East Flatbush Man Indicted for Sex Trafficking of 16-Year-Old Girl

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

 

East Flatbush Man Indicted for Sex Trafficking of 16-Year-Old Girl

Indictment Marks the First Time in Brooklyn a Defendant is Charged Under
New Sex Trafficking of a Child Statute

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East Flatbush man has been charged in a 12-count indictment with sex trafficking of a child, sex trafficking, promoting prostitution and related charges for allegedly forcing a 16-year-old girl to have sex with men for money and then turn over that money to him. He’s also charged with assaulting a pregnant woman who tried to rescue the teen.

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

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jermaine Taylor, 34, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with sex trafficking of a child, sex trafficking, second- and fourth-degree promoting prostitution, third-degree rape, second- and third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He faces up to 32 years in prison if convicted of the top counts and will have to register as a sex offender. He was ordered held on bail of $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash and to return to court on August 7, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between May 1, 2018 and March 6, 2019, the defendant forced a 16-year-old girl to work as a prostitute on multiple occasions in Brooklyn and Queens. The investigation revealed that in addition to the minor victim, the defendant had multiple other girls that he promoted for prostitution for his personal gain.

It is alleged that the defendant slapped and punched the minor victim on multiple occasions and threatened to kill her when she told him she wanted to stop working as a prostitute.

Furthermore, it is alleged that a 28-year-old pregnant acquaintance of the victim and the defendant were in a vehicle together on August 6, 2018, when the woman attempted to rescue the minor victim. This attempted rescue allegedly prompted the defendant to push the pregnant woman out of his car. The defendant then allegedly struck the woman with his vehicle and fled the scene with the minor victim.

The minor victim was rescued by police on March 6, 2019 after intelligence collected by our office informed police about her whereabouts.

The sex trafficking of a child statute was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in November 2018. Under the new law, prosecutors will no longer have to prove that force, fraud or coercion was used against the underage victims and thus will spare the victims from testifying in many instances. This indictment marks the first time in Brooklyn a defendant is charged under the new sex trafficking of a child statute.

The case was investigated by Detective John Zerafa of the New York City Police Department/Federal Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force, under the supervision of Lieutenant Joseph Picarello and Captain Thomas Milano, and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein, Commanding Officer of the NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Division.

The District Attorney thanked Special Agents from the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Squad in New York, Detective Theresa Nietzel from the Erie County Sherriff’s Office, Manhattan North Fugitive Warrants division along with the Jersey City Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

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

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.

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

Long Island Man Indicted for Forging Deed in Scheme to Steal Brownstone Worth Over $1 Million from Brooklyn Homeowner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

 

Long Island Man Indicted for Forging Deed in Scheme to Steal Brownstone Worth Over $1 Million from Brooklyn Homeowner

Defendant Allegedly Transferred Ownership and Sold 80-Year-Old
Woman’s Vacant Home without her Knowledge or Consent

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Long Island man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with grand larceny and money laundering for allegedly stealing a vacant brownstone worth over $1 million in a deed fraud scheme targeting an 80-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant homeowner.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly thought he could take advantage of an elderly homeowner’s absence to steal her house and sell it before she or anyone else noticed. Brooklyn’s robust real estate market continues to be an attractive target for theft and fraud. I remain vigilant in my commitment to protecting homeowners and encourage them to protect themselves by registering with the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) so that they are automatically informed of changes made to documents associated with their property.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Craig Hecht, 51, of Mount Sinai, New York. A codefendant remains unapprehended. The defendant was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with two counts of second-degree grand larceny and two counts of second-degree money laundering. The defendant was ordered held on $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash bail and to return to court on August 14, 2019. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, Hecht and a codefendant allegedly stole the deed to 260 Clifton Place, a two-story Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone owned by an 80-year-old woman. The victim and her family lived in the residence for over three decades. In 2010, the family vacated the property after a fire made the building uninhabitable.

Hecht allegedly formed an entity called Ernestina Thomas LLC that he filed with the New York State Department of State on April 20, 2015. Ten days later, the codefendant allegedly opened a bank account called Ernestina Thomas LLC (ET). The victim did not know about or consent to any of this.

On September 18, 2015, according to the investigation, Hecht set up a closing where 260 Clifton Place was transferred to an entity called TDA Development. A deed with the victim’s forged signature, which transferred the property from her to TDA, was filed and recorded with the City Register. The bulk of the proceeds of the sale went into an ET account which the codefendant controlled.

Shortly thereafter, Hecht offered 260 Clifton Place to a prospective buyer. It is alleged that on November 5, 2015, the codefendant opened a bank account for TDA and the following day the property was transferred from TDA to the buyer at a closing for $850,000, with most of the proceeds of that sale going into the codefendant’s TDA account. From the funds allegedly stolen out of the two closings, the codefendant wired $190,000 to an account he had in Athens, Greece, withdrew another $120,000 in a series of cash withdrawals and transferred over $250,000 to an account held by Hecht’s wife.

The victim was notified of the alleged theft when a neighbor called to tell her that someone was working on the house and introduced himself as the new property owner. She then notified the District Attorney’s Office.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigators assigned to the KCDA Investigations Bureau. Supervising Financial Investigator Vincent Jones assisted in the investigation, as did Investigative Analyst Megan Carroll, both of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Linda Hristova, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, with assistance from Senior Assistant District Attorney Patrick Cappock, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Chief of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit and Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, 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

 

Four Defendants Indicted for Stealing $276,000 From Couple Who Thought They Were Buying a House in Canarsie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

 

Four Defendants Indicted for Stealing $276,000 From Couple
Who Thought They Were Buying a House in Canarsie

Defendants Showed Vacant Property That They Did Not Own and Were Not Authorized to Sell
To the Prospective Buyers, Allegedly Falsified Documents Purporting to Transfer Ownership

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that four men have been arraigned on an indictment in which they are variously charged with grand larceny, money laundering, identity theft, and other charges for allegedly conspiring to sell a vacant Canarsie house to the victims, using forged documents to conceal the fact that the homeowner was deceased, and then stealing the $276,000 that the couple paid for the property.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly engaged in an elaborate scam to steal the savings of an innocent couple. I am committed to protecting homeowners and home purchasers in Brooklyn and will now seek to hold the defendants accountable for this alleged scheme. As property values continue to rise in Brooklyn, protecting residents from fraudulent real estate schemes is a top priority.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Ramjit Jaikaran, a.k.a. A.J. Jaikaran, 55, of South Ozone Park, Queens; Colin Hill, 41, of Jamaica, Queens; Kaso Rampersad, 51, of Orlando, Florida, and Justin Codrington, 29, of New Rochelle, New York.

Defendants Jaikaran and Hill were arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joanne Quinones on April 16, 2019; defendants Rampersad and Codrington were arraigned before Justice Danny Chun on April 17, 2019 and yesterday, May 21, 2019, respectively. The defendants are variously charged, in the 20-count indictment with one count of conspiracy, one count of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of first-degree identity theft, seven counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, one count of fourth-degree conspiracy, and five counts of first-degree falsifying business records. Hill is charged with one count of practicing and appearing as an attorney at law without being admitted and registered, and Codrington is charged with one count of criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of second-degree money laundering. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count. Codrington is being held on $30,000 bail. The other defendants were released without bail. All of the defendants were ordered to return to court on June 26, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in July 2017, a married Guyanese couple who wanted to invest in Brooklyn real estate were allegedly fraudulently induced by the defendants to pay $276,000 to purchase a residential property located on East 94th Street in Canarsie, which the couple believed the defendants were authorized to sell. The property was actually owned by Ruth Adelman, who died in 1993 without a will.

It is alleged that defendant Jaikaran showed the house to the couple and claimed that it was for sale. Defendant Rampersad allegedly pretended to represent Adelman’s heir – falsely claiming that she had a son who inherited the property and was willing to sell it. Ms. Adelman did not have any children, and the person identified by the defendants as her “son” was in fact the victim of identity theft.

It is alleged that defendant Hill agreed to act as the couple’s attorney at the closing for the property on July 31, 2017. Hill is not an attorney and is not admitted to practice law in New York State.

While at the closing, it is alleged, Hill falsely claimed that Adelman’s “son” had earlier signed the contract of sale, the deed and other documents, transferring ownership of the property to the couple’s family corporation. Hill even presented them with a fraudulent death certificate for Adelman which identified her supposed son, and a fraudulent birth certificate for the “son.”

To complete the sale, the couple paid the defendants $250,000, using two bank checks for $150,000 and $125,000, along with $1,000 in cash for Hill’s “legal” fee. According to the indictment, defendant Codrington cashed the check for $150,000 using an account controlled by his company; other funds were disbursed to a company controlled by Jaikaran’s wife.

In November 2017, the couple’s family corporation was sued by Valley Capital Partners LLC, which alleged that it purchased the property from Adelman’s true heirs. One of the victims confronted defendants Jaikaran and Rampersad, in separate conversations, stating that he believed that he may have been defrauded, and, it is alleged, both defendants urged him not to report it to law enforcement.

The District Attorney thanked the New York City Sheriff’s Office for its assistance in the investigation.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau. Detective Sergeant Teresa Russo of the New York City Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, provided valuable assistance in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Kurtz, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Chief of the Real Estate Fraud Unit, Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief.

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

 

Three Luna Park Housing Corp. Officials Indicted for Conspiring to Receive Bribes, Forge Documents to Corrupt the Process by Which Mitchell-Lama Apartments are Acquired

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

 

Three Luna Park Housing Corp. Officials Indicted for
Conspiring to Receive Bribes, Forge Documents to Corrupt the
Process by Which Mitchell-Lama Apartments are Acquired

Defendants Include President and Treasurer of Board of Directors and Office Manager

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett, today announced that three women who controlled the process by which prospective buyers applied for high demand cooperative apartments at the Luna Park Housing Corporation, a Mitchell-Lama complex in Coney Island, have been named in a 78-count indictment in which they are charged with conspiracy, grand larceny, forgery and other charges, including accepting approximately $874,000 in bribes to get apartments for ineligible applicants.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly conspired to corrupt the process by which eligible prospective tenants could have access to affordable housing in Brooklyn, and then used their illegal proceeds to fund lavish lifestyles. Their alleged greed cheated people who were entitled to apartments that instead went to those willing to pay bribes.  My office, working with our law enforcement partners, will continue to root out fraud and corruption to ensure that New York’s scarce affordable housing opportunities are not corrupted by fraudsters trying to make a profit, but distributed fairly and honestly.”

Commissioner Garnett said, “Protecting affordable housing in New York City is not just about building more units but also preserving fair access to the ones we have. These defendants undercut that effort by manipulating the rules on access to affordable housing apartments in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, according to the indictment. The corruption vulnerabilities DOI found during this investigation are being addressed with the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which has already begun strengthening its oversight of City-supervised Mitchell-Lama developments. DOI thanks the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for their partnership and commitment in this important investigation.”

Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Region, said, “All around us, we see that the nation is in the grips of an affordable housing crisis. The arrests and charges announced today send an important message that this office has no tolerance for those who would undermine the administration and management of the precious few affordable housing units available for our citizens. The defendants’ alleged actions were designed to enrich themselves at the expense of New Yorkers who were denied fair access to affordable housing. HUD OIG commends the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for its committed and steadfast efforts in bringing this case forward.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Anna Treybich, 71, Irina Zeltser, 66, and Karina Andriyan, 38, all of Coney Island. They will be arraigned today on a 78-count indictment in which they are charged with fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy, second-degree grand larceny, second-degree forgery first-degree falsifying business records, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and first-degree commercial bribe receiving.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between January 1, 2013 and May 6, 2019, the defendants conspired to steal and sell the right to purchase apartments at Luna Park Housing Corporation. Luna Park is a Mitchell-Lama property in Coney Island built and operated with public funds to provide affordable cooperative housing for working families. It is a five-building complex consisting of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments housing approximately 6,000 people.

Applicants for Luna Park fell into three categories: internal applicants seeking to move from one apartment into another apartment; external applicants who had no prior ownership or occupancy at Luna Park; and succession applicants who lived with owners and sought successor ownership rights. Internal and external application waiting lists were supposed to be maintained in the order in which they were received.

Treybich and Zeltser were members of the Board of Directors of Luna Park, serving, respectively, as president and treasurer. Andriyan was the office manager of the Luna Park management office, and was tasked with maintaining all waiting lists approved by the New York City Housing Preservation and Development Corporation for all applications for apartments and processing the applications. Anyone seeking to purchase an apartment had to submit various supporting documents including income verification, and in the case of successor applicants, birth and marriage certificates and other documents proving that the applicant lived in the apartment for at least two years and had a familial relationship with the occupant who relinquished the apartment.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, Luna Park’s apartments were sold at prices significantly below market value and therefore were in high demand. The defendants allegedly abused their positions at Luna Park by accepting bribes in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $120,000 from applicants for apartments in Luna Park. In exchange for the bribes, the defendants allegedly prepared and submitted to HPD for approval false, forged and fraudulent documents, giving those who paid the bribes priority over otherwise eligible applicants. The defendants allegedly collected a total of $874,000 in cash bribes, involving the transfer of 18 apartments, over the course of the scheme, for which they were indicted. The fair market value of the 18 apartments was approximately $5 million in total.

It is alleged that the defendants identified applicants willing to pay cash bribes through word of mouth or by relying on people to recruit applicants willing to pay cash bribes.

It is alleged that, because HPD relied on the applicant screening and application review conducted by the Luna Park management office and routinely approved all applications submitted by the management office, the defendants deceived HPD into approving the applications of bribe-paying applicants by creating false, forged and fraudulent applications and supporting documents and submitting them to HPD for final approval.

Examples of the scheme are as follow:

  • On January 1, 2013, it is alleged, Zeltser solicited a cash bribe of $93,000 to help a person identified as Witness 4 purchase a three-bedroom apartment. The witness allegedly paid the defendant $10,000 every two weeks until it was paid in full by April 2014. In exchange, the defendant provided Witness 4 a pre-filled out Luna Park income affidavit and told her that in order to purchase the apartment as a successor tenant she would have to say that the tenant of record was her sister. HPD approved the application after it was provided with forged and fraudulent documents from the defendants. For example, the person giving up the apartment had a birth certificate with her mother’s name listed as Ida and her identity as Jewish. To reflect that they were sisters and had the same mother, the defendants allegedly altered the purchaser’s birth certificate to reflect that her mother’s name was Ida and her identity was Jewish, even though on the real birth certificate, the purchaser’s mother’s name is Ekaterina and she is listed as Ukrainian.
  • Between March 1 and March 16, 2015, Treybich allegedly solicited a $26,000 cash payment from a person identified as Witness 13 in exchange for helping Witness 13 purchase a three-bedroom apartment in Luna Park. Witness 13 provided Treybich with a birth certificate, a marriage certificate and a passport. Treybich allegedly altered the documents, as well as income affidavits, to reflect that the purchaser and tenant of record were brother and sister and had both lived in the apartment for at least two years.

Finally, during the execution of search warrants at the homes or storage units of the defendants, investigators recovered dozens of fur coats, designer handbags and jewelry. It is alleged that the defendants also used the cash bribes to purchase real estate, including apartments in Florida.

The District Attorney thanked HUD for its assistance in the investigation.

The case was investigated by DOI, specifically Assistant Inspector General Maria Horvat, under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General Michael Antolini, Senior Inspector General Jessica Heegan, Associate Commissioner Jay Flaherty, Deputy Commissioner / Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella and First Deputy Commissioner Daniel Cort, with assistance from DOI’s NYPD Squad of Detectives.

The District Attorney thanked KCDA Detective Investigators assigned to the Investigations Bureau for their assistance in this case, as well as KCDA Financial Investigator Ludwig Sanchez, of the Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau; and Investigative Analyst Megan Carroll and Paralegal Zachary Gitman of the Investigations Division

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Vivian Young Joo, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau and Senior Assistant District Attorney Theresa Robitaille, of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Blank, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, 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

Note: Materials presented during the press conference are available here.

 

Two Men Convicted of Murder for Bedford-Stuyvesant Courtyard Shooting That Killed Two Innocent Women Who Were Struck by Stray Bullets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 20, 2019

 

Two Men Convicted of Murder for Bedford-Stuyvesant Courtyard Shooting
That Killed Two Innocent Women Who Were Struck by Stray Bullets

Defendants Fired Total of 10 Shots into Crowd of Approximately 20 People

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two men have been convicted of murder for a July 2017 shooting that left two young, completely innocent women dead. The defendants opened fire into a crowded Bedford-Stuyvesant courtyard, striking each of the victims once.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Two innocent women, each of them a young mother, died when these defendants callously opened fire on a crowd that was peacefully gathered in a courtyard on a summer evening. The victims’ daughters will now grow up without the love and support of their mothers. We cannot allow gun violence like this to continue to wreak havoc on our communities.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Nazir Saunders, 22, of Harlem and Anthony Alexander, 19, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. They were each convicted today of two counts of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte. The defendants each face up to 50 years to life in prison when they are sentenced on June 10, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 12, 2017 at about 9:30 p.m. the defendants entered the courtyard of 750 Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is part of the Stuyvesant Gardens Houses. A group of about 20 people were hanging out at the location at the time.

The defendants started shooting, firing a total of 10 bullets, four from a .45-caliber gun and six from a .380-caliber firearm. They missed their intended targets and fatally struck two women who were in the courtyard. Chynna Battle, 21, mother of a 3-year-old daughter, was shot in the head, and Shaqwanda Staley, 29, mother of a 9-year-old daughter, was shot once in the back.

Both defendants fled the scene and were later arrested in South Carolina on October 31, 2017.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Michael Diamond, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Indicted for Critically Wounding Girlfriend and Killing Her Pregnant Friend in Axe Attack

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 17, 2019

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Critically Wounding Girlfriend
And Killing Her Pregnant Friend in Axe Attack

Allegedly Struck Victims, both Mothers, Multiple Times with an Axe
Inside Girlfriend’s Apartment Where her 4-Year-Old Daughter Was Present

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 34-year-old Brooklyn man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with murder, attempted murder and assault for an axe attack during which he allegedly hacked his girlfriend multiple times, leaving her in critical condition, and fatally struck her friend.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The brutality of this attack, which claimed the life of a pregnant mother and left a second young mother fighting for her life, is truly appalling. These horrifying alleged actions have traumatized two families and shocked our community. I intend to prosecute this case vigorously and hold the defendant responsible for the violent crimes with which he is charged.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jerry Brown, 34, of East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault. The defendant was ordered held without bail and to return to court on August 9, 2019. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 20, 2019, at approximately 1:35 a.m., the defendant allegedly attacked his 21-year-old girlfriend and her friend Savannah Rivera, 20, with an axe inside his girlfriend’s apartment in the Bushwick Houses on Flushing Avenue near Humboldt Street in East Williamsburg. His girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter was present in the apartment during the attack.

It is alleged that the defendant fatally struck Rivera, hitting her repeatedly, and hacked his girlfriend multiple times, causing a severe laceration to the back of her head and gashes to her torso, arms and throat. After the defendant left the apartment, the surviving victim made her way outside, approached an Uber car that was stopped at a traffic light and the driver called 911. She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she remains in critical condition.

The defendant surrendered to police at the 90th Precinct later that day at approximately 5:30 p.m. During an interview with investigators, the defendant confessed to attacking Rivera and stated that he threw the axe and his girlfriend’s cellphone in the building’s incinerator. He also stated that he washed blood off his hands before leaving the apartment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Howard Jackson, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Joseph Bianco, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Murder for Fatally Shooting Livery Cab Driver During Attempted Robbery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 9, 2019

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Murder for Fatally Shooting
Livery Cab Driver During Attempted Robbery

Defendant Caught on Surveillance Video Firing Weapon Inside Vehicle,
Victim, a Father of Four, Was Struck Five Times

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 27-year-old man has been found guilty of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a 35-year-old livery cab driver while attempting to rob him.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The victim in this case was a dedicated father of four who worked at a bodega during the day and then drove a cab at night to provide a better life for his family. His dreams were destroyed when this defendant needlessly shot him while trying to rob him of his hard-earned money. I am committed to keeping people safe from violence such as this, which devastates so many lives.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Unique Gray, 27, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was convicted today of first-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser. He faces up to life in prison without parole when he is sentenced on May 30, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on June 29, 2015, the defendant and another man, Tyrell Gardenhire, flagged down the victim’s cab, at approximately 12:20 a.m., and ordered him to pull over on Decatur Street near Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The defendant fatally shot the victim, Fawaz Naji, 35, inside his cab while attempting to rob him. The victim was struck five times, including in the face, the back, the arm and in his hand.

Surveillance video stills from inside the victim’s cab show the defendant, who was seated in the back seat, firing a revolver from behind the victim. He then fled the scene, leaving his cellphone inside the cab.

The defendant was apprehended in North Carolina on August 29, 2015 and extradited to Brooklyn.

The co-defendant, Gardenhire, 28, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery on March 13, 2019 and was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Bernarda Villalona, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Evelina Rene, 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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Brooklyn Woman Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison for Strangulation Death of Elderly Neighbor in East Flatbush Home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 2, 2019

 

Brooklyn Woman Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison for
Strangulation Death of Elderly Neighbor in East Flatbush Home

Victim Also Suffered Blunt Force Trauma to Her Head and Injuries to her Upper Body

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 45-year-old Brooklyn woman has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for the strangulation death of her elderly neighbor in 2017. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter last month.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant strangled to death a neighbor she once considered a close friend. My sincerest condolences to the family of this victim, a 78-year-old woman who suffered such a violent and sudden death at the hands of someone she trusted.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Tamisha Harper, 45, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. She was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser to 17 years in prison. She pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter on April 18, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, at around 9:53 p.m. on February 27, 2017, Edna Pierre-Jacques, 78, was found in a pool of blood inside her home located on Troy Avenue, in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The victim was discovered by her 16-year-old granddaughter, who then, along with her mother, alerted the victim’s husband, Frederick Pierre-Jacques, 76, who was in another room. He then performed CPR until Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived.

Another daughter of the deceased arrived at the scene and immediately went to the defendant’s home. The daughter knocked on the door but the defendant did not answer, according to the investigation. She was seen by the daughter running out the back door, getting into a car and driving away. Based on that suspicious behavior, the police were notified and searched for the defendant.

The defendant was located in New Jersey, and she later admitted to strangling the deceased.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. It was determined that the cause of death was manual strangulation. She also suffered blunt force trauma to her head and bruising on her upper body.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Olatokunbo Olaniyan, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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NYPD Officer Sentenced to 2 to 6 Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay Over $93K in Restitution for Funds Received Using His Deceased Mother’s Identity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

 

NYPD Officer Sentenced to 2 to 6 Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay Over $93K in Restitution for Funds Received Using His Deceased Mother’s Identity

Defendant Illegally Received Compensation from Pension Fund and Social Security Benefits;
Convicted of Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance for Illegally Refilling Prescription

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a New York City Police Officer was sentenced to two to six years in prison and ordered to repay over $93,000 in restitution for using his deceased mother’s identity to illegally receive benefits.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This former police officer allowed greed to overtake his principles to the point where he was willing to use his deceased mother’s identity to steal tens of thousands of dollars. He is now paying a very steep price – the loss of his job and the loss of his freedom.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Edward Ian St. Hill, 52, formerly of the NYPD’s 71st Precinct in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The defendant was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to two to six years in prison. He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second- and third-degree grand larceny, third-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon, and official misconduct on March 29, 2019. As part of his sentencing, Hill was ordered to resign from the NYPD, and pay $55,036 to the SEIU Pension Fund and $39,014 to the Social Security Administration.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant and his wife Maria Ramos, AKA Sunee St. Hill, 45, maintained the finances of the defendant’s mother, Germain St. Hill, as if she were alive for over a year and a half after she passed away on June 4, 2016. They impersonated Germain St. Hill in numerous phone calls in a vast scheme to defraud multiple financial institutions and to take possession of controlled narcotics.

The defendants caused a death certificate to be generated for Germain St. Hill that bore an incorrect Social Security number, and never notified the proper authorities to correct the error, while continuing to collect and make use of Germain St. Hill’s Social Security and pension benefit checks, which totaled more than $38,000 and $50,000, respectively. St. Hill leveraged his knowledge as an NYPD officer to generate forged NYPD paperwork, while Ramos impersonated her deceased mother-in-law in calls to various financial institutions, including the Social Security Administration and Germain St. Hill’s pension fund, to perpetuate the fraud.

Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the defendants fraudulently closed on the sale of Germaine St. Hill’s home by using falsified documents, for which they received approximately $260,000, and continued to refill Germain St. Hill’s prescription for Percocet on 14 separate occasions after she died.

Ramos pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny on March 29, 2019. She will be sentenced on May 29, 2019 by Judge Chun to five years’ probation and ordered to pay restitution of $55,036 to the SEIU pension and $73,374 to the Social Security Administration. her

The investigation was conducted by Sergeant Alex Nulman of the New York City Police Department, Internal Affairs Bureau, under the supervision of Lieutenant John Orecchia and Captain Joseph Profetta, also of the Internal Affairs Bureau.

The case was additionally investigated by Special Agents Jimmy Camilo and Neisha Samaroo of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.

KCDA Financial Investigator Shaakira Calnick, of the District Attorney’s Crimes Against Revenue Bureau, assisted in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Peter Choi, formerly of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Laura Neubauer, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kelli Muse, formerly of the Civil Rights Bureau, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Off-Duty Police Officer Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison Following Conviction for Gunpoint Robbery Of Brooklyn Man Outside of Bushwick Nightclub

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 29, 2019

 

Off-Duty Police Officer Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison
Following Conviction for Gunpoint Robbery
Of Brooklyn Man Outside of Bushwick Nightclub

Defendant Captured on Surveillance Video; Victim was Pistol Whipped and Made to Undress;
Defendant Filed False Police Report Accusing Five Innocent Individuals of a Crime

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an off-duty New York City Police Officer has been sentenced to eight years in prison. He was convicted earlier this month of assault and robbery for robbing a man of cash, jewelry, his clothing and a cellphone at gunpoint and pistol-whipping him outside of a Bushwick nightclub.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s reprehensible behavior is shocking because he was a New York City police officer at the time of the incident, yet he robbed one man and filed a false report against five others. Thankfully, a proper and thorough investigation revealed his egregious actions and he’s now been sentenced to prison. My Office will continue to protect everyone in Brooklyn and uproot corruption without fear or favor.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Anthony Delacruz, 35, formerly of the 94th Precinct in Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jane Tully to eight years in prison and three years’ post-release supervision. The defendant was convicted of one count of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree assault, one count of second-degree menacing, one count of third-degree falsely reporting an incident, and two counts of improper display of number plates. The defendant was remanded and immediately fired by the NYPD following the verdict on April 10, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on May 28, 2016 at approximately 3:30 a.m., at Wyckoff Avenue and Grove Street, near the El Mekkah Bar and Grill, officers responded to a 911 call for shots fired. Responding officers were told by then- Officer Delacruz – who did not initially identify himself as a police officer or state that he had fired his service weapon – that he was off-duty and in his personal vehicle when he was surrounded by several individuals who stole his gold chain, Rolex watch and a gold ring before they fled. Officer Delacruz said that he then chased after the perpetrators and exchanged gunfire with them, firing his gun once and that there were possibly two shots returned.

While on scene, Officer Delacruz pointed to a group of people who he said were involved in the robbery. All were taken into custody, and video evidence taken from El Mekkah Bar and Grill definitively showed that none of the men identified by Officer Delacruz were involved in the alleged robbery. The men were visible on camera in a different location from where the alleged robbery occurred.

Officer Delacruz and an unidentified accomplice were captured on video confronting another man who was hiding behind a car. The video further shows Officer Delacruz pointing his service weapon at that man.

Furthermore, according to the evidence presented at trial, the defendant, his accomplice and the man who was hiding go off camera. When they return to camera view the unidentified accomplice is carrying clothing and sneakers and he and Officer Delacruz walk away. The victim can later be seen on camera dressed only in a t-shirt, boxer shorts and with no shoes. The evidence at trial showed that the victim was pistol-whipped by the defendant and DNA recovered from the muzzle of the officer’s gun belonged to the victim. A shell casing recovered at the scene matched the defendant’s gun.

The defendant was taken to a hospital following the events. It was determined he was not in possession of his shield while armed and had an odor of alcohol on his breath, according to the evidence, and was therefore unfit for duty.

Finally, according to the evidence, on the night of the robbery the defendant had New Jersey plates that did not belong to his vehicle on his car and on a later date also had fake New Jersey plates on his car.

The District Attorney thanked the New York City Police Department’s Force Investigations Division and Internal Affairs Bureau for assisting in the investigation.

KCDA Analyst Rubby Sandoval, Senior Assistant District Attorney Jane Kim and Assistant District Attorney Aaron Nottage, Deputy Unit Chief, all of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Joyce Slevin, of the District Attorney’s Appeals Bureau, assisted in the case.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Chief of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, Senior Assistant District Attorney Mathew Midey and Assistant District Attorney Michael Solomon, both of the Grey Zone, under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, Chief of the District Attorney’s Trial Division.

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