Defendant Who Allegedly Targeted Asian Women Indicted For Robbery as a Hate Crime and Other Charges in Six Separate Incidents



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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

 

Defendant Who Allegedly Targeted Asian Women Indicted For Robbery as a Hate Crime and Other Charges in Six Separate Incidents

Faces Up To 25 Years in Prison on Top Count

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today said that a 20-year-old man has been named in a 36-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree robbery as a hate crime and other charges for allegedly robbing five Chinese women and attempting to rob a sixth woman in separate incidents in Borough Park. The women were allegedly targeted because of their race.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly targeted Asian women walking alone because he believed he could overpower them. Such cowardly attacks – whether based on a person’s race, gender, sexuality or ethnicity, destroy the fabric of who we are as a community and won’t be tolerated.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Manuel Israel, 20, of Manhattan. He has been named in a 36-count indictment in which he is variously charged with second-degree robbery as a hate crime, second-degree robbery, third-degree robbery as a hate crime, third-degree robbery, fourth-degree grand larceny as a hate crime, fourth-degree grand larceny, second-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree assault, second-degree attempted robbery as a hate crime, second-degree attempted robbery, third-degree attempted robbery as a hate crime, third-degree attempted robbery, fourth-degree attempted grand larceny as a hate crime and fourth-degree attempted grand larceny. He will be arraigned on the indictment in Brooklyn Supreme Court at a later date. Israel was initially arrested on April 6, 2015, and ordered held on $50,000 bail following his Criminal Court arraignment.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 6, 2015, at approximately 12:20 a.m., in the vicinity of 55th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, a 23-year-old woman of Chinese descent was walking alone when the defendant allegedly approached her from behind and repeatedly pulled on her purse, causing her to fall to the ground. He then allegedly stood over her and stated: “Give me all of your money.”

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, a bystander happened upon the alleged attempted robbery and saw the defendant with his arm around the victim’s neck in an apparent struggle and called 911. Police immediately responded to the scene and apprehended Israel about 20 minutes later approximately six blocks from the scene.

Upon further investigation, the defendant was charged with five additional robberies of women of Chinese descent, ages 21 to 43, between March 21st and April 4, 2015, all in the vicinity of Fort Hamilton Parkway between 55th and 71st Streets. In each of the incidents, the defendant allegedly approached the victims from behind and pulled on their handbags, causing them to fall to the ground. It is alleged that he then grabbed the victims’ handbags and fled. Three of the victims suffered injuries, including lacerations, bruising and pain. The investigation revealed that Israel selected women of Chinese descent because he perceived them to be vulnerable to attack.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Sergeant Joe Chen of the 66th Precinct and Detective Davida Welch of the 66th Precinct Detective Squad; Detectives Marc Leonard and Robert Agron of the 68th Precinct Detective Squad and Detectives Sebastian Chichotky and Michael Diaz of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Grace Brainard, of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Damani Sims, Deputy Bureau Chief and Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, 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

 

Alleged Unscrupulous Landlords Indicted For Unlawful Eviction Of Rent Stabilized Tenants and Filing False Documents In Connection With Residential Buildings in Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg



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Thursday, April 16, 2015

 

Alleged Unscrupulous Landlords Indicted For Unlawful Eviction Of Rent Stabilized Tenants and Filing False Documents In Connection With Residential Buildings in Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg

Defendants Face Up To 15 Years in Prison for Unlawfully Trying To Force Out
Tenants In Rapidly Gentrifying North Brooklyn Neighborhoods

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that two Brooklyn landlords have been indicted on unlawful eviction and other charges for allegedly forcing or attempting to force rent-stabilized tenants out of their homes by allegedly destroying their apartments and making them uninhabitable in an effort to destabilize the apartments in order to collect significantly higher market-rate rents.

District Attorney Thompson said, “We simply will not allow the hardworking people of Brooklyn to be intimidated and harassed or have their apartments destroyed by those who seek to force them out just to make money from the lucrative real estate market. Rent-stabilized apartments are designed to protect tenants and cannot be turned into market value apartments through intimidation and fraud. It’s against the law and we will investigate and vigorously prosecute those who harass and prey on innocent tenants in Brooklyn.”

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer Darryl C. Towns said, “Bravo to our Tenant Protection Unit and the Brooklyn DA’s Office for taking strong action to protect the tenants in these buildings. Landlords who destroy apartments making them unlivable, without consideration for structural integrity or the safety and security of the tenants, will be brought to justice. Through the TPU, the Governor has charged HCR with the mission to protect vulnerable tenants from abuses by landlords who want to aggressively and illegally move apartments out of rent regulation. While we know that most landlords are committed to following the law, we must act decisively against those who brazenly break the law.”

The District Attorney said that the defendants, Joel Israel, 34, and his brother, Amrom (aka Aaron) Israel, 37, both of Borough Park, Brooklyn, have been indicted on one count of scheme to defraud, one count of second-degree burglary, three counts of third-degree grand larceny, one count of second-degree criminal mischief, three counts of unlawful eviction, three counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and three counts of first-degree falsifying business records. The defendants face up to 15 years on the top count of burglary, which is a “C” felony.

The defendants owned or otherwise directed JBI Management Inc., Linden Ventures LLC, 324 Central Avenue LLC, Salmor Realty 2, LLC and Salmor Realty LLC, which are variously charged as co-defendants in the indictment.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, as landlords and managers, Joel Israel and his brother Aaron Israel, and their companies owned or controlled at least four rent-stabilized buildings in northern Brooklyn. At several of these buildings the defendants allegedly schemed to harass tenants, evict tenants and deny tenants their property rights. The purpose of the scheme was allegedly to remove the rent-stabilized tenants from their apartments in order to make a greater profit by renting the apartments at market rate, which in some instances could be as much as four times what the rent-stabilized tenants were paying.

98 LINDEN STREET 

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendants gained control of 98 Linden Street, in Bushwick, in December 2012 by purchasing the building in the name of Linden Ventures LLC. The property was a three-story building with two two-bedroom apartments on each floor. Apartment 1R was occupied by four adults and apartment 1L was occupied four adults and two children. The monthly rent was approximately $650 to $700.

In May 2013, according to the indictment, JBI Management informed the tenants of apartments 1R and 1L that some structural work would be required and that their kitchens and bathrooms would be unavailable to them for several weeks, but that the work would include a renovation of these rooms. On June 4, 2013, the defendants and a worker allegedly visited the apartments and in one day the worker cut out portions of the kitchen floor and pulled down two bathroom walls, rendering the rooms unusable. The kitchen and bathroom were then sealed off from the rest of the apartment with a plywood partition. No further work was done and in August 2013, Aaron Israel visited the building and allegedly told the tenants they had to leave because of the building’s condition. Instead, the tenants hired a lawyer and sued the landlords. They won their case and the landlord was forced to make repairs, which began in August 2014 and continued to December 2014. During that 17-month period the families were forced to rely on a hot plate for cooking and the use of a relative’s bathroom, and in some instances, bathrooms located in local stores and restaurants.

324 CENTRAL AVENUE 

It is alleged that the defendants owned and controlled 324 Central Avenue, a three-story building in Bushwick, with two two-bedroom apartments on each floor. In 2005, a tenant began residing in apartment 3A, and in July 2013, the tenant signed a new lease with 324 Central Realty LLC, which was owned and controlled by Joel Israel. The tenant’s rent was $1050 per month. For December 2013 and January 2014 the tenant paid an agreed upon reduced rent because of problems with the heating and lighting.

It is alleged that on the morning of February 27, 2014, the tenant left the apartment for a medical appointment in the morning and returned home at approximately 11 a.m., to find a New York City Marshal blocking the entrance. The tenant called the police, and upon gaining entry to the apartment found that it was destroyed, with the kitchen and bathroom demolished and rendered unusable. The tenant filed a civil action against the defendants and won orders of repossession and repair, but the defendants never made repairs and the tenant never returned to the apartment.

It is alleged that on June 12, 2013, the defendants submitted documents to the New York City Department of Buildings for a work permit in which they falsely claimed that the building would not be occupied at the time of construction and that the building was not subject to the rent stabilization law.

300 NASSAU AVENUE 

It is alleged that the defendants controlled 300 Nassau Avenue, a three-story building in Greenpoint with two two-bedroom apartments on each floor. In September 2013, Joel Israel allegedly approached a tenant of one of the apartments and offered her $50,000 to vacate the apartment, which was a rent-stabilized unit. She declined his offer. Prior to his offer, it is alleged, in March 2013, demolition began on the second floor even though tenants still occupied apartments on the first and third floors. As a result of the continuing construction, in October 2013, the tenants lost heat. In December 2013, it is alleged, the service of utilities to 300 Nassau Avenue ceased due to the connections to the building being damaged and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development issued a vacate order for the building, forcing the remaining tenants from their homes.

It is further alleged, according to the indictment, that prior to the 2013 construction, on July 6, 2012, Joel Israel filed a work application with the New York City Department of Buildings, which stated that the building would not be occupied during the “gut renovation,” even though multiple tenants did live at that location.

15 HUMBOLDT STREET 

It is alleged that the defendants controlled 15 Humboldt Street, a four-story building in Williamsburg with two two-bedroom apartments on each floor, since at least 2010. On August 31, 2010, the defendants allegedly filed a work application with the New York City Department of Buildings seeking permission for renovation of the four floors and the cellar. The application allegedly falsely stated that none of the units would be occupied during construction and that the building was not subject to the rent stabilization law. In fact, rent-stabilized tenants were living in the building while construction was underway. Furthermore, it is alleged, the construction resulted in the use of the cellar as an illegal dwelling.

The District Attorney further stated that none of the tenants of 324 Central Avenue, 300 Nassau Avenue or 15 Humboldt Street was protected from ongoing construction by a Tenant Protection Plan, which was required by the New York City Building Code, because the defendants falsely represented to the New York City Department of Buildings that the building would be unoccupied during construction.

The NYS HCR Tenant Protection Unit, a proactive enforcement unit created by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2012 to root out fraud and corruption in the rent regulation system offered significant assistance in this investigation. The TPU’s involvement with the JBI case began after the Unit received several calls from Brooklyn-based legal services groups concerning allegations of extreme harassment and intimidation in trying to force Brooklyn tenants out of their rent-regulated apartments by creating hazardous living conditions  in many of the ten buildings owned by the landlord in Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) said, “We simply cannot allow dishonest landlords to intimidate and harass working families in a brazen attempt to ring more profit from New York’s tight real estate market.  I applaud DA Thompson for vigorously pursuing this case, Councilman Antonio Reynoso who was instrumental in drawing attention to this matter and all of the local community and housing advocacy organizations who banded together to seek justice.”

Public Advocate Letitia James said, “Safe and affordable housing is a basic right of every single New Yorker. The charges brought against the perpetrators by District Attorney Thompson shock the conscious and cannot go unpunished.  Let this be a message to all that harassment of tenants will not be tolerated, and that government will use every tool possible to defend working families and take on unscrupulous landlords – whether through the Worst Landlord’s Watchlist or criminal prosecution.”

New York City Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been said, “We will not let landlords like the Israels use unscrupulous and dangerous tactics to force their tenants out of their homes and remove existing rent-stabilized housing from the community. HPD’s aggressive legal action successfully forced Mr. Israel to repair the apartments and allow the tenants to return to their homes. Today’s indictment by District Attorney Thompson sends another clear message that owners who skirt the law and put their tenants’ lives and well-being at risk will be held accountable for their actions.”

New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said, “I would like to congratulate and thank District Attorney Thompson and his team for all their hard work on this case which has led to this indictment. I would also like to recognize the efforts of our Buildings Marshal’s Office, in particular Deputy Marshal Ryan Gobin. This sort of abuse will not be tolerated, and the Department will continue to work with our city agency partners and law enforcement to proactively investigate and identify problematic landlords that seek to undermine residents safety.”

The District Attorney thanked the following for their assistance in this matter:

The New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal, and in particular its Tenant Protection Unit; the New York City Department of Buildings; the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development; South Brooklyn Legal Services; Bushwick Housing & Legal Assistance Program; Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez; Office of Council Member Antonio Reynoso and Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigators Loretta Rolon, Jacqueline Klapak and Louis Capolupo, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of Detective Investigator Michael Seminara, and the overall supervision of Chief Richard Bellucci.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Gavin W. Miles, Real Estate Fraud Unit Chief Richard Farrell, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Felice Sontupe, 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.

 

Bushwick Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life In Prison for Stabbing Death of Girlfriend



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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

 

Bushwick Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life In Prison for Stabbing Death of Girlfriend

Victim Found In Her Bed, Beaten About the Face and With Stab Wounds to the Neck

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 43-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the stabbing death of his girlfriend. The victim was found dead in their Bushwick apartment days after the murder when her family became concerned because they could not reach her and alerted authorities.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant not only repeatedly stabbed and brutally beat his girlfriend, but he also then left her in a locked apartment to die alone. We hope that his long prison sentence will provide some comfort to Ms. Figueroa’s heartbroken family.”

District Attorney Thompson identified the defendant as Nathan Rosa, 43, of 849 Flushing Avenue in Bushwick. The defendant was today sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Ruth Shillingford to the maximum term of 25 years to life in prison. He was convicted of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon on March 23, 2015, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, in the early morning hours of April 30, 2011, the defendant and his girlfriend, Angie Figueroa, 40, returned to the apartment they shared at 101 Humboldt Street in Bushwick, and sometime after that the defendant stabbed the victim twice in the neck, lacerating her jugular vein. She had also been badly beaten about the face and head.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, the victim’s family tried to reach her without success as she did not return their telephone calls or text messages. When asked where she was, the defendant, who had with him the victim’s two Pomeranian dogs, claimed he did not know. This alarmed her family because she was never without her beloved dogs, so they called police. Ultimately, the New York City Fire Department broke down the apartment door. The victim’s body was found in bed covered by a comforter.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sabeeha Madni of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kaminsky, Bureau Chief.

 

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Cold Case Homicide Suspect Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison



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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

 

Cold Case Homicide Suspect Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison

Defendant Fled to Jamaica, West Indies, Following 1997 Murder of a 16-Year-Old Boy

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that a 45-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of a Bushwick teenager nearly 15 years ago.

District Attorney Thompson said, “The defendant was on the run for over 10 years thinking he got away with murder and cowardly living his life on the island of Jamaica. With this long prison sentence, the defendant will have plenty of time to think about the lives he destroyed, including his own.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Michael Keating, 45, of 13 Biscayne Avenue, 9 miles, Bull Bay, Jamaica, West Indies. He was sentenced yesterday by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus to 25 years to life in prison. He was convicted of second-degree murder last month following a jury trial. 

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on September 6, 1997 on Linden Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the defendant – who at the time of the incident was a 27-year-old drug dealer – accused John Eric Ogaldez’s friend of trying to take over his turf. Keating opened fire at Ogaldez’s friend, who ran away. The defendant then turned around and shot Ogaldez in the back and stomach – where he was left to die between two parked cars. Shortly afterwards, the defendant fled to Jamaica, West Indies. He was extradited back to Brooklyn to face the charges in April 2013. The jury deliberated for an hour before deciding to convict the defendant.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Phyllis Chu, Counsel to the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Chief of Homicide Bureau.

 

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Brooklyn Woman Indicted For Stealing Approximately $300,000 From 10 Friends and Acquaintances in “Affinity Scam”



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

 

Brooklyn Woman Indicted For Stealing Approximately $300,000 From 10 Friends and Acquaintances in “Affinity Scam”

Claimed She Needed Loans to Gain Access To Multi-Million Dollar Inheritance

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Bedford-Stuyvesant woman has been indicted for stealing approximately $300,000 from friends and acquaintances after telling them she inherited a multi-million dollar estate but needed money to clear encumbrances. She allegedly promised the victims a large return in exchange for the loans.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly ripped off people who trusted her because they all shared a Caribbean heritage. I would strongly urge anyone who is offered a lot of money for an alleged short-term loan to be very wary, as it is often a scam and a sure way to lose your hard-earned savings.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Lurene Elias, a.k.a., Helen Lurene Elias, 48, of Fulton Street, in Bedford-Stuyvesant. She was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which she is charged with two counts of first-degree scheme to defraud, three counts of second-degree grand larceny, five counts of third-degree grand larceny and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. The defendant was ordered held on bail of $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash and to return to court on June 24, 2015.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, from December 28, 2010 to May 15, 2013, the defendant stole money from at least 10 people, convincing them to give her money by saying that she had inherited a multi-million dollar estate but needed money to clear various encumbrances such as liens and taxes. She allegedly promised to return the borrowed money with substantial interest in a short time period, sometimes promising to double their money. The victims allegedly gave the defendant varying amounts of cash ranging from $3,000 to $105,000.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, when the victims asked for repayment, the defendant stalled and claimed that she needed more money to clear additional encumbrances and pay various fees and expenses. If they did not have more money, she urged them to reach out to family and friends for financial assistance so the encumbrances could be lifted and everyone could be paid.

To lend credibility to her story, according to the indictment, the defendant provided fraudulent documents to her victims, including an altered bank account statement reflecting a balance in excess of $13 million. Additionally, she signed and gave I.O.U.s or promissory notes to the victims.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detectives Gerard Amato and Paulette Simpson, of the District Attorney’s NYPD Squad and Financial Investigator Vincent Jones, of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Maria Leonardi and John Holmes of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Chief and 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 Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatal Crash That Left Newlywed Couple and Their Premature Infant Dead



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Monday, March 13, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatal Crash That Left Newlywed Couple and Their Premature Infant Dead

Defendant Convicted of Manslaughter for Slamming Into Livery Cab
While Speeding Through Streets of Williamsburg

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 46-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison following his conviction earlier this year on second-degree manslaughter and other charges in connection with a fatal hit-and-run in Williamsburg in 2013 that left a young couple and their premature infant dead.

The District Attorney said, “Today’s sentence shows our determination to get justice for Nathan and Raizy Glauber, and their son, Tanchem, whom the defendant killed by driving recklessly and then just walked away. Hopefully, it will help in some way to bring solace to their families.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Julio Acevedo, 46, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. The defendant was convicted of two counts of second-degree manslaughter, one count of criminally negligent homicide and two counts of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting in February, following a jury trial. The defendant faced up to 15 years in prison on the top count, but because he was deemed to be a persistent felony offender, in the Court’s discretion, based on his criminal history he received an enhanced sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, at approximately 12:15 a.m., on March 3, 2013, Acevedo, who was driving a BMW, was traveling northbound on Kent Avenue at approximately 70 miles per hour, passing cars and switching lanes on Kent Avenue when he crashed into a livery cab traveling westbound on Wilson Avenue, being driven by Pedro Nunez-Delacruz. The livery cab was easing into the intersection to make a left turn when it was struck. Backseat passengers Nathan Glauber, 21, and his wife, Raizy, also 21, who was seven-months pregnant, were killed. Their son, Tanchem, was delivered alive, but died the next day. The cab driver suffered minor injuries.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, Acevedo jumped out of his car after crashing into the livery cab, observed the carnage and then fled the scene. He was arrested by the New York City Police Department’s Warrant Squad in Pennsylvania on March 7, 2013.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gayle M. Dampf, Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Chief of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau III – Grey Zone.

 

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Three Queens Men Indicted For Trafficking Firearms and Narcotics



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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

 

Three Queens Men Indicted For Trafficking Firearms and Narcotics

Seventeen Handguns Purchased During Course of Two-Month Operation

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that three men have been arraigned on an indictment for allegedly selling firearms and crack cocaine to undercover officers over two months during an operation in Brooklyn and Queens.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This investigation highlights our continued effort to stop the influx of drugs and firearms into Brooklyn. I commend all of the undercover officers and prosecutors who worked on this case for their dedication to ending gun violence.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “I want to thank the NYPD’s Brooklyn North Narcotics Division and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for working closely together to remove these illegal firearms and narcotics from our streets. We will continue to focus our efforts on public safety and improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Everton Gonzalez, 23, of Ozone Park, Queens, and Omar Cobb, 20, of Arverne, Queens. The defendants have been variously charged with second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, second-degree conspiracy and other related charges. They were arraigned this morning before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. Gonzalez is being held on $500,000 bail and Cobb is being held on $250,000 bail. A third defendant, Zameer Khan, of Arverne, Queens, was arraigned on the indictment last month and is being held on $300,000 bail.

The District Attorney said the investigation included undercover police officers making multiple purchases of weapons and crack cocaine in the vicinity of Liberty Avenue and Drew Street in East New York, Brooklyn, and later, in the vicinity of Beach 59th Street and Larkin Avenue, in Far Rockaway, Queens.

The District Attorney said the investigation began in November 2014, when an undercover police officer allegedly made multiple gun and narcotics purchases from Gonzalez, who later allegedly sent his cousin, Cobb, to deliver the guns. The sales were later made in Queens after Cobb complained that he didn’t have a car and couldn’t get to Brooklyn, instead asking that the undercover travel to Queens to purchase the weapons. It is further alleged that Khan also acted in concert with Cobb in selling weapons and drugs, including selling 60 grams of what was purported to be crack cocaine for $3,500 to an undercover. The alleged drugs later tested negative for narcotics.

The District Attorney said that the defendants allegedly sold a wide variety of firearms to the undercover, including: a .9 mm Mac-11 assault weapon, .22 caliber Walther pistol, a .44 caliber Ruger revolver, a .9 mm Hi-Point pistol, a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, a .357 caliber Ruger revolver, a .40 point caliber Hi-Point pistol, a .38 caliber Taurus revolver, a .38 caliber Armi Fabri pistol, a .9 mm Bryco Arms pistol, a .38 caliber Argentina revolver, and others. The defendants also allegedly sold four ounces of crack cocaine and two ounces of purported crack cocaine to the undercover over the course of multiple purchases.

In addition, in executing multiple search warrants the police recovered a quantity of ammunition, a magazine for a .40 caliber firearm, a holster, forged check, books and records and marijuana.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective William Warren, Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North, under the supervision of Lieutenant William Buchanan, and the overall supervision of Inspector Joseph Kenny.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Hanna Karsevar, 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.

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 22 Years to Life in Prison for Raping 13-Year-Old Girl In Basement Laundry Room in Gravesend



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 22 Years to Life in Prison for Raping 13-Year-Old Girl In Basement Laundry Room in Gravesend

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that a 42-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 22 years to life in prison for first-degree rape and other charges for the 2013 attack of a 13-year-old girl in the basement laundry room of her Gravesend apartment building after threatening her with scissors.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This young girl’s innocence has been lost and her life forever changed as a result of this vicious attack. This defendant will now likely spend the rest of his life behind bars, where he belongs.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Bennett Castello, 42, of East 29th Street, in Midwood, Brooklyn, was sentenced yesterday to 22 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The defendant was convicted in February of two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of first-degree rape, one count of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on April 29, 2013, at approximately 3:30 p.m., in the vicinity of West 2nd Street in Gravesend, Brooklyn, the victim, a 13-year-old girl, entered her apartment building and was followed inside by the defendant. He then followed her into the elevator, pressed the button for the basement and forced her out while threatening her with scissors.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, the defendant then forced the girl into the laundry room where he groped and raped her, then threatened to kill her if she told anyone. After the defendant fled, the victim ran upstairs to her apartment, told her parents what happened and they called 911.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cohen of the District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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Former Reception Hall Waiter Sentenced To Prison For Stealing Donation Box From Borough Park Synagogue



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

 

Former Reception Hall Waiter Sentenced To Prison For Stealing Donation Box From Borough Park Synagogue

Defendant Received Two to Four Years in Prison for Burglarizing Former Employer

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Bensonhurst man has been sentenced to two to four years in prison for burglarizing a Borough Park synagogue which had once employed him as a waiter at its reception hall.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant used his position as a former employee to steal from a house of worship. He will now pay the price for his shameful conduct.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Peter Podziewski, 23, of 1818 79th Street, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The defendant was today sentenced to an indeterminate term of two to four years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram. The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree burglary before Justice Ingram on March 17, 2015.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on March 23, 2014, the defendant and another man, Daniel Roscher, entered Congregation Beth Jacob located at 5610 12th Avenue, in Borough Park, and stole a donation box by ripping it off of a wall. Both men had formerly worked as waiters at a reception hall affiliated with the synagogue.

Roscher, 25, of 1491 Shore Parkway, in Bensonhurst, pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary for his part in the incident last July and was sentenced to one to three years in prison. That sentence is to run concurrent to a five-year sentence he received at the same time for an unrelated case in which he pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Mark Berkowitz, of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau V – Orange Zone, under the supervision of Thomas C. Ridges, Chief.

 

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City Adult Protective Services Employee Charged In $214,000 Theft



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, April 3, 2015

 

City Adult Protective Services Employee Charged In $214,000 Theft From 94-Year-Old Woman in Her Care

Case Manager Used Online Banking To Steal From Greenpoint Woman’s Accounts

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and Philip R. Bartlett, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, today announced that a case manager with the city’s Adult Protective Services has been charged with looting her 94-year-old client’s bank accounts of more than $214,000.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant was entrusted by the city to help an elderly woman live safely at home. Instead, she allegedly defrauded the victim in a shameful act of greed and deception against a 94-year old woman.”

Inspector-in-Charge Bartlett said, “The defendant used her position of trust as a Case Worker for Adult Protective Services to allegedly steal from the very person placed in her care. Her alleged conduct is heartless, despicable and will not be tolerated. She will be held accountable for her actions.”

District Attorney Thompson identified the defendant as Cecile Davidson, 50, of 117-21 164th Street in Jamaica, Queens, and of Conyers, Georgia. She was arrested in Georgia, returned to New York and arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jo Ann Ferdinand. In the 51-count indictment the defendant is charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree identity theft. The defendant was remanded. She is to return to court on May 8, 2015. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

District Attorney Thompson said that, according to the indictment, Davidson has been employed since July 9, 2012 as a case manager for Village Care of New York, a sub-contractor for Adult Protective Services, a program run by the city’s Human Resources Administration.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the victim was a client of APS at Village Care from January 10, 2013 to September 13, 2013 and from January 24, 2014 to September 8, 2014, and Davidson was her case manager during both periods.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, online banking was established to access the victim’s accounts at Capital One Bank on July 23, 2013 and a debit card was sent to the residence in Greenpoint. After online banking was established, it is alleged, $105,851.34 in online checks were issued from the account in the name of Davidson and a day care center in Georgia where Davidson previously worked, and mailed to Davidson’s Post Office box in Brooklyn.

Davidson allegedly also used the debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs and purchase Postal Service money orders at U.S. Post Office locations in transactions totaling $67,366.43. The money orders were made out to Davidson’s relatives and other people connected to her in Georgia.

Investigators at Capital One alerted the Postal Service to the debit card purchases of money orders, and a Postal Inspector reviewed surveillance recordings at Post Offices and stores where the victim’s debit card was used and determined that Davidson had used it.

The District Attorney would like to thank Major Case Investigator at Capital One Peter D’Angelo, U.S. Postal Inspector Joseph Marcus and the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force for their assistance.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Karen Turner of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, under the supervision of Felice Sontupe, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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