Gang Member Who Sexually Assaulted Woman during Violent Home Invasion Robbery Sentenced To 15 Years in Prison


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, November 12, 2015

 

Gang Member Who Sexually Assaulted Woman during Violent
Home Invasion Robbery Sentenced To 15 Years in Prison

Terrorized Two Residents and Took Turns with Cohorts in Violating Victim at Gunpoint

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Brooklyn gang member was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a violent armed home invasion in which he and three others broke into a Brooklyn apartment, robbed two roommates at knife- and gun-point, then took turns sodomizing the woman while she was hogtied and blindfolded. The sentence will run consecutively with a 10-year sentence the defendant is already serving on an unrelated case for a total of 25 years in prison.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant and other gang members broke into a home, terrorized and brutalized the occupants, and repeatedly sexually assaulted an innocent woman at gunpoint while she was tied up and blindfolded. This sentence, which will run consecutively with an earlier 10-year sentence given to the defendant, reflects the horrendous and vile criminal acts that he committed and will serve to protect society from this dangerous and violent criminal.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Derrin Dyson, 21, of 1563 Pacific Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Albert Tomei to 15 years in prison, following his conviction on first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and related charges. He was found guilty on October 21, 2015 after a non-jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on the afternoon of January 30, 2012, the defendant and three accomplices – all members of the Brower Boys gang – used a cohort’s home to gain access to the roof of a building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. They disengaged the video security system, covered their faces with masks or bandanas and broke into an apartment in an adjoining building.

They used a .22 caliber revolver and knives to physically threaten the two occupants of the apartment. They blindfolded them and tied their hands behind their backs, placing the man in the bathroom and the woman on a bed in her bedroom. The defendant demanded the PIN numbers of the victims’ debit and credit cards, left the apartment and withdrew over $1,000 from the female victim’s account, according to the evidence.

When he returned, the defendant orally sodomized the victim while she was tied up on the bed with a gun to her head, after two of his accomplices had already sodomized her. Upon leaving, the perpetrators sold most of the stolen goods, including a MacBook laptop and an iPod, in a nearby deli. The male victim later identified a Movado watch that was recovered in the defendant’s bedroom as belonging to him, testimony showed. The defendant was also implicated by DNA evidence.

The District Attorney said that the three other accomplices have previously pleaded guilty to this crime. Christopher Scott, 21, was sentenced to seven years in prison, Dezhaun Samuels, 22, was sentenced to 16 years in prison and the case against the third accomplice, who was 13 at the time of the incident, was adjudicated in Family Court. Dyson is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence on an unrelated robbery and conspiracy to which he pleaded guilty on July 17, 2015. That term will run consecutively to the sentence he received today for a total term of imprisonment of 25 years.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Perkins and Assistant District Attorney Grace Brainard, under the supervision of Nicole Chavis, Chief of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau and the overall Supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Two Defendants Indicted For Targeting Immigrants in Green Card Scam


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

 

Two Defendants Indicted For Targeting Immigrants in Green Card Scam

One Allegedly Impersonated NYPD Officer, Said He Could Get Documents for a Fee

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a man and a woman have been named in an eight-count indictment in connection with a scheme in which they allegedly stole more than $8,000 from two victims by falsely promising to help them obtain green cards and other government documents. The defendants were arrested in Pennsylvania last month and extradited to Brooklyn on November 9, 2015.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants are accused of engaging in a pattern of preying on some of the most vulnerable members of our society.  It’s particularly troubling that a defendant allegedly even posed as a police officer to carry out this scheme to defraud.  As DA, I’m committed to stopping such con artists from targeting and ripping off members of our immigrant communities.”

The defendants, Richard Gomez, 44, and Marisol Mercado, 43, were apprehended in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on October 23, 2015 and returned to Brooklyn today.  Defendant Mercado was arraigned yesterday afternoon and Defendant Gomez was arraigned today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny K. Chun on an eight-count indictment in which they are charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree attempted grand larceny. Defendant Gomez is additionally charged with three counts of first-degree criminal impersonation, second-degree criminal impersonation, fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny.

If convicted on the top count, the defendants face up to seven years in prison. The defendants next court date scheduled for December 16, 2015.

According to the indictment, between June 18, 2015 and September 3, 2015, Gomez falsely claimed to be an NYPD Sergeant named “Sergeant Russo” and with the assistance of Marisol Mercado allegedly took money from the victims in exchange for Gomez’s assistance with various government documents, including green cards. The defendants also, it is alleged, claimed “Sergeant Russo” could get a liquor license for the victims’ restaurant in Bushwick.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Gomez first approached his victims seeking a donation for the New York City Police Department—to which the victims would give cash. Gomez allegedly continued this ruse to convince his victims to hand over money in exchange for his assistance with various applications to government agencies.

In one instance, Gomez allegedly secured a $2,100 loan from a victim but upon repayment the check was declined due to insufficient funds.

The indictment further alleges that in another instance, defendant Marisol Mercado called a victim demanding an additional $6,000 to fix an alleged problem with the immigration paperwork for the victim’s husband. It is alleged that Gomez threatened deportation if the victim did not pay.

If you believe you have been a victim of Immigrant Fraud, please call the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Immigrant Fraud Helpline at 718-250-3333.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detectives Edward Myles and Carl Locke of the Police Impersonation Investigation Unit, under the supervision of Lieutenant Gerard Hirschfield, and overall supervision of Deputy Commissioner Joseph J. Reznick of the Internal Affairs Bureau.

The District Attorney also thanked Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Neal Navitsky and Detective Sergeant John Hess of the Lebanon Police Department for their cooperation and assistance in the apprehension of the defendants.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jose Interiano of the District Attorney’s Immigrant Fraud Unit, under the supervision of Kin Ng, Chief of the Immigrant Fraud Unit, and Trish McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life for Fatally Shooting 16-Month-Old Baby; Accomplice Sentenced to 15 Years for Handing Him Illegal Gun


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Friday, November 6, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life for Fatally Shooting
16-Month-Old Baby; Accomplice Sentenced to 15 Years for
Handing Him Illegal Gun

Bullets Were Meant for Child’s Dad Who Was Pushing Son in Stroller

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Brooklyn man, convicted of murdering a 16-month-old boy, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, and another man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for supplying the gunman with the deadly weapon. The bullets were aimed at the victim’s father, but the shooter missed and struck the toddler, who was being pushed in a stroller.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants showed a callous disregard for human life – and now an innocent baby is dead because of their outrageous actions.  They’re not fit to remain in society and deserve every minute they’ll spend in prison.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Daquan Breland, 25, of 187 Riverdale Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn and Daquan Wright, 21, of 24 Chester Street in East New York, Brooklyn. Breland, who was convicted on July 16, 2015 of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after a jury trial, was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog to the maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Wright, who was tried with Breland and convicted of the top count he was charged with, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, was sentenced today by Judge Firetog to the maximum of 15 years in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on September 1, 2013, at about 7:20 p.m., Wright handed a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol to Breland, who fired several shots in the direction of Anthony Hennis at the intersection of Bristol Street and Livonia Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Anthony Hennis was pushing a stroller with his son, 16-month-old Antiq Hennis, sitting inside. One bullet struck the boy in the head, killing him. Both defendants fled the state and were apprehended in Pennsylvania five days after the homicide.

An eyewitness testified at trial that he saw Wright hand the gun to Breland then watched as Breland shot at Anthony Hennis as he was pushing a stroller. Breland’s former roommate testified that the defendant admitted to him shortly after the incident that he shot a rival, referring to the victim’s father by his nickname.

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

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Staten Island Contractor Indicted For Bribery


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, October 26, 2015

 

Staten Island Contractor Indicted For Bribery

Faces Up to Seven Years in Prison if Convicted

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced that the owner of a Staten Island construction company who was awarded a nearly $2.5 million contract with the School Construction Authority has been indicted for allegedly offering $3,500 in bribes to expedite payments for the work.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This indictment shows our commitment to root out and prosecute public corruption in Brooklyn. It also serves to put construction companies awarded city contracts on notice that we will fully investigate and prosecute any acts of bribery.”

Commissioner Peters said, “This charged criminal conduct is corruption at its most fundamental. But in this case, an honest employee derailed the scheme and reported the wrongdoing to the Inspector General. I commend the employee whose actions are a testament to the power of integrity, and I caution any individual who thinks bribery is a way to circumvent the rules.”

The defendant, Abdulkader Kassem Elchoum, 55, of Staten Island, was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with six counts of third-degree bribery. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on December 12, 2015. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, in or about April 2014, the School Construction Authority sought bids for a new corridor, a fire alarm upgrade, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning work at Public School 138K in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The defendant, who owns AMA Construction/NY, Inc., submitted the lowest bid of $2.478 million and was awarded the contract.

The SCA, according to the indictment, generally pays its construction contractors in installments, depending on the nature and amount of work completed. In or about early June 2015, the defendant expected a payment in the amount of approximately $163,000. On June 3, 2015, the defendant allegedly offered an SCA project officer, who was assigned to monitor the project, a bribe of $2,000 to expedite the $163,000 payment. The project officer had previously reported an improper overture and the SCA’s Inspector General’s office immediately followed up.

Furthermore, according to the indictment, between June 8, 2015 and August 10, 2015, on five separate occasions, the defendant delivered a total of approximately $3,500 in cash to the project officer, with the understanding that he would use his influence to expedite payments to AMA and limit SCA scrutiny of AMA’s work.

The investigation was conducted by SCA Inspector General Investigators William J. O’Brien and Jose Romero, under the supervision of Deputy Counsel Jason S. Herman, Assistant Inspector General John Gray, and the overall supervision of Inspector General Maria Mostajo. The Inspector General for SCA reports to DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Adam S. Libove of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Spanakos, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, 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.

Brooklyn Man Pleads Guilty to Beating 3-Year-Old Stepdaughter to Death


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Friday, October 23, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Pleads Guilty to Beating 3-Year-Old Stepdaughter to Death

Defendant to be Sentenced to 15 Years to Life in Prison

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Bushwick man pleaded guilty to the 2014 murder of his 3-year-old stepdaughter, Jeida Torres, who was fatally beaten, and to the assault of his 5-year-old stepson, Andrew Torres. The defendant is expected to be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in exchange for his guilty plea.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Beating a helpless and innocent child to death is a heinous and unforgivable crime. This defendant deserves to spend many years in prison and today’s outcome ensures that he will, while sparing the victim’s loved ones the ordeal of a painful trial.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Kelsey Smith, 21, of 38 Cooper Street, in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The defendant pleaded guilty today to the top counts of second-degree murder and second-degree assault before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. The judge set sentencing for November 6, 2015 and indicated he will sentence the defendant to 15 years to life in prison. The defendant waived his right to appeal as part of the plea.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, on October 18, 2014, at approximately 3:50 p.m., at 38 Cooper Street, which is a homeless shelter in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, the defendant called his wife, Kimberly Torres, who is the mother of Jeida and Andrew, and told her that he “[messed] up” and hit Jeida and that Jeida was not breathing. Kimberly Torres then called the police, who went to the shelter and found Jeida Torres unresponsive.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Jeida Torres was taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and was pronounced dead. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma. Andrew Torres, who was punched by Smith, was treated and released.

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Relative Sentenced to 125 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Stabbing Five Family Members


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

 

Relative Sentenced to 125 Years to Life in Prison for
Fatally Stabbing Five Family Members

Defendant Pleaded Guilty to Killing His Cousin’s Wife and Her Four Children
While Staying at Their Brooklyn Apartment

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 27-year-old man was sentenced to 125 years to life in prison for killing a mother and her four children with a cleaver. The defendant, a cousin of the woman’s husband, had been staying in the family’s Sunset Park apartment in the weeks before the 2013 attack.  

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant’s vicious and sadistic attack makes him completely unfit to remain in society and he will now spend the rest of his life behind bars.  While we will never know what drove him to commit these murders, I hope that this sentence will offer this grieving family some measure of comfort.” 

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Mingdong Chen, 27. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice following his guilty plea on October 7, 2015 to three counts of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree manslaughter. The defendant was sentenced to three terms of 25 years to life in prison for the murder counts and two terms of 25 years on the manslaughter counts, all running consecutively, for a sentence of 125 years to life in prison.  

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on October 27, 2013, Qiao Zhen Li placed a call from her apartment at 870 57th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to her mother-in-law in China, stating that the mother-in-law’s cousin had a knife and was threatening her and her family. Children were heard crying in the background before the call terminated. The mother-in-law alerted relatives in Brooklyn who rushed to the apartment. 

They encountered the defendant, a cousin of Li’s husband who had been staying in the home for about two weeks. The defendant’s clothes, hands and feet were heavily bloodstained and he was forcibly held by relatives until police arrived. Inside, cops found five victims with grievous stab wounds to the neck and head. Li, 37, her children Linda Zhuo, 9; Amy Zhuo, 7; Kevin Zhuo, 5 and William Zhuo, 1, were pronounced dead. 

The defendant was questioned by detectives in Mandarin and made statements, confessing to killing all the victims with a meat cleaver.  

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Mark Hale, formerly of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Bureau Chief. 

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New York City Police Officer Indicted for Stealing Townhouse; Allegedly Transferred Title to Bedford-Stuyvesant Property to Herself


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Monday, October 19, 2015

 

New York City Police Officer Indicted for Stealing Townhouse; Allegedly Transferred Title to Bedford-Stuyvesant Property to Herself

Faces Up to 15 Years in Prison if Convicted

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito, today announced that a New York City police officer has been indicted for allegedly stealing a neglected three-family house in Bedford-Stuyvesant by filing a deed transferring the property from the deceased owner’s nephew to herself in 2012, only to see her alleged scheme unravel when the nephew was approached by an actual potential buyer last year.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly stole a house from its rightful owner with the stroke of a pen, apparently hoping no one would notice. But her brazen actions have unraveled and she will now be held accountable. That she is a veteran NYPD officer makes this alleged crime all the more disturbing.”

Sheriff Fucito said, “The Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating real property theft and related financial crimes throughout New York City. Those who think they can simply file false documentation with the NYC Department of Finance should take notice. The Sheriff will aggressively investigate and arrest any party involved in such criminal activity.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Blanche O’Neal, 45, of 4 Vernon Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a four-count indictment in which she is charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and first-degree perjury. She was released without bail and ordered to return to court on January 6, 2016. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, on September 12, 2012, the defendant, who is an NYPD officer assigned to the 83rd precinct, executed a deed that stated that she bought the property, 23A Vernon Avenue, from the nephew of the deceased homeowner, Lillian Hudson, who died in 1993. The nephew and three other relatives inherited the property, though it sat vacant and neglected for many years.

The defendant, according to the indictment, falsely indicated in her filings with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, that she purchased the property for $10,000 from the nephew and the deed was purportedly signed by him. The Office of the City Register recorded the deed on October 11, 2012.

Furthermore, the defendant is charged with perjury. In connection with a burglary involving the property, the defendant falsely testified before a grand jury on September 29, 2014, that she owned the property.

In 2014, the nephew and the other three heirs to the house sought to sell it to an entity known as 23A Vernon LLC. That is when they discovered the 2012 deed allegedly filed by the defendant.

Finally, according to the indictment, by filing the false deed in 2012, the defendant transferred ownership of the property from the true owners to herself and thus stole title to the property.

The case was investigated by the New York City Office of the Sheriff, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Investigator Teresa Russo, under the supervision of Chief Investigator James Grayson, First Deputy Sheriff Maureen Kokeas, and the overall supervision of Sheriff Joseph Fucito.

New York City Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau, Group 31, assisted in the investigation, including Detective Michael Greenwood, under the supervision of Sergeant Linda Serrapica, Sergeant Anthony Laporta, Sergeant Feliks Ladyzhenskiy, Lieutenant Robert Bava, and Deputy Inspector Paul Babbick, under the overall supervision of Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Frank Dudis, of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, under the supervision of Richard Farrell, Unit Chief, and Felice Sontupe, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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

Owners and Manager of Brooklyn and Queens Hotels Charged With Promoting Prostitution and Falsifying Records


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, October 16, 2015

 

Owners and Manager of Brooklyn and Queens Hotels Charged
With Promoting Prostitution and Falsifying Records

Workers Allegedly Directed Johns to Prostitutes Inside Sunset Park and Flushing Hotels;
Arrested Following Undercover Investigation; Closure Orders Served on Both Hotels

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Diego G. Rodriguez, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Glenn Sorge, today announced that two owners and a manager of two sister hotels, located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens, have been variously charged with promoting prostitution and falsifying business records after an investigation revealed that employees directed clients to rooms that were occupied by sex workers.

District Attorney Thompson said, “We believe that this hotel was being used by pimps and prostitutes and that hotel workers allegedly facilitated this criminal activity. We will not tolerate prostitution-based businesses to operate in Brooklyn and create a nuisance in the community. We closed down this hotel and will hold everyone involved in illegal operations there responsible.”

Queens District Attorney Brown said, “This case is another example of the close law enforcement relationships that we have established to combat human traffickers and those who aid and abet them. Let the message be heard loud and clear that those who would profit from, assist and aid in this, one of the most heinous crimes being inflicted upon humankind, will have to answer for their crimes in a court of law.”

Attorney General Schneiderman said, “These arrests are one piece of a focused, comprehensive effort by my office and our law enforcement partners to seek out human trafficking in New York – a deplorable form of modern-day slavery. We will use every law enforcement tool at our disposal to identify and shut down hotels and other businesses that illegally profit from the trafficking of men, women, and children. Together with the expertise of District Attorney Thompson and the New York State Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking, I’m confident that we can accomplish our shared goal of ending human trafficking in our state.”

Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Field Office, Diego G. Rodriguez said, “Prostitution facilitates the activities of other criminals with direct connections to human trafficking, organized crime, and other illegal activities. The migratory nature of these crimes makes it critical for law enforcement entities to work together to tackle this widespread dilemma. The FBI continues to work with our law enforcement partners who play a role in combating this type of criminal activity.”

Glenn Sorge, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, New York said, “These arrests are part of a comprehensive effort by federal and local authorities to rid neighborhoods of businesses that contribute to prostitution which can lead to human trafficking and other crimes. HSI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to rid our neighborhoods of these deplorable activities.”

District Attorney Thompson identified the defendants as Cui Yu Li aka Lucy Li, 50, Xiao Ming Lu, 53, both of 136-05 Sanford Avenue in Queens, and Amy Vincent aka Qing Li, 43, of 723 40th Street in Brooklyn. Lu and Vincent were each charged with fourth-degree promoting prostitution, permitting prostitution and second-degree falsifying business records. They face up to a year in jail if convicted. Li was charged with permitting prostitution and second-degree criminal nuisance. She faces up to three months in jail if convicted.

Vincent was employed as the desk manager at Sunny 39 Hotel at 517 39th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. According to the investigation, on at least three different occasions she directed patrons to rooms booked by undercover police officers who were posing as a pimp and a prostitute. The rooms were booked without requesting identification or a signature as required and in one occasion the defendant accepted a $20 “tip” from the undercover.

A search warrant was executed at the hotels on October 15, 2015. Li, the principal owner, was present at the premises of Sunny 39 and was found in possession of guest receipts that showed numerous short stay rentals and has also allegedly maintained premises where unlawful prostitution openly occurred. A nuisance abatement closure orders were served on both hotels, directing the establishments be shut down.

Lu, who is Li’s husband, is the principal owner of the New Farrington Hotel at 33-53 Farrington Street in Flushing, Queens. It is alleged that he similarly directed patrons to rooms occupied by prostitutes.

District Attorney Thompson said that Sunny 39 Hotel has been the subject of numerous community complaints and 911 calls regarding prostitution. Several ads on Backpage.com for individual sex workers directed clients to the hotel and a hotel room appeared in the background of one such advertisement.

The District Attorney thanked the Queens DA’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the New York City Police Department, New York City Department of Buildings, New York State Department of Labor and New York State Workers Compensation Board for their assistance in this investigation.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigator William Pettie, Deputy Chief of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the overall supervision of Chief Investigator Richard Bellucci.

The Queens case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jessica Melton, the supervisor of District Attorney Brown’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of the Special Proceeding Bureau Deputy Chief Oscar Ruiz and Bureau Chief Anthony M. Communiello.

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

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

 

Brooklyn Handyman Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison For Murdering His Boss


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, October 15, 2015

 

Brooklyn Handyman Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison
For Murdering His Boss

Defendant Bragged on Tape That He Dismembered the Body, Which Was Never Recovered

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a former handyman who boasted about his crime on a secret audio recording has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted last month of killing and dismembering a 55-year-old Brooklyn property owner whose body was never found.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Even though we didn’t have a body, we were determined to get justice for Bruce Blackwood and his family. And that’s exactly what we did by using the defendant’s own words to convict him.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Luis Perez, 50, formerly of 983 Hancock Street, in Bushwick, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 25 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who presided over a jury trial last month in which the defendant was convicted of one count of second-degree murder.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, the victim, Bruce Blackwood, owned several properties in Brooklyn and hired the defendant to work in some of the apartments, which he was preparing to rent out. At some point, however, the victim discovered that the defendant stole the victim’s checkbook and cashed multiple checks against the victim’s account, totaling $7,700.

According to the evidence presented at trial, the victim confronted the defendant about the stolen checks on March 6, 2006, at one of the victim’s properties at 983 Hancock Street, where the defendant was living at the time. The defendant, who had a criminal history and did not want to return to prison, then killed the victim, and disposed of his body, according to 3 ½ hours of audiotape secretly recorded by the defendant’s daughter.

In the audiotape, the defendant told his daughter how he choked the victim and then used a machete to cut up his body and dispose of it in construction-grade plastic bags. He then told her that he used hospital-grade bleach to clean up the crime scene.

“It’s not about committing the perfect crime, it’s just about how well you clean it up,” the defendant boasted on the audiotape. The defendant told his daughter that he killed Mr. Blackwood to avoid going to prison for stealing his checks and cashing them, though he ultimately was convicted of that crime and was sentenced to two to four years in prison. He was arrested for the murder last year.

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

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Eight Defendants Indicted For Trafficking Weapons Across State Lines; Guns Purchased in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Then Bused to New York For Resale on the Streets of Brooklyn


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

 

Eight Defendants Indicted For Trafficking Weapons Across State Lines;
Guns Purchased in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Then Bused to New York
For Resale on the Streets of Brooklyn

112 Guns, Including 20 Assault Weapons, Purchased During Course of Investigation

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that eight men and women from three states have been charged in a 541-count indictment with conspiracy and other charges for trafficking guns purchased in Atlanta, Georgia, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and resold on the streets of Brooklyn.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants conspired to use the lax gun laws down south and elsewhere to flood the streets of our city with assault weapons and other guns, which, in the wrong hands, could have caused mayhem and massive bloodshed in our communities. We will now hold these merchants of death accountable no matter where they live.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “I commend the members of NYPD’s Firearms Investigations Unit, whose dedication to this dangerous long-term investigation not only prevented more than 100 firearms from reaching the streets of Brooklyn, but undoubtedly saved lives in the process. The NYPD will continue to work with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and our many law enforcement partners to bring to justice any individuals or criminal organizations that seek to profit from the illegal sale of firearms.”

The District Attorney said that the alleged mastermind of the trafficking ring, Michael Bassier, boasted on wiretaps that he was essentially taking advantage of lax gun laws outside of New York to bring firearms into the City.

“I’m selling them the right way and the wrong way. When I’m out of state, like in Atlanta and Georgia and all that, it’s all legal, but New York, it’s completely illegal. So when I bring (expletive) up here and sell it up here, that’s illegal,” Bassier allegedly said in a phone conversation that was intercepted via electronic surveillance.

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Michael Bassier, 31, of 1487 East 96th Street, in Canarsie, Brooklyn; Willie Ware, 26, of 1607 East 96th Street, in Canarsie, Brooklyn; Anthony Jackson, 25, of 454 Kingsborough 4th Walk, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; Jonathan Destin, 26, of 2517 Snyder Avenue, in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn; Lance Millien, 27, of 1624 Graves Road, Norcross, Georgia; Tanisha Minor, 26, of 416 Whitney Chase, Stone Mountain, Georgia; Nicole Taylor, 24, of 229 Cambridge Square, Monroeville, Pennsylvania; Terrah Moore, 22, of 5710 Rippey Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The defendants have been variously charged in a 541-count indictment with fourth-degree conspiracy; first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a firearm; first-degree criminal possession of a weapon and other related charges. The defendants were arrested and arraigned over the last week before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Murphy. Minor’s bail was set at $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash; Jackson’s bail was set at $250,000 bond or $100,000 cash; and both Destin and Bassier were remanded. The other defendants were arrested in Georgia and Pennsylvania and are pending extradition. If convicted, Bassier faces up to 25 years in prison on the top count. Ware is not in custody yet, but is being actively pursued by the NYPD.

The District Attorney said the indictment is the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the New York City Police Department’s Firearms Investigations Unit and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. Between September 2014 and September 2015 the defendants allegedly conspired to sell guns purchased in Georgia and Pennsylvania to an NYPD undercover detective in Brooklyn. The investigation included the use of intercepted electronic communications as well as physical and video surveillance. The weapons recovered during the course of the investigation include 9mm Ruger and Glock pistols, .22 caliber Walther pistols, .40 caliber Smith & Wesson pistols, .45 caliber Taurus pistols, and a variety of assault weapons including multiple .22 long rifle caliber semi-automatic Walther Model MP Uzis, .39 mm caliber semi-automatic Norinco Model SKS, 9mm Luger semi-automatic Jimenez Arms Model JA25 and others.

During the course of the investigation, it is alleged, Michael Bassier made 12 trips to Atlanta, Georgia, using Chinatown buses for transportation, including the Bus2NYC and other Chinatown bus lines. He allegedly brought up to six guns to New York from Atlanta on each trip, which were later brought to Brooklyn and sold to the undercover.

It is further alleged that Bassier made at least six trips by automobile to Pittsburgh to purchase guns which were later brought to Brooklyn and sold to the undercover.

According to the investigation, Bassier allegedly enlisted several individuals, referred to as “straw purchasers,” in the Atlanta, Georgia area to purchase firearms on his behalf from gun stores, pawn shops and street dealers. Specifically, it is alleged that Jonathan Destin of Brooklyn introduced Bassier to the Atlanta, Georgia area. Destin, Lance Millien and Tanisha Minor, both of Georgia, acted as Bassier’s primary accomplices there. Minor, Millien and Destin are alleged to have purchased firearms and to have recruited other women to purchase firearms for Bassier.

It is further alleged, that, in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area Bassier relied on Nicole Taylor and Terrah Moore, both of Pennsylvania, to purchase firearms from gun stores, pawn shops, websites and street dealers, as well as to recruit other buyers.

Furthermore, according to the investigation, once he returned to Brooklyn with the guns, Bassier arranged to sell them to the undercover. Almost all of the sales took place at a Walgreens parking lot located at Rockaway Parkway and Avenue M in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Bassier allegedly paid between $150 and $300 per gun, and paid the straw purchasers a fee of $50 per gun. The undercover paid on average between $800 and $1,200 per gun, although the assault weapons purchased by the undercover cost approximately $2,000 to $2,500. The undercover spent a total of $130,050 on the firearms purchased during the course of the investigation.

Finally, it is alleged, Bassier was aided in Brooklyn by Willie Ware, who personally sold firearms to the undercover on two occasions and by Anthony Jackson, who worked as a lookout for Bassier during firearms transactions.

The District Attorney said that prosecutors assigned to his newly created Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, working with detectives from the New York City Police Department’s Firearms Investigations Unit, have taken 553 guns off Brooklyn streets since he took office.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Charles Lennon and Detective Scott Martin of the NYPD’s Firearm’s Investigations Unit, under the supervision of Sergeant Donald Morgan, Lieutenant Michael Jennings, Captain Robert Van Houten, and Deputy Inspector Brian Gill and the overall supervision of Chief Thomas Purtell of the Organized Crime Control Bureau.

The District Attorney thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for their assistance in this matter.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Ashlyn Forde and Kathleen Murphy, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Tara Lenich, Deputy Chief for Special Investigations and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, VCE Bureau Chief and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of Investigations.

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