Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Murder After Fatally Shooting Fellow Gang Member in Flatlands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 3, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Murder After Fatally Shooting Fellow Gang Member in Flatlands

Defendant Shot Victim As they Walked Along Street

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the shooting death of a fellow gang member who the defendant believed was stealing from other gang members.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s actions were deplorable and vicious. We will continue to go after all gang-related activities in Brooklyn that endanger the lives of our residents. The defendant will now spend virtually the rest of his life behind bars paying for his brazen behavior.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Reginald Brown, 29, of Brooklyn. The defendant was sentenced today to 25 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Harrington, following his conviction last month on second-degree murder after a jury trial.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on November 7, 2010, at approximately 12:55 a.m., near East 48th Street and Avenue J, in Flatlands, Brooklyn, the defendant, a member of the Folk Nation street gang, was walking on East 48th Street with several other alleged gang members. Brown attempted to give a handgun to one of them and instructed him to kill fellow gang member Derron Clarke, but he refused. Brown then took the gun and fired five times at Clarke, striking him once in the neck and once in the right thigh.

Brown was angered at Clarke for allegedly stealing from other gang members, according to testimony. Following a lengthy investigation, he was arrested on April 28, 2015.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Yaniris Urraca and Owen Sucoff, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief.

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Two New York City Police Detectives Indicted for Allegedly Raping Teenager in Coney Island After Placing Her Under Arrest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 30, 2017

 

Two New York City Police Detectives Indicted for Allegedly Raping
Teenager in Coney Island After Placing Her Under Arrest

Victim was Sexually Assaulted While Being Transported in Police Van, Then Released

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two New York City Police detectives have been charged in a 50-count indictment for allegedly raping a teenager in a police van in Coney Island last month after handcuffing her and placing her under arrest.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “It is incomprehensible that two veteran NYPD detectives would allegedly commit such an outrageous act. They took an oath to protect and serve, but allegedly violated that oath by raping a young woman who was in their custody. We will now seek to hold them accountable for this flagrant betrayal of public trust.”

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez identified the defendants as, Detective Eddie Martins, 37, and Detective Richard Hall, 32, who were assigned to the NYPD Brooklyn South Narcotics. The defendants were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 50-count indictment in which they are charged with first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, second-degree kidnapping, official misconduct and related counts. Martins was ordered held on $250,000 bail and Hall was ordered held on $150,000 bail. Both were ordered to return to court on January 18, 2018. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on September 15, 2017, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the defendants, who were on-duty and riding in a Dodge Caravan, working as part of a team of plainclothes detectives assigned to Brooklyn South Narcotics and conducting a buy and bust operation in the confines of the 60th Precinct, left their post without authorization and drove to Calvert Vaux Park in Gravesend, Brooklyn.

Just after 8 p.m., the officers conducted a car stop of an Infinity Coupe driven by an 18-year-old woman with two male passengers. There was a quantity of marijuana in the front seat cup holder. The officers instructed the three occupants to step out of the car and asked if they had any drugs on them, according to the investigation. The young woman responded she had marijuana and two Klonopin pills. The detectives handcuffed the woman, told her she was under arrest and would be getting a desk appearance ticket. They let her companions go and instructed them to retrieve their friend from the precinct in three hours, the evidence showed.

It is alleged that after leaving the park, the officers instructed the young woman to call her friends and tell them not to follow the minivan. Detective Martins allegedly told the young woman he and his partner are “freaks” and asked her what she wanted to do to get out of the arrest. It is alleged that Detective Martins forced the handcuffed teen to perform a sex act on him while seated in the back seat of the van as Detective Hall drove and watched through the rear view mirror. Detective Martins then allegedly raped the victim.

Furthermore, it is alleged that the defendants then stopped the van in Bay Ridge, about four miles from the park in the opposite direction of where their team was located, and switched places. Detective Martins got behind the wheel and Detective Hall got into the back seat of the van, where he allegedly forced the victim to perform a sex act on him. They then drove back to the vicinity of the 60th Precinct in Coney Island and had the victim call her friends again to tell them she was being let go. They allegedly gave her back the Klonopin pills, told her to keep her mouth shut and released her.

The victim told her friends what happened and, later that evening, was taken to Maimonides Hospital, where a sexual assault evidence collection kit was prepared. DNA recovered from the victim was a match to both of the defendants. Video surveillance shows the victim exiting the police van at approximately 8:42 p.m.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Frank DeGaetano, First Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Nasar, of the Special Victims Bureau, Senior Assistant District Attorney Prabhalya Pulim, of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Anthea Bruffee, First Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Appeals Bureau, under the supervision Assistant District Attorney Kelli Muse, Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau, and the overall supervision of 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.

Woman and Two Men Indicted for Posing as Law Enforcement and Stealing $50,000 from Chat Line Caller in Blackmail Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 27, 2017

 

Woman and Two Men Indicted for Posing as Law Enforcement and
Stealing $50,000 from Chat Line Caller in Blackmail Scheme

Allegedly Told “Lavalife” Customer he Chatted with Underage Girl;
Mastermind Orchestrated Scam while Incarcerated on Similar Charges

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a woman and two men from Brooklyn have been indicted in connection with a scheme to extort money from a caller to a telephone chat line for singles by posing as NYPD detectives and an Assistant District Attorney. The defendants allegedly called the victim shortly after he chatted with a woman, identified themselves as police detectives and told the victim he was in trouble for talking to an underage girl. They allegedly also placed calls from the purported girl’s mother and from a phony prosecutor while demanding payments – which eventually amounted to over $50,000 – in exchange for not arresting him.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly scammed an unwitting victim out of his retirement savings by posing as law enforcement officials. We are determined to put an end to these types of disgraceful schemes that prey on people’s potential embarrassment and unfamiliarity with the legal system. There may be more victims out there and so I am asking anyone who believes they have been similarly targeted to come forward by calling the DA’s Action Center at 718-250-2340.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Magdalena Nixon, 42, formerly of Crown Heights, Sandy DeWalt, 53, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Randy Jones, 49, of Brownsville. Nixon and DeWalt were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht on an indictment in which they are charged with two counts of second-degree grand larceny, three counts of second-degree coercion and one count of first-degree criminal impersonation. Jones was arraigned on the same indictment on Monday. The defendants were ordered to return to court on December 13, 2017. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the top count.

The Acting District Attorney said that the scheme involved the telephone chat line “Lavalife Voice.” Callers to that line hear a recorded message the recites terms and conditions of using the service, including a requirement that participants are over 18 years of age. They are then allowed to create a profile before connecting to other singles who are on the line and might want to chat. The defendants allegedly targeted victims by setting up a profile on the chat line, which they used to “meet” male callers and obtain their phone numbers.

It is alleged that the defendants targeted a 65-year-old Queens man who used “Lavalife” on a number of occasions before July 2015, when he talked to a woman and gave her his home phone number. Shortly after the call ended, a man who identified himself as “Detective Flynch,” from the NYPD precinct in Coney Island, called the victim and told him he had been speaking to an underage girl. The supposed “detective” told the victim that he would be arrested unless he paid various ill-defined legal fees, including a settlement to the supposed girl’s mother and the cost of “therapy” for the girl. The victim also spoke to a woman who claimed to be the girl’s mother, and agreed to accept $10,000 in exchange for a release saying she would not press charges, the investigation found.

The victim was instructed to wire payments to the fictional girl’s mother, who identified herself as “Sandy DeWalt,” and on other occasions to send money to “Randy Jones.” The evidence shows that the “mother” was Nixon and the “detectives” were Jones and Nixon’s boyfriend, DeWalt.

It is further alleged that over the following months, the victim sent $10,000, in increments, to DeWalt and Jones via Western Union and MoneyGram. He would hear regularly from “Detective Flynch,” “Detective Fletcher,” or “Detective Fletcher’s partner,” as well as from the “girl’s mother,” who provided various explanations as to why she needed more money, such as her having to miss work due to her daughter’s “therapy.” When the victim balked, the “detectives” threatened in harsh terms to expose and arrest him.

At some point, the investigation found, the phony detective began telling the victim that he had to pay court fees and costs to avoid prosecution. The victim also started getting calls from a purported female prosecutor who identified herself as “ADA Sheryl McKenzie.” That was the same name Nixon used in a previous, similar scheme for which she was convicted in 2015, and received a prison sentence of two to four years. Nixon was incarcerated on that case during the present scheme but allegedly orchestrated it from behind bars, giving detailed instructions to her alleged cohorts on what to say on the calls and how to collect the funds.

The victim continued to receive threatening calls and make payments, sending a total of approximately $50,000, until October 2016, when the fake “detective” happened to say that he worked in the 109th Precinct, in the Bronx. The already-suspicious victim, who knew the 109th Precinct is actually in Queens, then changed his phone number and filed a police report.

The case was investigated by Detective Christopher Caesar, of the NYPD’s Police Impersonations Investigation Unit, under the supervision of Sergeant Dale Persaud.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Kurtz, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Spanakos, Chief of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, 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.

 

Driver who Allegedly Crashed Car in Brooklyn Highway and Left Passenger for Dead Indicted for Murder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 26, 2017

 

Driver who Allegedly Crashed Car in Brooklyn Highway and
Left Passenger for Dead Indicted for Murder

Vehicle Exploded, Defendant Fled Scene in a Cab without Calling 911

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 23-year-old Brooklyn man has been indicted on depraved indifference murder, vehicular manslaughter and related counts for allegedly causing a car crash on the Gowanus Expressway and fleeing the scene with his passenger stranded inside the burning car, leaving her to die.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s alleged actions before and after crashing his car caused the death of a vibrant young woman who had her entire life ahead of her. He showed complete disregard for human life and for the safety of everyone using our roadways, making the very serious charges he now faces wholly appropriate.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Saeed Ahmad, 23, of Marine Park, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree murder (depraved indifference), second degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, driving while intoxicated and related counts. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court on January 12, 2018. 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, on October 13, 2017 at approximately 4 a.m., the defendant was driving an Infinity sedan, returning from a night out in Manhattan with a friend, 25-year-old Harleen Grewal.

The defendant was driving in an excessive rate of speed, attempted to pass other vehicles and crashed his car into a side barrier between the Hamilton Avenue and the Prospect Expressway exits, causing it to explode and burst into flames, the evidence showed. He got out of the burning car, got into a cab and left without calling 911 or alerting anyone that the victim was still in the vehicle. She subsequently died and her remains were recovered from the scene after the fire was put out.

The defendant was arrested later that morning and tests determined that his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was above the legal limit of .08.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Theresa Shanahan, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Blue Zone Trial Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Joseph Mancino, also of the Blue Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh, Bureau Chief.

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

 

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to Host Symposium on Campus Sexual Assault

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

 

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to Host
Symposium on Campus Sexual Assault

Partnership with Brooklyn Campuses, Community Based Organizations and
Law Enforcement to Address Sexual Violence on College Campuses

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that he will hold a symposium on Campus Sexual Assault, the first annual conference as part of the Campus Sexual Assault Response Initiative spearheaded by the Brooklyn DA’s Office. The day-long event will include speakers, a Title IX panel, a performance, a resource fair and workshops to address causes and solutions of sexual violence on campus. It will be held at Brooklyn College, at 2900 Bedford Avenue, on Friday, October 27, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Now more than ever, it is critical for us to confront the plague of sexual violence and discuss ways to uproot it from society. During the symposium on Friday, participants will engage on issues relating to Title IX, reporting of sexual violence, bystander intervention, working with LGBTQ survivors, among other important topics. It is all part of our ongoing commitment to raise awareness of and take action to combat sexual violence.”

Headlining the event is keynote speaker Bea Hanson, former Deputy Director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women and Director of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. The keynote will be followed by a facilitated discussion of emerging issues under Title IX, featuring a Title IX coordinator, a respondent attorney, a complainant attorney, a student conduct professional, and a New York State Police campus assault investigator.

Following the morning program, resource fair, performance and lunch, members of the Brooklyn Sexual Assault Task Force will host breakout workshop sessions. Topics will include: the role of the Sexual Assault Response Team (i.e. medical professionals), barriers to reporting sexual violence, working with LGBTQ survivors, nonconsensual pornography and tech abuse, bystander engagement skills among other topics relevant to addressing sexual violence on campuses.

The event is the first in an ongoing series that is planned for different campuses in Brooklyn. It is part of a comprehensive initiative, announced this spring, in which the DA’s Office and 14 higher education institutions throughout Brooklyn partner to improve a coordinated response to campus sexual assaults, enhance reporting and investigation while ensuring an appropriate, comprehensive response. The initiative’s task force works to connect every campus survivor to the comprehensive services of the Office’s Victim Services Unit, even in cases which do not result in a criminal prosecution. The DA’s Office believes that early access to complete services will enhance the investigative process while minimizing any additional trauma from involvement with the criminal justice system and ensuring that victims are fully and accurately informed as early as possible.

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Brooklyn Man Convicted of Fatally Shooting Three People in Fort Greene

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Fatally Shooting Three People in Fort Greene

Executed Two Alleged Rivals and Fatally Struck Innocent Bystander

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 33-year-old Brooklyn man was convicted of killing three people, including a 76-year-old innocent bystander, near a New York City Housing Authority Complex in Fort Greene in September 2015.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant callously executed two rivals and, as a result of his violent actions, also took the life of an elderly and completely innocent bystander. He has now been found responsible for this heinous triple homicide, an outcome that will ensure that he will no longer be out on the streets of Brooklyn.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Allen Cooper, 33, of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. He was convicted today on three counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. The defendant will be sentenced on November 14, 2017, at which time he faces a maximum sentence of 75 years to life in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on September 20, 2015, at approximately 1:45 a.m., the defendant approached Lacount Simmons, 39, and Calvin Clinkscales, 43, as they walked on Fleet Walk near the Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene and fatally shot them. Simmons was shot in the head, back and torso, and Clinkscales was shot in the head and torso. The third victim, Herbert Brown, 76, was struck in the abdomen by a stray bullet.

According to the evidence, the defendant was arrested on April 22, 2016, in an apartment in Fayetteville, North Carolina, after an anonymous caller told the New York City Police Department where he was staying. The suspect was also captured on video surveillance near the Ingersoll Houses running from the scene of the shooting.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Howard Jackson, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Sasha Pemberton, of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Crown Heights Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Shooting a Man During Ambush in Bedford-Stuyvesant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 23, 2017

 

Crown Heights Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Shooting a Man During an Ambush in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Defendant Shot Victim Five Times While He Was Starting His Car

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 29-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting a man in 2016 during an ambush in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This is another example of senseless gun violence that left a young man dead. This victim was ambushed and executed and the defendant will now spend virtually the rest of his life behind bars.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as James Faison, 29, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog to 25 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of second-degree murder last month following a jury trial.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on April 19, 2016, at approximately 10:40 p.m., the defendant ambushed the victim who was sitting in a parked car in front of 891 Hancock Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The victim, Harold Culler, Jr., 25, of, East New York, Brooklyn, was shot at two times while in the driver’s seat, and after falling out of the car on the passenger’s side the defendant shot him in the back. The final two shots were at close range and to the victim’s face. Culler, who was struck five times, was taken to Woodhull Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, the defendant was caught on surveillance camera entering and exiting 894 Hancock Street before the shooting. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Arizona on May 23, 2016, with a fake driver’s license from Ohio.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sara Kurtzberg, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Joseph Mancino, of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau Blue Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for 2004 Rape of 68-Year-Old Fort Greene Woman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 23, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for
2004 Rape of 68-Year-Old Fort Greene Woman

Cold Case DNA Hit after 2013 Arrest Led to Charges

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 47-year-old man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for raping a 68-year-old woman after breaking into her Fort Greene apartment in 2004. The defendant was charged with the rape as a result of a “cold hit” following his 2013 arrest in an attempted kidnapping case for which he was required to provide a DNA profile to the New York State DNA databank.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I hope that today’s sentence will bring a small measure of closure to the victim in this case. This defendant might have thought he got away with this brutal and vicious attack, but technology caught up with him. We will continue to use DNA and other forensic tools to bring offenders to justice.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Willie Weathers, 47, of Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Ruth Shillingford to 25 years in prison following his conviction earlier this month of first-degree rape after a jury trial. The sentence will run consecutively to a prison sentence the defendant is currently serving.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 27, 2004, at approximately 7 p.m., the defendant pushed his way into the victim’s Fort Greene, Brooklyn, apartment, breaking down her door. He strangled and raped her. Before fleeing, he took money from her dresser and ripped a chain and a bracelet off of her body.

The victim’s husband returned home from church approximately a half hour after the defendant fled, found his wife and asked a neighbor to call the police. She was taken to Brooklyn Hospital and a sexual assault evidence collection kit was administered.

The defendant was arrested on July 29, 2013, for an attempted gunpoint kidnapping and his DNA was uploaded into the New York State DNA databank and was a match for the DNA collected from the victim in the 2004 rape kit. He is presently serving 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree attempted kidnapping.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Alana Tierney and Senior Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cohen, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief.

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Mother and Daughter Indicted For Stealing over $250,000 from Staples by Obtaining more than 700 E-Gift Cards without Paying

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 19, 2017

 

Mother and Daughter Indicted For Stealing over $250,000 from
Staples by Obtaining more than 700 E-Gift Cards without Paying

Allegedly Tricked Customer Service Representatives to Void Payments;
Purchased iPads, Luxury Apparel, Shoes and More

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a mother and daughter from Brownsville, Brooklyn have been indicted on charges of computer tampering, grand larceny and falsifying business records in connection with a scheme in which they allegedly stole over 700 electronic gift cards from Staples, causing more than $250,000 in losses.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants worked persistently and shrewdly in conducting this alleged long-running scheme. We will remain vigilant in uprooting all types of fraud in Brooklyn, including those that exploit digital vulnerabilities, and will hold those who commit them accountable.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Rosemarie Barnett, 55, and her daughter Tashana Barnett, 30, both of Brownsville, Brooklyn. They were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which they are charged with one count each of first-degree computer tampering and second-degree grand larceny and six counts of first-degree falsifying business records. Bail was set at $100,000 and they were ordered to return to court on November 29, 2017.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between December 2014 and September 2016, the defendants fraudulently directed Staples employees to release over 700 e-gift cards without payment, causing a loss exceeding $250,000. Electronic e-gift cards are similar to conventional ones, but instead of being physical cards, they get emailed to the purchaser as credit that can then be redeemed at various retailers.

It is alleged that the defendants executed the scheme by creating phone orders of thousands of dollars’ worth of cards without paying, known as draft orders, and provided false billing information and various Gmail addresses that were associated with them. They then called Staples’ customer service hotline under false pretenses thousands of times, according to the investigation. They were rebuffed in almost all instances, but managed to successfully manipulate employees in some cases.

In some of those instances, the investigation revealed, they posed as customer service managers and claimed to be conducting a training exercise. Betraying knowledge of Staples’ ordering system, they instructed the representatives to override the payment requirement and to release hundreds of e-cards without payment. In other instances, they defrauded the employees into performing even exchange returns of e-cards, which effectively re-released the cards to the email addresses used by the defendants.

The defendants then allegedly used the cards at various retailers, including Target, Foot Locker, American Eagle Outfitters and Nordstrom. They purchased True Religion jeans, Ugg boots, Gucci shoes and many other luxury items and also obtained numerous units of Apple iPad Air and other electronics directly from Staples using the same scheme, according to the investigation.

The case was investigated by Detective Jackson Todd, of the NYPD’s Special Frauds Unit, and Investigative Analyst Janelle Cacopardo of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, under the supervision of Brian Selfon, Chief Investigative Analyst.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Cooper Gorrie, of the District Attorney’s Cyber Crimes Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Dana Roth, Deputy Chief of the Frauds Bureau, 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

 

Hit-and-Run Driver Sentenced to up to 15 Years in Prison For Killing Cyclist in Williamsburg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

 

Hit-and-Run Driver Sentenced to up to 15 Years in Prison
For Killing Cyclist in Williamsburg

Swerved Into Designated Bike Lane, Struck Beloved Advocate and Sped Away

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 57-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison for recklessly killing 35-year-old Queens cyclist and advocate Matthew von Ohlen, then leaving the scene of the fatal crash.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The reckless and dastardly actions of this defendant took the life of a beloved cyclist and advocate for safe streets. We cannot tolerate this kind of violent behavior by motorists and I am committed to continue doing my part in ensuring the safety of everyone who uses Brooklyn roads – drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Juan Maldonado, 57, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Mondo to the maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison following his conviction last month of second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting and reckless driving after a jury trial. The judge indicated that she will ask the Department of Motor Vehicles for a lifetime revocation of the defendant’s driving license.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 2, 2016, at approximately 2:37 a.m., the defendant was behind the wheel of a black Chevy Camaro in the vicinity of Grand Street and Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The defendant swerved into a designated bike lane on Grand Street where the victim was riding his bike, sped through a red light at an intersection and then struck the victim. According to the evidence, the defendant hit the victim’s bicycle from behind causing the victim to fall. The defendant continued driving, running over the victim and dragging him approximately 10 to 20 feet as he sped away. Part of the incident was captured on surveillance video.

The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Marquez and Stephanie Mishler of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, with the assistance of Jennifer Nocella, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit, and Craig Esswein, Bureau Chief, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Grey Zone Bureau Chief, and James Lin and Maria Park, Deputy Bureau Chiefs.

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