment in which he is charged with first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony, multiple counts of second-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony, first-degree sexual abuse, forcible touching and other charges. He was remanded and ordered to return to court on September 28, 2017. The defendant faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, from approximately 11:50 p.m. on July 12, 2017, to approximately 3:40 a.m. on July 13, 2017, the defendant followed four separate women into their apartment buildings and attacked them. All four of the women fought the defendant off, including one who sprayed mace at the defendant. All four attacks occurred within the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

The defendant was allegedly identified from video surveillance recovered from two of the locations and the surrounding neighborhood, and was arrested two weeks later.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Lauren Silver, and Assistant District Attorney Sarah Arena, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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

 

Crown Heights Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison For Trying to Torch Subway Booth during Robbery Attempt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

 

Crown Heights Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison
For Trying to Torch Subway Booth during Robbery Attempt

Demanded Money, Doused Gasoline and Set Fire in Station Mezzanine

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 52-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to seven years in prison for an attempted robbery of an MTA station booth employee. The defendant demanded money, doused a flammable substance and set fire in the mezzanine area, causing a dangerous smoke condition in the Eastern Parkway subway station.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant tried to rob an MTA employee who was simply doing her job and put her and the public in serious danger when he started a fire inside a subway station, making the prison term he received today appropriate and just. I am committed to protecting our dedicated transit workers, who all too often are targets of threats and violence, and will continue to ensure that those who attack them are punished.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Everett Robinson, 52, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bruce Balter to seven years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his guilty plea last month to first-degree attempted robbery.

The Acting District Attorney said that on August 12, 2016 at 10:45 p.m. inside the Eastern Parkway subway station in Crown Heights, the defendant, holding a plastic bottle, approached the booth and sprayed a liquid that smelled like gasoline into the aperture (the slot where transactions are made). He told the MTA employee, “Let me get the money or I’ll light you up,” according to the investigation.

The defendant lit up a folded shirt, but it quickly caught fire and fell to the floor before he could place it inside the aperture. The defendant then fled. The mezzanine and booth quickly filled with smoke. The fire safety system in the booth was activated, preventing the fire from spreading inside the booth and two passers-by extinguished the fire in the mezzanine. The employee suffered no injuries.

On August 16, 2016, a police officer canvassing the area outside the station with the victim identified the defendant and placed him under arrest.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Justin Marrus of the District Attorney’s Orange Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Janet Gleeson, Bureau Chief.

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Sheepshead Bay Woman Indicted for Allegedly Forging Court Order Absolving Her of Her Debts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

 

Sheepshead Bay Woman Indicted for Allegedly Forging Court Order
Absolving Her of Her Debts

Defendant Created Court Document with Judge’s Signature;
Sent it to Crediting Agencies in Attempt to Wipe out Debts Totaling Approximately $77,000

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Sheepshead Bay woman has been indicted for forgery and related charges for allegedly creating a fraudulent court order containing the signature of a Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice, which absolved her of all debts accrued during her marriage, including those from her divorce proceeding.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly perpetrated a blatant fraud to get out of paying her debts. Perhaps even worse, in doing so, she exploited the trust in our courts and violated the integrity of the judicial system. We intend to hold her fully accountable for her shameful acts.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Natalya Rosenstock, 35, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The defendant was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on three counts of second-degree forgery, three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and three counts of second-degree falsifying business records. The defendant was ordered held on $50,000 bond or $15,000 cash bail and to return to court on October 4, 2017. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant, while a litigant in a divorce proceeding before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Rachel A. Adams, allegedly created a document purportedly signed by Justice Adams, ordering the absolution of all of the defendant’s debts accrued during her marriage and resulting from her divorce. These debts totaled approximately $77,000. The forged court order further required crediting agencies to clear the defendant’s record of any negative reporting between September 5, 2009 and the date of the order, June 15, 2016. In February 2017, the defendant then allegedly faxed the order to three credit reporting agencies. According to the investigation, the validity of the forged document was convincing enough that one of the crediting agencies did, in fact, delete many of the defendant’s debts from its records.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant’s alleged fraud was discovered when one of the crediting agencies that received the bogus court order contacted one of the defendant’s lenders. The lender then contacted Brooklyn Supreme Court, inquiring about the validity of the document.

The Acting District Attorney thanked New York State Office of Court Administration Inspector General Sherrill Spatz and Investigator Joseph Kuceluk for their assistance in the investigation.

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

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Renee Welker Hassel, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Spanakos, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

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

 

Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez Dismisses 143,500 Old Summons Warrants that Subjected Residents to Arrest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

 

Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez Dismisses 143,500 Old Summons Warrants that Subjected Residents to Arrest

Vacating Summons Warrants 10 Years or Older Helps Resolve Staggering Backlog, Enhances Public Safety; Initiative by Four City DAs Follows Brooklyn’s Begin Again Program

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that, in the interest of justice, he moved to dismiss 143,532 summons warrants that were issued 10 or more years ago. The warrants in question were issued for failure to pay a ticket for a minor infraction, subjecting individuals to arrest as well as carrying other negative consequences. Today’s dismissals are part of an effort by the District Attorneys of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens who collectively dismissed nearly 645,000 old summons warrants.

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Today, we took an important step in showing our commitment to improved relations between law enforcement and the community, and our focus on violent crimes instead of petty offenses. This action allows us, the courts and the NYPD to divert resources away from low-level warrants and towards serious offenses. Most of the summonses dismissed today have been issued to poor, black and Latino individuals, many of whom may not even be aware that they have open warrants that could trigger an arrest for minor infractions dating back many years. My Office has been spearheading the effort to address the crisis of outstanding summons warrants through our Begin Again program and I am gratified that we were able to significantly slash the backlog today in a way that enhances public safety and promotes fairness.”

“For too long, old, low-level, non-violent summons warrants have put New Yorkers at risk for arrest,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “That is why, almost two years ago today, I first called on the District Attorney’s in the five boroughs to clear these warrants and I’m thrilled that today we are able to take this tremendous step forward. We are a City that believes in justice, not in supporting a broken summons system. I want to thank Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Gonzalez, Public Advocate James, members of clergy and the DA’s from the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan as we take a critical step forward to bring more justice to tens of thousands New Yorkers.”

“Too often, when a warrant is issued for a minor offense, it has a major impact on an individual’s life,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Warrants for petty crimes are disproportionately dispensed in our most vulnerable communities, where they make it even more difficult for New Yorkers to get housing, jobs, and even citizenship. By dismissing old warrants for minor offenses, District Attorney Gonzalez is taking action to prevent a minor mistake from causing a lifetime of suffering.”

“I’m happy to hear that DA Gonzalez, along with his counterparts in three other boroughs, intends to continue and expand the thoughtful, helpful policies and practices which began during the tenure of DA Thompson. This shift will give otherwise productive, law-abiding citizens a break, while, at the same, de-clogging the court dockets of an exceptionally busy judiciary. Moreover, this allows space for serious cases to be heard faster and for citizens to move on with their lives, thereby freeing them to sample more of the American dream,” said Rev. Anthony L. Trufant, Senior Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church of Brooklyn

The dismissal of the warrants poses no risk to public safety as those individuals whose warrants are being dismissed have not been arrested in the past 10 years or their warrants would have been triggered. Furthermore, the warrants stem from summonses issued for minor infractions such as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, drinking beer in public, disorderly conduct, and being in a park after dark.

The summons warrants that were dismissed today, when left unresolved, subject those who have them to an automatic arrest when questioned by police on the street or during a traffic stop. They may also carry a number of negative consequences, including impeding one’s ability to apply for citizenship, to secure employment or obtain public housing, and subject undocumented immigrants to deportation.

Approximately 143,500 warrants were dismissed in Brooklyn; 160,000 in the Bronx; 240,500 in Manhattan; and 100,000 in Queens.

In 2015, recognizing the unfairness and inefficiency of having over 1 million outstanding summons warrants citywide, the late Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson kicked off the Begin Again program in which the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office hosted warrants forgiveness events in churches to allow those with summons warrants get rid of them in a safe environment within the community. Over 3,000 New Yorkers attended these events and more than 2,100 summons warrants were vacated, with legal and social service providers at hand to offer assistance. Following the success, similar events were later held in Manhattan and the Bronx.

The movement towards drastically reducing the backlog of warrants gained momentum, culminating today following months of work with the Office of Court Administration, the New York City Police Department, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and the Speaker of the New York City Council.

The Acting District Attorney thanked all of these offices, as well as the Legal Aid Society, the Kings County Criminal Bar Association, the Public Advocate for the City of New York and clergy members for their partnership in the Begin Again program.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 10 Years in State Prison for Attempted Rape of Woman in Williamsburg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 10 Years in State Prison for
Attempted Rape of Woman in Williamsburg

Victim Rescued By Man and Stepson Passersby Who Witnessed the Attack

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today that a 31-year-old man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempting to rape a woman who was walking on a sidewalk in Williamsburg. A man and his stepson who had just exited their car witnessed the man on top of the woman and came to her aid.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I commend the men who thwarted this horrific attack and helped the police catch this violent defendant. He’s a dangerous person who has now been held accountable for his actions and removed from the streets of Brooklyn.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Todd Deas, 31, of Porter Street, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dena Douglas to 10 years in prison and 15 years’ post-release supervision. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted rape on July 18, 2017.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on October 18, 2016, at approximately 12:25 a.m., in the vicinity of White and McKibben Street, the defendant followed a 27-year-old woman as she walked along McKibben Street, trying to talk to her. The victim attempted to ignore the defendant and walk away from him when he grabbed her arm. The next thing the victim remembered was waking up in the ambulance.

A 28 year-old man and his 46-year-old stepfather, who had just parked their car, heard a disturbance and saw the woman lying on the ground and the defendant on top of her, repeatedly slamming her body onto the ground. When the men approached, the defendant stood up, tightened his pants and walked away. The older man stayed with the woman, whose pantyhose and underwear had been ripped off of one leg.

Meanwhile, the younger man pursued the defendant on foot and called 911; he flagged down a passing patrol car and canvassed the area with police. The defendant was apprehended on Harrison Place.

The woman was beaten about the face; one eye was swollen shut and the other badly bruised, she also suffered numerous cuts and scratches on her face and neck and a bone fracture of her inner neck. She had also been strangled, which left her in and out of consciousness.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Lauren Silver and Assistant District Attorney Michelle Haddad, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims’ Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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