Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life in Prison For Shooting Death Of 15-Year-Old Playing Basketball in Flatlands Schoolyard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life in Prison For Shooting Death Of 15-Year-Old Playing Basketball in Flatlands Schoolyard

Defendant Also Shot and Injured 13-Year-Old Boy

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 40 years to life in prison following his conviction last month for second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon for the 2011 shootings of a 15-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy in the schoolyard of Public School 119 in Flatlands, causing the death of the older boy.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant opened fire on a crowded schoolyard, killing an innocent teen whose life was just beginning. It’s a miracle that more people weren’t killed. Today’s sentence holds the defendant accountable for his violent actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Vincent Adeyeye, 20, of Brooklyn. He was sentenced yesterday to 40 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Guidice. The judge, who presided over the defendant’s jury trial, sentenced him to 20 years to life on the second-degree murder conviction and a determinate sentence of 20 years on the first-degree assault count, to run consecutive to one another. He also sentenced the defendant to 10 years for the second-degree criminal possession of a weapon count, which he ordered to run concurrent.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 16, 2011, at approximately 7 p.m., at Public School 119, which is located at East 39th Street and Avenue K, in Flatlands, the defendant, who was 16-years-old at the time and a member of the Bloods gang, fired numerous shots into a crowded schoolyard and struck two innocent bystanders. The shooting was allegedly in retaliation for a shooting the night before.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, Dequan Mercurius, 15, who was playing basketball, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the left side of his torso. A 13-year-old boy, who had just purchased an ice cream from a Mr. Softee truck, was shot once in the buttocks and once in the foot, and survived.

The District Attorney further said that, according to trial testimony, the defendant was arrested in October 2012 after his DNA was matched to a firearm left at the scene of the shooting.

The case was investigated by Detective Patrick Henn of the New York City Police Department’s Brooklyn South Homicide Squad and Detective Daniel Callow, formerly of the NYPD’s 63rd Precinct Detective Squad and presently assigned to the Brooklyn South Nightwatch.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Janet Gleeson, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s School Advocacy Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Yvette Creightney, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Colleen D. Babb, Bureau Chief.

 

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Three Queens Men Indicted For Trafficking Firearms and Narcotics


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.

 

Former Executive Director Indicted For Stealing $85,000 From North Flatbush Business Improvement District


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 16, 2015

 

Former Executive Director Indicted For Stealing $85,000 From North Flatbush Business Improvement District

Allegedly Used Funds to Buy Beyonce Tickets, Jewelry, Clothing and Shoes;
Additionally Charged With Collecting Unemployment While Working at BID

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced an indictment charging the former executive director of the North Flatbush Business Improvement District with siphoning off approximately $85,000 from the group’s budget to pay for personal expenses, such as food, clothing and entertainment. She also is alleged to have collected unemployment insurance benefits when in fact she was employed by the BID and not eligible to collect.

District Attorney Thompson said, “The 150 small business owners who joined the North Flatbush BID paid into it with the expectation that those funds would be used to promote their businesses. Instead, the defendant allegedly used the BID’s accounts as her own personal piggy bank, spending non-stop on everything from airline tickets to chocolates. She will now be held accountable. ”

Commissioner Peters said, “This individual is accused of stealing public funds from neighborhood businesses for personal gain. This type of charged conduct sabotages an entire community. DOI was pleased to work with the Brooklyn District Attorney on this important investigation. ”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Sharon Davidson, 63, formerly of 318 Flatbush Avenue and currently residing in Riverhead, in Suffolk County, was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which she is charged with one count each of second- and third-degree grand larceny, three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, and 17 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. He released her without bail and ordered the defendant to return to court on May 13, 2015.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between February 2, 2010 and December 16, 2013, the defendant engaged in a scheme to steal approximately $90,000, including about $85,000 from the North Flatbush BID and about $5,000 in unemployment insurance benefits.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Davidson was employed by the North Flatbush BID from June 2009 to January 2014. As executive director she was entrusted with access to all of the BID’s bank accounts, debit cards and checks, and was responsible for maintaining its financial books and records and paying expenses associated with the BID’s activities, such as economic development, street maintenance, and neighborhood promotion and enhancement programs to benefit its approximately 150 retail members.

It is alleged that between February 2, 2010 and December 16, 2013, Davidson repeatedly made unauthorized withdrawals from the BID’s bank accounts, including withdrawing cash from automated teller machines, deposited checks intended for the BID into her personal bank accounts, wrote checks to herself out of the BID’s accounts, and used BID debit cards to make hundreds of unauthorized purchases. Among the charges to the BID’s debit card were: $3,000 at Fresh Direct, $4,000 at Talbots, $600 for Beyonce concert tickets, $600 at Weight Watchers, $400 on manicures and pedicures, $13,000 paid through Paypal for items such as shoes, clothing, jewelry and makeup, and numerous purchases from restaurants. As a result, the defendant allegedly stole $85,691.36.

It is additionally charged that the defendant, whose salary was $30,000 a year and who was in charge of maintaining the BID’s third-party payroll service to issue her paychecks, caused the payroll service to end on October 14, 2011. Then, a few weeks later, on November 2, 2011, she allegedly applied to the New York State Department of Labor for unemployment insurance benefits. Davidson subsequently received benefits for nearly four months, during which time she was still gainfully employed by the BID. Davidson thus allegedly received $5,190 in unemployment benefits to which she was not entitled.

The District Attorney said that the alleged theft was discovered during an audit conducted by New York City’s Department of Small Business Services, which oversees the City’s BIDs and which subsequently alerted the New York City Department of Investigation.

The case was investigated by Chief Forensic Auditor Ivette Morales and Special Investigator Nicole Clyne, under the supervision of Inspector General Andrew Sein and Associate Commissioner William Jorgenson of the New York City Department of Investigation.

The District Attorney thanked the New York State Department of Labor and the New York City Department of Small Business Services for their assistance in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Sabrina Thanse and Meredith Weill, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Emily Bradford, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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

 

Four Teenagers Indicted in Connection With Early Morning Assault Of Two Off-Duty Police Officers in Bensonhurst


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

 

Four Teenagers Indicted in Connection With Early Morning Assault Of Two Off-Duty Police Officers in Bensonhurst

Four Teenagers Indicted in Connection With Early Morning Assault
Of Two Off-Duty Police Officers in Bensonhurst

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that four teenagers have been indicted in connection with an attack on two members of the New York City Police Department outside of a Bensonhurst residence last month, leaving one of the victims, an off-duty detective, badly beaten.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These teenagers allegedly attacked two off-duty Police Officers who identified themselves and simply asked the teens – in the early hours of a Sunday morning – to stop jumping on cars and making a lot of noise in a residential neighborhood. We will now seek to hold them accountable for their conduct.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Joseph Nacmias, 17, of 274 Mayfair Drive North; Jason Chalhon,17, of 2672 East 66th Street; Vito Morgera, 17, of 2725 Mill Avenue; and Michael Peterson,17, of 6623 Avenue T, all of Mill Basin, Brooklyn. The defendants are variously charged in a six-count indictment with second-degree assault, third-degree assault, resisting arrest and unlawful possession of marijuana. They will be arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court at a later date. The top count carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on February 8, 2015, at approximately 12:20 a.m., in the vicinity of 15th Avenue, in Bensonhurst, NYPD Detective Daniel Alessandrino heard a rowdy group of teenagers creating a disturbance outside of his home. Alessandrino, who was off-duty, went outside to check on the situation and saw a group of about 15 to 20 teenagers, mostly males, making a lot of noise and banging and jumping on cars.

Alessandrino, who was followed out of the house by his girlfriend, off-duty NYPD Officer Jaline Bernier, told the teens he didn’t want any trouble and asked them to leave the area, to which defendant Nacmias allegedly replied: “What are you going to do? Call a cop?” Alessandrino then identified himself and Officer Bernier as members of the NYPD. Nacmias then allegedly replied: “I don’t care. I’ll kill a cop. A cop is going to die tonight.”

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Nacmias then lunged at Alessandrino and began punching him about the head and body. When Alessandrino pushed Nacmias away, he allegedly attacked Bernier. When Alessandrino tried to intervene, he was allegedly pushed to the ground and surrounded by the teens, who then kicked, punched and stomped on him, including kicking him in the head. They were arrested shortly thereafter.

Alessandrino suffered swelling and lacerations about the eye, nose, jaw, head, arm and knee, broken teeth and bruising of his chest and shoulder. Bernier suffered swelling of the eye and pain in her face.

The case was investigated by Detective Natalya Edelshteyn of the New York City Police Department’s 62nd Precinct Detective Squad, under the supervision of Captain William Taylor, Commanding Officer.

The case was additionally investigated by Detective Investigator Kolawole Olosunde, under the supervision of Chief Investigator John Bilich, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Farin Chasin and James Slattery of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau V – Orange Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Thomas C. Ridges, Chief.

 

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Bookkeeper Indicted For Stealing Approximately $325,000 From Carroll Gardens Plumbing Supply Company

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

 

Bookkeeper Indicted For Stealing Approximately $325,000 From Carroll Gardens Plumbing Supply Company

Allegedly Used Funds to Travel to Disney World and Poconos Resort, Pay for Airline Tickets, Motel Stays And Restaurant Meals

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced a 159-count indictment charging a former bookkeeper with stealing almost $325,000 from a family-owned plumbing supply business in Carroll Gardens by repeatedly writing checks from the company’s bank account to pay her credit card bills instead of paying vendors.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant almost ruined a hardworking family’s small business by allegedly stealing a huge amount of money to fund her travels and pay her bills. Luckily her alleged scheme was uncovered before that could happen. She will now be held accountable.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Elizabeth Nero, a.k.a., Elizabeth Leone, 55, of 45-30 Pearson Street, in Long Island City, Queens, was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which she is charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, 79 counts of first-degree falsifying business records and 79 counts of second-degree forgery. She was ordered held on bail of $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash and to return to court on May 20, 2015.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, in approximately December 2010, the defendant was hired to work as a bookkeeper for Hicks Street Plumbing and Heating Supply, Inc., located on Hicks Street, in Carroll Gardens, which is owned by Matthew Ruggiero. It is alleged that between July 2011 and October 2013, the defendant used the company’s checking account to pay her own bills, specifically forging the name of Mr. Ruggiero or his wife, on company checks and using them to pay her credit card bills, instead of paying the company’s vendors and suppliers.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, among other things, the defendant used the money to pay for airplane tickets, accommodations at a resort in the Poconos, travel to Disney World, motel stays and restaurant meals.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in order to conceal her alleged theft the defendant “whited out” the designated payee, i.e., her Chase, Discover or American Express account, after the checks were cashed and an image of the cancelled check appeared on the company’s bank statement. After “whiting out” her payee, the defendant would allegedly write in the name of a vendor or supplier.

The case was investigated by Brooklyn District Attorney Financial Investigator Rosa Velasquez and New York City Police Department Detective John Munari, of the NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force.

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

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

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 47 Years to Life in Prison For Quadruple Shooting in Gang Dispute at Basketball Tournament


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 47 Years to Life in Prison For Quadruple Shooting in Gang Dispute at Basketball Tournament

Defendant Shot Four Teens at Marcy Houses, Killing One and Injuring Three

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 21-year-old man has been sentenced to 47 years to life in prison for the gang-related shooting death of an 18-year-old boy and for shooting and injuring a 15-year-old and two 13-year-olds during a basketball tournament at the Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Today’s sentence should serve as a warning that shooting and killing people on the streets of Brooklyn will not be tolerated. An 18-year-old boy is dead and three other teens were shot all because this defendant decided to commit senseless and terrible acts of violence. Now he will pay for what he did by being locked up for most of his life.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Brandon Reese, 21, of Brooklyn. He was today sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Sheryl Parker to 47 years to life in prison following his conviction earlier this month on one count of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault, one count of first-degree attempted assault, one count of second-degree assault, one count of second-degree attempted assault, one count of first-degree reckless endangerment, and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 6, 2013, at approximately 6:30 p.m., at the Marcy Houses, located at 472 Marcy Avenue, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, during a basketball tournament two rival crews engaged in a dispute which ultimately resulted in a shooting.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, a number of gang members from Bushwick Houses, who belong to a crew named Young Stackers (YS), were hanging out in front of Marcy Houses. A member of Stack Money Goonz (SMG) walked by and realized that one of the YS’s had previously pulled a gun on him. He then called his older brother, the defendant, Brandon Reese, for back-up.

The District Attorney further said that, according to trial testimony, after an argument ensued between his brother and the YS kids, the defendant pulled his gun from his waistband and fired approximately nine shots. Mario Lopez was shot approximately eight times and pronounced dead later that evening. Three others were injured: A 13-year-old shot in the neck with the bullet exiting his nose was left with permanent partial paralysis of his face; a second 13-year-old was shot in the knee; a 15-year-old was grazed on the hip and suffered minor injuries.

The case was investigated by now retired New York City Police Detective James Tischler and other detectives assigned to the NYPD’s 79th precinct.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Chief of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Iris Das, under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of Investigations.

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Former Attorney Who Stole Nearly $500,000 From Clients To Spend From Six to 18 Years in Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 23, 2015

 

Former Attorney Who Stole Nearly $500,000 From Clients To Spend From Six to 18 Years in Prison

Defendant Convicted In Two Separate Incidents, Sentences Ordered to Run Consecutively

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a South Orange, New Jersey, man has been sentenced to two to six years in prison for stealing $70,000 from a client’s real estate sale. The sentence was ordered to run consecutive to a sentence of four to 12 years he received last year for stealing $411,082.50 from another client whom he represented in a property sale.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant disgraced the legal profession when he stole money from the estates of his clients. Now he will pay a serious price for his misconduct. This should serve as a warning to others who let greed get the best of them.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Stephen Mitchell, 48, of 542 Hartford Court, in South Orange, New Jersey. The defendant was sentenced last Friday to two to six years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Garnett following his conviction earlier this year on one count of second-degree grand larceny following a jury trial. The judge ordered the sentence to run consecutive to a sentence he handed down last year in a similar case.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, in 2006, the defendant was hired by the property manager for the estate of Jacques Montrevil to remove the estate’s administrator and to complete the sale of property located at 3215 Church Avenue in Brooklyn that was owned by the estate.  On November 6, 2006, an amended contract of sale for that property was executed between representatives of the estate and Stephen Falcone, the prospective purchaser. The defendant was present at the signing of the contract and accepted the $70,000 down payment from the buyer, made payable to himself.

The next day, the defendant deposited the check into his escrow account and wrote a check for $65,500 from the account. At the closing of the property in 2008, the defendant did not turn over the funds to complete the sale on that day or any point thereafter.

The defendant was previously convicted in 2013 of second-degree grand larceny for stealing more than $400,000 from another client. In that case, he was hired in December 2005 to represent the estate of Charles Brown for the sale of his property located at 302 St. James Place, in Brooklyn. The defendant sold the property for $650,000, netting $411,082.50, which belonged to Mr. Brown’s estate.  The defendant deposited the money into his own escrow account, and then into three of his own bank accounts through March 2006.

Justice Garnett, who presided over both of the defendant’s jury trials, ordered his sentences to run consecutively and ordered him to pay $70,000 and $411,082.50 in restitution to both victims.

The defendant surrendered his law license prior to his first trial.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick F. Cappock, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Unit prosecuted the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Bureau Chief and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

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Eleven Defendants Indicted for Scam in Which They Allegedly Used Stolen Credit Card Numbers to Purchase Target Gift Cards


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

 

Eleven Defendants Indicted for Scam in Which They Allegedly Used Stolen Credit Card Numbers to Purchase Target Gift Cards

Defendants Arrested After Pattern of Purchases Was Detected by Store, Bank Security

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that 11 men have been indicted for using forged credit cards to purchase Target gift cards – in increments of $45 in an effort to evade detection – at the Gateway Mall in Spring Creek. The men were arrested after security for Target and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank discovered the pattern and set up a joint surveillance operation.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This case is disturbing in that the defendants were allegedly able to systematically – and swiftly – swipe their way into the bank accounts of innocent Chase customers by using forged credit cards. Our Cybercrimes Unit will continue to work closely with the New York City Police Department to remain vigilant in the face of changing technology.”

The District Attorney said that the defendants (see addendum), who range in age from 20 to 27 and all live in Brooklyn, have been variously charged in eight separate indictments with second-degree criminal possession of a forged document, fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny. Most of the defendants were arraigned earlier this week in Brooklyn Supreme Court. One remaining defendant will be arraigned tomorrow.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictments, between late 2014 and early 2015, Chase Bank became aware of a large number of identical $45 fraudulent authorizations being made against its debit cards at the Gateway Target. Target security personnel were also aware of the fraudulent transactions, but Target’s protocol provided that employees should not inspect payment cards for purchases under $50. The $45 purchases were all being made for Target gift cards. None of the purchases was authorized and Chase assumed the loss. Chase and Target alerted the New York City Police Department and a joint operation was conducted on January 7, 2015.

The District Attorney said that, according to the one of the indictments, on January 7, 2015, at approximately 8 a.m., just after the store opened defendants Terquan Oliver and Courtney Cooper, entered the Gateway Target and went to the Electronics section. They immediately began making $45 purchases of Target gift card store credits, loading the gift cards through successive purchases. All of the debit card purchases were processed as credit card purchases and did not require a personal identification number.

It is alleged that in less than 15 minutes, Oliver used two stolen debit cards to make 39 incremental $45 purchases of Target gift card store credit. Of the transactions, 24 were made against a Chase account that did not belong to him and 15 were made against another Chase account that did not belong to him. Oliver switched accounts only after the first card was declined. The total value loaded onto the gift card was $1,755.

Meanwhile, during the same time period, it is alleged that Courtney Cooper made 18 incremental $45 purchases of Target gift card store credit against a Chase account that did not belong to him, 17 were made to load value onto one gift card, while one purchase was for a single $45 gift card. In total, $810 in charges was made against a Chase Bank debit card that did not belong to Courtney Cooper.

It is alleged that the defendants then purchased seven iPods using Oliver’s card. They were arrested upon leaving the store.

The District Attorney further said that the other seven indictments filed in this case reveal that the other nine defendants engaged in a similar scam, loading up Target gift cards using fraudulent debit cards, leading to a total of $6,750 in losses which were sustained by Chase Bank in less than an hour. In all, the defendants are alleged to have swiped 51 separate forged credit cards inside of an hour, switching to new cards as cards were declined.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Jackson Todd of the Special Frauds Squad and Detective Miguel Marte of the Identity Theft Squad, under the supervision of Lieutenant Gregory Besson of the Financial Crimes Task Force, and the overall supervision of Deputy Inspector Kenneth Gray, Commanding Officer of the Financial Crimes Task Force.

The District Attorney thanked Target and J.P. Morgan Chase for their cooperation.

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

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

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DEFENDANT ADDENDUM: 

  1. Terquan Oliver, 25, 2364 Batchelder Street, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Released without bail.
  2. Courtney Cooper, 25, 2344 Bragg Street, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Released without bail.
  3. Justin Justiniani, 26, 600 East 26th Street, Flatbush, Brooklyn. Released without bail.
  4. Johansson Smith, 27, 175 Utica Avenue, Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Bail set at $15,000 bond or $7,500 cash.
  5. John Charles, 27, 1639 East 55th Street, Mill Basin, Brooklyn. Released on $10,000 bond or $$5,000 cash.
  6. Andrew Andujar, 22, 1440 Freeport Loop, Starrett City, Brooklyn. Released without bail.
  7. Matthew McQueen, 25, 959 East 100th Street, Canarsie, Brooklyn. Released without bail.
  8. Neon Orridge, 21, 939 East 100th Street, Canarsie, Brooklyn. Released without bail.
  9. Fabrice Brimm, 20, 10501 Flatlands Avenue, Canarsie, Brooklyn. Released without bail.
  10. Bill Dorrelus, 22, 50 Vandalia Avenue, East New York, Brooklyn. Bail set at $5,000 bond or $2,500 cash.
  11. Rubens Jeannot, 22, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, East New York, Brooklyn. To be arraigned on March 26, 2015.

 

 

Twenty-Two Defendants – Including Eight Doctors – Charged With Enterprise Corruption in Massive $7 Million Medicaid Fraud


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

 

Twenty-Two Defendants – Including Eight Doctors – Charged With Enterprise Corruption in Massive $7 Million Medicaid Fraud

Defendants Preyed on Low-Income and Homeless People; Offered Free Sneakers in Exchange For Unnecessary Medical Tests, Treatment

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with United States Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General New York region Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert, New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks and the New York State Acting Medicaid Inspector General Dennis Rosen, today announced that eight doctors are among 22 defendants named in a 199-count indictment that alleges they participated in a massive scheme in which they lured people recruited from low-income neighborhoods, homeless shelters and welfare offices to corrupt medical clinics for unnecessary tests with the promise of free footwear such as sneakers, shoes and boots.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants allegedly exploited the most vulnerable members of our society and raked in millions of dollars by doing so. The many poor people who were allegedly targeted at homeless shelters, welfare offices and soup kitchens and referred to as ‘guinea pigs’ by the defendants were exploited for hours, if not days, just because they needed a pair of shoes. That so many doctors allegedly participated in this elaborate scheme to defraud a health care system designed to help the poor is truly disgraceful.”

Special Agent in Charge Lampert said, “Arresting eight physicians today should be a warning that when you commit health care fraud and compromise patient care, we will arrest you. Justice doesn’t discriminate. HHS OIG commends the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for their diligent work in this case. Our offices will continue to work together to combat health care fraud in Kings County.”

Commissioner Banks said, “The alleged conduct here is disgraceful. Clients were misled, the Medicaid system was exploited, and government funding for medical care for clients was diverted. I thank the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General for their excellent work and also the HRA staff who assisted in this successful investigation.”

Acting IG Dennis Rosen said, “Health care fraud compromises the integrity of the Medicaid program as well as the health care delivery system, and it wastes tax payer dollars. Today’s indictment, which is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Brooklyn District Attorney, Health and Human Services, New York City Human Resources Administration and OMIG, sends a clear, unmistakable message that those who commit health care fraud will be identified and held accountable for their actions.”

The District Attorney identified Eric Vainer, 43, of 220 Riverside Boulevard, New York, New York, as the alleged mastermind and leader of the scheme, and his mother, Polina Vainer, 66, of 189 Keating Place, Staten Island, New York, as his second in command. Some of the defendants were arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun this morning on an indictment in which they are variously charged with enterprise corruption, first-degree money laundering, first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree health care fraud, first-degree falsifying business records, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree attempted grand larceny, fourth-degree conspiracy, social service law, petit larceny and attempted petit larceny. The defendants are being arraigned throughout the day and bail set in varying amounts.

They are ordered to return to court on May 19, 2015. If convicted, they face up to 25 years in prison on the top count. See addendum for identities of other defendants charged in this indictment.

The District Attorney said that the investigation began in July 2012 after a Brooklyn resident reported her concerns to the DA’s Action Center. She said she was approached by recruiters and taken to one of the clinics, where she met with a podiatrist and was given a knee brace and sneakers. When she said she did not need the knee brace, she was told she had to take it to get the sneakers.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2014, the defendants – including 22 men and women (eight of whom were doctors) and eight companies – engaged in a criminal enterprise by intentionally participating in a pattern of criminal activity through the fraudulent operation of medical clinics and the submission of fraudulent claims to Medicaid, Medicaid-managed health care organizations and Medicare. In addition to doctors, the defendants include nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, technicians, office staff, recruiters, managers and billers.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the Enterprise fraudulently billed for more than $6.9 million over the period covered by the indictment in a scheme in which recruiters for the Enterprise went out to low-income areas and approached people on the street, including outside of homeless shelters and welfare offices, and offered them free sneakers if they could produce a Medicaid card and would agree to have their feet examined at a medical clinic. The recruiters operated throughout the City, including in the Bronx; Richmond Hill and Jamaica, in Queens; a Men’s shelter in Chelsea; and in Brooklyn, in Bushwick, Brownsville and East New York, among other places. If the person agreed, they were immediately taken to one of Vainer’s clinics, which were located in Williamsburg and the Bronx. Once there, a podiatrist performed a cursory, if any, examination. The clinic would then provide the client with footwear and additional medical equipment such as an ankle brace or orthotic insole, for which it could then bill the insurers. It is alleged that these devices were medically unnecessary.

It is further alleged, according to the indictment, that clients were then frequently referred for a battery of other medically unnecessary tests and procedures, including vein tests, pain management evaluations, physical therapy and cardiograms with other members of the criminal enterprise. Eric Vainer allegedly decided what medical tests, procedures and durable medical equipment would be ordered, dispensed and billed, and sometimes, even, how the medical providers would be compensated.

The alleged purpose of the tests was to bill Medicaid, Medicaid managed care organizations and Medicare. It is alleged that some of the medical providers paid Vainer a kickback and others split with him the money generated from insurance billings. Vainer allegedly ensured that he was properly compensated by tracking the number of patients seen by the different doctors by computer and daily reports from office managers.

As part of the Enterprise, Vainer and his mother owned a durable medical equipment business, T.W. Capital dba West 5th Medical Supply, which worked with the corrupt clinics to carry out the fraud. Polina Vainer also allegedly assisted her son in managing the entire operation, overseeing the billing and payroll departments for several of the clinics and medical professionals.

Furthermore, according to the indictment, among the medical providers that Vainer maintained relationships with were podiatrists, a vascular surgeon, cardiologists, pain management specialists, psychiatrists, and others.

Podiatrists included Benny Ogorek, DPM, at Vainer’s Bronx clinic, Avia Jackson, DPM, and Simeon Isaacs, DPM, at Vainer’s Williamsburg clinics, and Nemaan Ghuman, DPM, at the East Tremont Avenue clinic. The podiatrists allegedly saw patients, fabricated symptoms and created false diagnoses. They then allegedly prescribed unnecessary DME and vein or artery tests. In some cases, the patients were referred for psychiatric care or pain management. These referrals would then generate recurring visits for which they could bill.

It is alleged that the enterprise also used the services of vascular surgeon David Glass, MD, and cardiologist Joseph Grossman, MD, who either billed Medicaid and other insurance carriers for medical services never performed or for reviewing medically unnecessary vein and artery ultrasounds performed by technicians at Vainer’s clinics, or both.

Glass was the owner of The Center for Surgery dba New York Vein Center. Yelena Korsunskaya was his office manager and the alleged liaison between Glass and Vainer. She allegedly tracked the number of vein tests Vainer and other members of the enterprise sent to Glass for review, and the payments Glass sent to Vainer. Although she worked for Glass, her salary was paid by both Glass and Vainer.

Grossman was the owner of Treating Physician Medical Care P.C., and Vainer had access to Treating Physician Medical Care P.C.’s bank account.

It is also alleged that the Vainer clinics offered pain management services, run by Henry Sardar, DO, the owner of Hyland Boulevard Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PLLC. Sardar employed Susan Nutakor-Doh, NP, and Hoda Abdelaziz, NP, and physician’s assistant Taesoo Kim, and oversaw their prescribing and providing medically unnecessary services such as office visits, physical therapy and DME. Sardar alleged paid Vainer a monthly fee for the patients he steered to Sardar.

It is further alleged that Herbert Meadow, MD, and physician’s assistant Matthew Jordan provided psychiatry services to patients, and charged inflated fees for abbreviated patient visits. They also referred patients to others in the enterprise for costly, frequent and unnecessary tests and procedures. Meadow was the owner of record for Community Medical Disorder P.C., and Vainer opened and was the sole signer of its bank account initially. Meadow is presently the sole signer, and both shared the profits generated by the billings.

Finally, the Enterprise used a network of recruiters to entice individuals covered by Medicaid or other insurers to become “patients” at the corrupt clinics. The recruiters provided patients with transportation to the clinics. Bernard Rorie is alleged to be the Enterprise’s chief recruiter, and he had associates working with him. Vainer paid the recruiters for each patient they brought in.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigator Michael Sidlowski, Supervising Detective Investigator Glenn Kenny and Supervising Detective Investigator Robert Addonizio, under the supervision Deputy Chief Edwin Murphy and the overall supervision of Chief Richard Bellucci, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

Senior Financial Investigators Arthur Criscone and Elliot Gallub and Paralegal Charles Machado of the District Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation.

In connection with today’s charges, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York obtained warrants to seize 13 bank accounts into which payments from the defrauded federally funded programs could be traced.

The District Attorney thanked our partners in the investigation, including United States Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, New York City’s Human Resources Administration’s Office of Medicaid Provider Fraud and Abuse Investigation, New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, New York State Department of Health, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Debra Jaroslawicz, Assistant District Attorney Joel Greenwald and Deputy Chief Dana Roth, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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

 #

DEFENDANT ADDENDUM:

  1. Eric Vanier, 43, of 220 Riverside Boulevard, New York, New York.
  2. Polina Vainer, 66, of 189 Keating Place, Staten Island, New York.
  3. Igor Marmulevskiy, 30, of 88 East End Avenue, New York, New York.
  4. Melissa Gonzalez, 31, of 210 Roebling Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  5. Shawn Mayo, 38, of 192 Sand Street, Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn.
  6. Kirill Shakhov, 26, of 1522 West Fourth Street, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
  7. Marina Vargas, 49, of 3620 Coney Island Avenue, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
  8. Dr. Henry Sardar, DO (pain management) 39, of 2376 East 4th Street, Gravesend,     Brooklyn.
  9. Susan Nutakor-Doh, 48, of 7502 Austin Street, Forest Hills, Queens.
  10. Taesoo Kim, 28, of 32-02 37th Avenue, Long Island City, New York.
  11. Hoda Abdelaziz, 48, of 6006 168th Street, Fresh Meadows, Queens,
  12. Dr. David Glass, MD (vascular medicine) 65, of 333 Rector Place, New York, New York.
  13. Yelena Korsunskaya, 60, of 7902 19th Avenue, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
  14. Dr. Benny Ogorek, DPM (podiatrist), 64, of 67-15 102nd Street, Forest Hills, Queens.
  15. Dr. Avia Jackson, DPM (podiatrist) 43, of 146-18 Liberty Avenue, Jamaica, New York.
  16. Isaacs, DPM (podiatrist) 63, of 141-19 71st Road, Flushing, Queens.
  17. Dr. Neeman Ghuman, DPM (podiatrist) 40, of 78 70th Street, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
  18. Dr. Herbert Meadow, MD (psychiatrist) 79, of 1025 5th Avenue, New York, New York.
  19. Matthew Jordan, 33, of 365 Oscawana Lake Road, Putnam Valley, New York.
  20. Dr. Joseph Grossman, MD (cardiologist) 82, 6 Elizabeth Court, Briarcliff Manor, New York.
  21. Bernard Rorie, 59, of 211 Malcolm X Boulevard, Brooklyn, New York.
  22. Assist Medical Supplies, Corp.
  23. T.W. Capital Corp. dba West 5th Medical Supply
  24. Ned Mgmt. Corp.
  25. NYC Podiatry P.C.
  26. Community Medical Disorder P.C.
  27. Hylan Boulevard Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation, PLLC.
  28. Treating Physician Medical Care P.C.
  29. The Center for Surgery dba New York Vein Center, LLC.

 

MEDICAL CLINICS OWNED BY OR AFFILIATED WITH ERIC VANIER:

  1. 721 Flushing Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  2. 741 Flushing Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  3. 953 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York.
  4. 1396 Myrtle Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn.
  5. 471 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx, New York.

 

OTHER ENTITIES OWNED BY OR AFFILIATED WITH ERIC OR POLINA VANIER: 

  1. Assist Medical Supplies, Corp., a durable medical equipment company that billed for medically unnecessary DME, located at 67 35th Street, Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Eric Vanier served as its Chief Executive Officer.
  2. Ned Mgmt Corp., of which Eric Vanier was the owner and President (same location as above), and was allegedly used by Vanier to operate the Enterprise and to launder funds.
  3. T.W. Capital Corp., dba, West 5th Medical Supply, owned Polina Vanier. Durable Medical Equipment company that billed for medically unnecessary DME.

 

Brooklyn Man Who Shot NYPD Emergency Service Officers Convicted of Aggravated Assault Of a Police Off


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 2, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Who Shot NYPD Emergency Service Officers Convicted of Aggravated Assault Of a Police Officer

Officers Shot After Defendant Barricaded Himself Inside An Apartment He Shared With His Pregnant Girlfriend And 10-Month-Old Son

District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 36-year-old man was convicted last night of two counts of aggravated assault upon a police officer and other charges for shooting at and injuring five members of the New York City Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit when they responded to a call at the defendant’s Sheepshead Bay apartment. The police were called after reports that the defendant had pointed a gun at someone during an earlier altercation.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Police officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe. This defendant not only had the audacity to fire at our police officers, he recklessly put the pregnant mother of his baby in harm’s way. The jury has spoken and now the defendant will spend many well-deserved years behind bars.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Nakwon Foxworth, 36, of 3301 Nostrand Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault upon a police officer, three counts of attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer, three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing, following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog, who set sentencing for April 23, 2015, at which time the defendant faces up to life in prison. The defendant is a mandatory persistent violent felony offender.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on April 8, 2012, the defendant got into a verbal dispute with movers in his building over items left in a hallway. The defendant pulled a gun on the workers and the police were called. The defendant then returned to the apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Jessica Hickling, and their 10-month-old son, armed with a gun.

Approximately an hour after police arrived, the defendant allowed Hickling and the baby to leave the apartment. The defendant then opened fire on the responding officers, injuring three of them. The officers then returned fire and struck the defendant. Three guns were recovered from the defendant’s apartment.

The District Attorney said that Officer Matthew Granahan was shot in the leg, Officer Michael Keenan was shot in the knee and Officer Kenneth Ayala was shot in the pelvic area and the foot. All of the officers were hospitalized and have recovered from their injuries.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Andres Palacio of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Thomas Teplitsky under supervision of Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Chief of Homicide Bureau.