Manhattan Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison For Gunpoint Robbery of Off-Duty Police Officer and Three Others

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 16, 2017

 

Manhattan Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison
For Gunpoint Robbery of Off-Duty Police Officer and Three Others

Defendant and Other Man Robbed Officer and Others in Parked SUV;
Shot at Car, Wounding Officer, as Victims Drove off

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 24-year-old Manhattan man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for robbing an off-duty police officer and three others at gunpoint while they sat in a parked vehicle.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant committed a brazen gunpoint robbery that endangered the lives of a police officer and three other men. With today’s sentence, he is being held accountable and facing the consequences of his criminal actions.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Tori Saunders, 24, of Manhattan. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Ruth Shillingford to 12 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery last month.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 28, 2015, at approximately 10:15 p.m., the defendant and another individual approached a Range Rover with four men inside, that was parked on Linden Boulevard near Miller Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. The defendant and the other individual opened the vehicle’s driver’s side doors and stole cash, cell phones, jewelry and other items at gunpoint from the four victims inside the vehicle.

According to the investigation, the driver of the vehicle then attempted to leave, and the defendant and the other individual opened fire, striking the vehicle and one of the passengers, Tramaine Oxley, an off-duty police officer assigned to the New York City Police Department Housing Bureau. The driver of the vehicle drove to Brookdale Hospital, where Oxley was treated for two gunshot wounds.

The defendant and the other individual fled the scene in a blue BMW. The ensuing investigation recovered a fingerprint on the Range Rover that matched the defendant’s. Two days later, on July 30, 2015, the defendant was apprehended during a car stop in Nassau County. Oxley identified the defendant in a lineup as the assailant.

The case was investigated by Detective Michael Byrnes of the New York City Police Department Force Investigation Division.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Robert Schwartz, of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau Red Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, formerly Chief of the Red Zone, and now Chief of the District Attorney’s Trial Division.

#

 

Nine Alleged Gang Members and Associates Indicted for Stealing over $94,000 in Bank Larceny Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 16, 2017

 

Nine Alleged Gang Members and Associates Indicted for
Stealing over $94,000 in Bank Larceny Scheme

Allegedly Deposited Counterfeit Checks and Withdrew Funds before
Banks Discovered the Fraud; Charged in Four Separate Indictments

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced that nine alleged gang members and their associates have been variously charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument for allegedly stealing over $94,000 from banks by depositing counterfeit checks and withdrawing available funds before the forgery was detected.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We now know that gang members are increasingly using financial fraud to pay for their lifestyle – like they allegedly did in the simple yet very lucrative scheme charged in these indictments. We will continue to investigate and prosecute this facet of gang activity to get dangerous individuals off the streets and make sure stolen money isn’t used to fund violent acts.”

Commissioner O’Neill said, “The defendants in this case thought they could make a quick buck with some bad checks. But when you look at the balance sheet—with 241 counterfeit checks and $94,000 in illegal proceeds– you see for these nine defendants, who face up to seven years in prison, that crime doesn’t pay.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Trumane Gibbs, 23, of East Flatbush; Michael Morris, 21, of Crown Heights; Darnell Brown, 24, of Brownsville; Tevon Allen, 28, of Flatlands; Daquan Johnson, 24, of Flatbush; Timothy Brown, 23, of Ditmas Park; Jeffrey Debrosse, 27, of Midwood; Julian Hubbard, 21, of East Flatbush; and Jermel Belfast, 30, of Flatbush. Morris, Belfast, Allen, Darbell Brown and Debrosse were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The four remaining defendants are being sought. They were all variously charged in four separate indictments with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and third- and fourth-degree grand larceny. The defendants face up to seven years in prison if convicted of each of the top counts with which they are charged.

The Acting District Attorney said that during certain periods between June 2014 and March 2016, the defendants deposited a total of 241 allegedly counterfeit checks into 71 bank accounts and then made withdrawals, causing losses that exceeded $94,000, according to the indictments.

It is alleged that the defendants recruited individuals to open new accounts or provide them with personal information of existing accounts at Bank of America, TD Bank, Capital One and JP Morgan Chase. When customers deposit checks into retail accounts, these banks make a certain amount available to customers even though the checks have not cleared the institution that issued them. The defendants and co-conspirators quickly withdrew the available funds before the checks were discovered to be fraudulent, causing monetary losses to the banks (which credited the affected account holders), according to the indictments. Most of the check deposits took place at ATM locations, according to the investigation.

The investigation further revealed that Gibbs and Morris are members of a subset of the 8-Tray Crips gang called Bosses in Business; Johnson and Brown are members of the Flatbush G-Stone Crips crew; Hubbard belongs to the Folk Nation gang and some of the remaining defendants are allegedly associated with other street crews.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Cooper Gorrie of the District Attorney’s Cyber Crimes Unit, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Daniel Tibbets of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau and Chief Investigative Analyst Brian Selfon of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, under the supervision of Felice Sontupe, Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Dana Roth, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of Investigations and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.

#

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

 

Ex-Boyfriend Charged in Execution Death of Correction Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

 

Ex-Boyfriend Charged in Execution Death of Correction Officer

Victim was Ambushed in December as She Sat in Her Car

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 35-year-old man has been indicted for the murder of a New York City Correction Officer who was shot five times while sitting in her car in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn last December. The defendant’s current girlfriend has been charged with hindering prosecution.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Officer Alastasia Bryan never even had a chance to defend herself from this cowardly defendant, who allegedly ambushed her in a deliberate, cold-blooded and calculated shooting. We now intend to hold him and his current girlfriend accountable for their alleged roles in this case as we seek justice for Officer Bryan’s heartbroken family and friends.”

New York City Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte said, “The entire Correction family thanks New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, led by U.S. Marshals and the NYPD, for their time and efforts in capturing this fugitive. We also thank the Brooklyn DA for the hard work that led to this indictment in the murder of our officer.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Keon Richmond, 35, of Kensington, Brooklyn and Shirley Mejia, 24, of Paterson, New Jersey. Richmond has been indicted on one count of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Mejia has been indicted on one count each of first- and third-degree hindering prosecution. Both were arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic, who ordered Richmond held without bail and Mejia held on $50,000 bail. Both defendants were ordered to return to court on March 15, 2017. If convicted, Richmond faces up to 25 years to life in prison and Mejia faces up to seven years in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on December 4, 2016, at approximately 9:15 p.m., the victim, Alastasia Bryan, 25, was sitting in her car at the corner of Avenue L and East 73rd Street, in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn. She was preparing to drive to Rikers Island, where she worked as a Correction Officer, when she was shot five times about the body.

After shooting Officer Bryan, according to the investigation, the defendant fled the scene in a Hyundai Elantra, which had license plates registered to Mejia. It is alleged that two days after the murder, Mejia paid to have the car stored at a mechanic’s shop in New Jersey and that Richmond removed the plates. It is alleged that cell site records, surveillance video and other electronic data placed the defendant at the scene of the homicide at the time of this murder and captured his flight to New Jersey after the shooting.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Valery Paulblanc of the 63rd Precinct Detective Squad and Detective Patrick Henn of the Brooklyn South Homicide Squad.

William Power, Chief Information Officer of the District Attorney’s Information Technology Bureau, assisted in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Olatokunbo Olaniyan, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Joanna Lettieri, of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Kenneth Taub, Chief of the Homicide Bureau, and Michelle Kaminsky, Chief of the Domestic Violence Bureau.

#

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

 

East New York Man Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Fatally Bludgeoning Victim with TV Set

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

 

East New York Man Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for
Fatally Bludgeoning Victim with TV Set

Also used Crutch to Strike Victim inside Brownsville Apartment;
Identified via Blood-Stained Fingerprint

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 31-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to 18 years in state prison for repeatedly striking a 26-year-old man with a television set and a crutch inside the victim’s Brownsville apartment, causing his death.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant, who attacked the victim in his own home and left him to die, deserves to spend many years in prison for taking a young man’s life.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Delvin Garcia, 31, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog to 18 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter on January 30, 2016.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on the afternoon of September 2, 2014, Anthony Freeman, 26, was found by his girlfriend lying dead inside their apartment on Saint Marks Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was bludgeoned with a 13” box TV set and one of his own crutches, which he was using at the time; both blood-splattered items were found near the victim’s body. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

A fingerprint on the blood-stained television matched the defendant. The victim’s girlfriend identified the defendant as a person she saw riding a bike outside just before she left the apartment about two hours prior to discovering the body.

The defendant was arrested on February 17, 2015 and subsequently admitted to fighting with the defendant, hitting him with a crutch and leaving him unconscious.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Bureau Chief.

#

 

Gravesend Man Indicted for Murder of 3-Year-Old Boy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 10, 2017

 

Gravesend Man Indicted for Murder of 3-Year-Old Boy

Beating Left Victim Brain Dead, Cause of Death was Abusive Head and Neck Trauma

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Gravesend man has been indicted on murder and other charges following a recent ruling by the Office of the New York City Medical Examiner that the defendant’s beating caused the death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son, Jaden Jordan. He was previously charged with assault in December.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Jaden Jordan was a helpless, defenseless child who the defendant was supposed to be caring for. Instead, he allegedly beat him so severely that the little boy died. We are determined to see that he is held responsible for this senseless and very tragic loss.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Salvatore Lucchesse, 24, of Gravesend, Brooklyn. The defendant was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling on an indictment charging him with one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree manslaughter and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court on March 6, 2017. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the victim, Jaden Jordan, 3, was left home alone with the defendant while the victim’s mother was at work, between approximately 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., on November 28, 2016. At some point while in the defendant’s care, the toddler allegedly defecated on himself. At approximately 4:30 p.m., emergency personnel responded to the victim’s home after the defendant called 911 and reported that the child was unconscious.

The victim, found soiled and unresponsive, was taken to Coney Island Hospital and then transferred to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center where he remained after falling into a coma. Later examination revealed that Jaden had sustained severe head trauma and a fractured skull. He was removed from life support on Saturday, December 3, 2016, and died the same day. The Office of the New York City Medical Examiner last week ruled the death a homicide, finding the cause of death to be abusive head and neck trauma.

The case is being investigated by New York City Police Detective Janet Pena of the 61st Precinct Detective Squad and Detective Michael Habert of the Brooklyn South Homicide Squad.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Linda Weinman, of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Special Victim’s Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Kelly Casey, Deputy Bureau Chief, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief.

#

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

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 18 Years to Life in Prison For Fatally Shooting Man During Argument in Bushwick Nail Salon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 18 Years to Life in Prison
For Fatally Shooting Man During Argument in Bushwick Nail Salon

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 29-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for fatally shooting a man who was engaged in an argument with the defendant’s friend in a Bushwick nail salon.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “What should have ended with an argument took a tragic turn when this defendant chose to open fire inside a crowded salon in the middle of the day. The defendant now has to face the consequences of his decision that ultimately cost a man his life.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Kenneth Bryant, 29, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 18 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice. The defendant was convicted of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial last month. He also was sentenced today to an additional seven years in prison, to run consecutively to the 18 years to life, for violating his probation on a prior gun possession conviction.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on October 23, 2014, at approximately 2:20 p.m., the defendant and a friend were in a nail salon at 1165 Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The victim, Demetrius Mayo, 28, entered the salon with two friends and an argument ensued between the victim and the defendant’s friend. The argument turned physical, at which point the defendant shot the victim five times, killing him.

According to trial testimony, the defendant and his friend fled the scene, but the defendant left behind his backpack and ID. An eyewitness receiving a manicure/pedicure in the salon identified the defendant and his friend. The defendant was apprehended in Bridgeport, Connecticut on April 15, 2015 and admitted to the shooting.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Lewis Lieberman, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Krystyn Tendy, of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau Grey Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Chief of the Homicide Bureau.

#

 

Suits Owned by Late District Attorney Ken Thompson Donated to Assist Recently Released Prisoners Seeking Employment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

 

Suits Owned by Late District Attorney Ken Thompson
Donated to Assist Recently Released Prisoners Seeking Employment

Suit Drive Held in Partnership with the Metropolitan Black Bar Association,
“100 Suits for 100 Men” and others

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today joined Mrs. Lu-Shawn Thompson—widow of District Attorney Ken Thompson—as she donated 20 of the late District Attorney’s suits, as well as dress shirts, shoes and ties in support of the “Suited for Success” men’s suit drive spearheaded by the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. The clothing will assist men recently released from the Rikers Island Prison Complex as they search for and secure employment.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The late District Attorney Ken Thompson firmly believed in fairness and second chances. With today’s generous donation of his personal professional wardrobe, DA Thompson’s legacy continues on and ex-offenders are given an opportunity to present their best self as they seek gainful employment.”

Mrs. Thompson said, “My husband, the late and great Ken Thompson, would be happy to know that 20 of his suits and related clothing have been passed on to individuals seeking a better life. It is my hope and prayer that this clothing helps someone land their first significant job, obtain independence, or even improve their self-esteem. The legacy of my husband will live on through the men who will ultimately adorn his clothes and make their own marks on the world.”

Paula Edgar, Metropolitan Black Bar Association president said, “The Metropolitan Black Bar Association, as New York City’s largest black bar association, is committed to giving back to our community and advancing justice.  Our collaboration with “100 Suits for 100 Men” is a continuation of our #MBBA Gives initiative, designed to connect our members and supporters to volunteer opportunities and options for giving back.  We are grateful for collaborations with public officials in each borough to provide suits for formerly incarcerated men.  Having access to business clothing is one step towards helping these men return home prepared to look for and obtain work.  Special thanks to Lu-Shawn Thompson for her generous donation of the late Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson’s suits to this effort.”

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office partnered with the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, “100 Suits for 100 Men”, the NAACP-Mid Manhattan Branch Criminal Justice Committee and other community leaders and organizations to host the “Suited for Success” drive. The clothing drive began January 17, 2017 and will end on February 10, 2017. To date, the Office has collected 65 men’s suits and over 200 other apparel items.

The donated items will be delivered to “100 Suits for 100 Men”, a not-for-profit organization committed to reducing prison recidivism by assisting ex-offenders in finding employment and securing jobs.
For those interested in donating to the suit drive, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is accepting final suit donations on Friday, February 10, 2017 at 350 Jay Street, Brooklyn. Donations may be left in the lobby between the hours of 10a.m. and 2p.m. All other times contact: communityaffairs@brooklynda.org

#

Former Office Manager of Brooklyn Real Estate Management Firm Indicted for Allegedly Stealing over $100,000 from Employer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

 

Former Office Manager of Brooklyn Real Estate Management Firm
Indicted for Allegedly Stealing over $100,000 from Employer

Deposited Payments meant for DEP into her own Account Bearing Similar Name;
Created Bogus Website to Cover her Tracks

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a former office manager and bookkeeper of a Crown Heights real estate management company has been indicted for grand larceny, possession of a forged instrument, tax fraud and related counts for stealing over $100,000, primarily by funneling payments for water bills into her own account. The defendant allegedly created an entity called NYC Water Assessment and deposited checks payable to NYC Water into her account instead of sending them to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant was trusted to handle her employer’s accounts but, instead, she allegedly executed a calculated scheme to steal money and conducted an elaborate cover-up when questioned about the theft. We are committed to prosecuting fraud cases in Brooklyn and will seek to obtain restitution for victims whenever possible.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Christi-Ann Rique, 29, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 56-count indictment in which she is charged with second- and third-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, offering a false instrument for filing and tax fraud. She was ordered held on $10,000 bond or $5,000 cash and to return to court on April 5, 2017. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count with which she is charged.

The Acting District Attorney said that the defendant was employed for about eight years as an office manager and bookkeeper at a property management company located on Saint Marks Avenue in Crown Heights. In 2015, according to the investigation, the defendant incorporated an entity with the state’s Department of State called NYC Water Assessment, which listed her residence as the business address. She also opened two JPMorgan Chase bank accounts under that company name, which listed her residence and reflected she was the corporation’s “president.”

From April 2015 through March 2016, the defendant allegedly embezzled 51 checks totaling $84,558 from various properties managed by the real estate management firm for which she worked. The checks, payable to NYC Water, were deposited instead into her NYC Water Assessment account, the investigation found. When questioned by her employer about billing irregularities in April 2016, the defendant allegedly presented communications from NYCDEP.com, reflecting assessments on the properties.

The investigation revealed that the defendant created the NYCDEP website and created email communication associated with that made-up website. The communication alleged the City’s DEP has a “DEP Billing Assessment Program.” According to DEP, no such program exists.

The investigation also revealed that the defendant allegedly stole tenants’ money orders totaling $27,202, which were meant to pay rent, security and fines. She instructed tenants to leave the ‘pay to the order of’ line blank then filled in her name or altered the words on that line to read her name, according to the indictment. From January 2012 through June 2016, the defendant deposited 46 such altered money orders into her personal bank account.

In total, the defendant stole $111,760 from the management company, according to the indictment. She spent the money to pay for expenses such as travel, retail purchases, groceries and dining.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Desmond Brown of the NYPD Brooklyn North Grand Larceny Squad and Financial Investigator Ludwig Sanchez of the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Maria Leonardi of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.

#

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

 

Homeless Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison For Fatally Shooting Man During Robbery on Brownsville Street Corner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

 

Homeless Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison
For Fatally Shooting Man During Robbery on Brownsville Street Corner

Victim Had Received Threatening Text Messages from Defendant’s Phone

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 49-year-old homeless man was sentenced yesterday to 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting an acquaintance during a robbery on a Brownsville street corner.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant threatened the victim, then robbed and shot him to death on a street corner. This sentence ensures that he’s being held fully accountable for his brazen and needless act of violence.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Keith Brannon, 49, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced yesterday to 25 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder following a jury trial in December.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on August 8, 2015, at approximately 8:40 p.m., at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Sackman Street in Brownsville, the defendant fatally shot the victim, Christopher Tennison, 32, in the chest, while robbing him at gunpoint.

According to the investigation, a cell phone recovered from the victim at the crime scene contained threatening text messages traced to a phone in the defendant’s possession, which he later admitted to owning for several months. Following the defendant’s arrest, a gun was recovered in the room of a homeless shelter where he lived. The gun tested positive as the murder weapon.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Bernarda Villalona, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Queenie Paniagua, of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau, Green Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Homicide Bureau Chief.

#

 

Owner of Red Hook Contracting Company Charged for Allegedly Stealing Over $64,000 from NY State Workers’ Compensation Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 6, 2017

 

Owner of Red Hook Contracting Company Charged for Allegedly Stealing
Over $64,000 from NY State Workers’ Compensation Fund

Falsely Reported Sales, Hiding at least $570,000, to Depress Company’s Insurance Premiums

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that the owner of a Red Hook-based interior painting contracting company has been charged with insurance fraud, grand larceny, failure to secure workers’ compensation insurance and other charges for allegedly stealing over $64,000 from a New York State agency that provides workers’ compensation insurance coverage for employers. The defendant misreported his company’s sales, omitting over $570,000 over a five-month period to secure lower insurance premiums, which he then failed to pay.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant, the owner of a contracting company, defrauded and stole from an agency meant to protect New York’s workers. He then left his own workers, performing physical and demanding jobs, without coverage and dangerously vulnerable to the financial costs associated with workplace injury. These charges are a reflection of our commitment to protecting Brooklyn’s workers – in the construction industry and in all sectors of the borough’s economy.”

“NYSIF front-line staff are trained to look for red flags and inaccuracies, which can also result in stopping fraudulent activity before it starts,” stated NYSIF Director of Confidential Investigations John W. Dormin. “In this case, the fraudulent behavior was discovered by a thorough NYSIF auditor reviewing payroll records and reports. NYSIF will continue to use every tool at its disposal. Thank you to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office for partnering with us to root out workers’ compensation fraud.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Vasillios Georgiadis, aka William Georgiadis, 64, of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, and his company, Coronet Gotham LLC (“Coronet Gotham”), located at 142 King Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The defendants were charged today with second-degree insurance fraud, second-degree grand larceny, failure to secure workers’ compensation insurance, fraudulent practices, first-degree falsifying business records, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and making a punishable false written statement. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count with which he is charged.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on November 19, 2013, defendant Coronet Gotham submitted an application to the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) for workers’ compensation insurance, bearing the signature of defendant Georgiadis, listed as Principal, and stating that Coronet Gotham was an interior painting contracting company. NYSIF is a New York State agency that provides guaranteed workers’ compensation insurance coverage at the lowest possible cost for employers in New York State. NYSIF is required to provide coverage to any employer who seeks it and is the largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance in the State.

According to the investigation, NYSIF issued a workers’ compensation policy to Coronet Gotham, based on its application, effective November 20, 2013. Approximately seven months later, on June 23, 2014, NYSIF cancelled the policy for nonpayment of premiums. On August 21, 2014, as part of a routine audit of cancelled policies, an NYSIF auditor conducted an audit of Coronet Gotham’s gross sales for the seven month period of coverage (November 20, 2013 to June 23, 2014) to calculate any premiums owed by Coronet Gotham to NYSIF. NYSIF determines premiums for construction companies based on the company’s reported gross sales.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, during the August 21, 2014 audit, defendant Georgiadis stated that he was the sole partner for Coronet Gotham and that the company had gross sales of $58,000 for the audit period, all resulting from one contract with Stasi/Dallas Electrical Contracting Inc. (“Stasi/Dallas”), a general contracting firm for which Coronet Gotham was a subcontractor. Georgiadis showed the auditor monthly bank statements for the audit period showing total deposits of $58,000 and signed a form stating that Coronet Gotham’s sales totaled $58,000 for the audit period. Approximately three months later, on November 13, 2014, NYSIF granted Coronet Gotham a new workers’ compensation policy, for which it gave Coronet Gotham a credit of $1,090.85, based on results of the previous audit. On February 16, 2015, NYSIF canceled this policy, again for nonpayment of premium.

According to the investigation, a separate audit of Stasi/Dallas covering the period from November 20, 2013 to April 11, 2014, showed that Coronet Gotham had in fact submitted invoices to Stasi/Dallas for work performed by Coronet Gotham during that period, and that Georgiadis had cashed checks from Stasi/Dallas payable to Coronet Gotham totaling $628,278, which was over $570,000 more than the $58,000 in sales that Georgiadis had reported to NYSIF for that period. Based on this, NYSIF determined that it would not have given Coronet Gotham a credit of $1.090.85 toward the policy issued in November 2014, but would have required the defendants to pay an additional $64,842.82 – which constituted a theft of $64,842.82 from the agency.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigator John Peters, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator Michael Seminara.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Meredith McGowan, Deputy Unit Chief of the District Attorney’s Labor Fraud Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.

#

A criminal complaint is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.