Brooklyn Construction Company, Owners Plead Guilty to Failing to Pay Employees Nearly $150,000 in Owed Wages

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

 

Brooklyn Construction Company, Owners Plead Guilty to Failing to Pay Employees Nearly $150,000 in Owed Wages

Four Workers from Arch Builders & Developers to Receive Back Pay

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced that a Brooklyn construction company that benefitted from a New York City program designed to assist minority owned businesses has pleaded guilty to grand larceny. Its owners pleaded guilty to violating the prevailing wage requirements of the New York State Labor Law by failing to pay four employees more than $140,000 in earned wages.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants got lucrative city contracts designed to assist small and minority owned businesses and then shamelessly stole money from their own employees. In Brooklyn, we simply will not allow workers to have their hard earned wages stolen from them. So, let these guilty pleas serve clear notice that we will go after any employer who thinks that they can get away with stealing their employees’ wages. Those days are over with.”

DOI Commissioner Peters said, “DOI’s investigation led to the arrest of the defendants and the return of $146,000 to individual workers. Prevailing wage fraud steals from New Yorkers who can least afford it. We are proud to once again work with our partners at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of construction sites and the men and women who work there.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Arch Builders & Developers, Inc., located at 1543 East 17th Street, in Midwood, and owners Salma Rashid and Syed Rashid Hussain Shah, also of 1543 East 17th Street.  The corporation pleaded guilty today, before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Laura Johnson, to one count of second-degree grand larceny and the owners pleaded guilty to one count each of violating New York State Labor Law Section 220.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between November 2013 and March 2014, Arch Builders entered into two public works contracts with the New York City School Construction Authority (NYC SCA) to perform construction work at Junior High School 232K located in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Public School 232Q in Queens and Public School 116M in Manhattan.  The NYC SCA paid the defendants over $900,000 for their work on the projects.

Labor Law and the NYC SCA contracts required the defendants to pay prevailing wages and overtime pay to all employees who worked on the projects.  The defendants falsely certified that the defendants had paid four employees, who worked as mason tenders on the project, the required prevailing wages of $62.79 per hour for regular time and $80.82 for overtime.  In reality, the defendants paid the four employees between $100 and $130 per day without overtime compensation or benefits, the investigation found.  In this manner, the defendants pocketed $146,340.27 in payments from the NYC SCA that rightfully belonged to the four employees.

The New York City Comptroller’s Office sets the prevailing wage rate, consisting of a base wage rate plus a supplemental benefit rate, for each classification of work, such as mason, painter, and carpenter, on New York City public works construction projects.  Labor Law 220 and the NYC SCA contracts further required the defendants to pay additional compensation of time and a half for work performed after an eight-hour work day and on weekends.

As part of the plea agreement, the defendants have paid approximately $146,340.27 in back wages and are banned from receiving city contracts for five years. Further, the defendants have agreed to pay approximately $15,000 to the New York City School Construction Authority Office of the Inspector General to pay for the cost of the investigation, as stipulated in all NYC School Construction Authority contracts.

Following an employee’s complaint and a subsequent investigation by the NYC SCA Office of the Inspector General, the case was referred to the Labor Frauds Unit of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau. If you believe you have been a victim of Labor Fraud, such as wage theft or retaliation, please call our Labor Fraud Unit at 718-250-3770.

The case was investigated by the NYC SCA Office of the Inspector General Investigators Nicholas Scicutella and Charles Shevlin, and Investigative Accountant Raymond Dowd, under the supervision of Deputy Counsel Celeste Sharpe, Assistant Inspector General John Gray, First Assistant Inspector General Gerard McEnroe and Inspector General Maria Mostajo, who reports to NYC Department of Investigation Associate Commissioner James Flaherty.

The case was further investigated by Detective Investigator Hubert M. Dixon and Supervising Detective Investigator Robert Addonizio of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Betty Rodríguez, under the supervision of Meredith McGowan, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Labor Fraud Unit and Felice Sontupe, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Unscrupulous Contractor Sentenced For Stealing $85,900 from Homeowners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 11, 2016

 

Unscrupulous Contractor Sentenced
For Stealing $85,900 from Homeowners

Took Money for Work That Was Not Done

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Brooklyn man was sentenced for stealing $85,900 from four Park Slope homeowners who hired him to perform work on their properties. The defendant took money for work that was not performed and at times falsely claimed to be a licensed contractor.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Dominick Valoroso ripped off hard working homeowners in Park Slope and Prospect Heights who were simply trying to improve their homes.  This case makes clear why anyone hiring a home improvement contractor should check that they are properly licensed by and in good standing with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs so that they don’t fall prey to con artists who will take their money without doing any work.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Dominick Valoroso, 42, of East 66th Street, in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. He was sentenced yesterday by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht to three years’ probation following his guilty plea on January 7, 2016 to one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. At the time of the plea, the Court ordered civil judgments of restitution in the amount of $85,900 to be entered for the four victims.

The District Attorney said that, according to the guilty plea, between June 4, 2011 and July 7, 2013, the defendant entered into signed contracts with four different homeowners – three in Park Slope and one in Prospect Heights – to perform work on their property, during part of which time he was not licensed due to complaints filed against him.

The defendant took $14,700 from one homeowner, and did not do any work; he took $54,400 from a second homeowner and completed just $10,400 of the work; he took $21,200 from a third homeowner and did not do any work; and he took $6,000 from a fourth homeowner and did not do any work.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigator Jeannette Sbordone, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator Robert Addonizio, Deputy Chief Edwin Murphy, Deputy Chief Horace Norville, and the overall supervision of Chief Richard Bellucci.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Joel Greenwald, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Dana Roth, Deputy Chief, and 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 Division.

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Brooklyn Gang Member Sentenced to 20 Years to Life for Fatally Shooting Rival in Broad Daylight

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 10, 2016

 

Brooklyn Gang Member Sentenced to 20 Years to Life for
Fatally Shooting Rival in Broad Daylight

Captured on High-Definition Video Surveillance Shooting Victim in Head

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 24-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for fatally shooting a man in Flatbush, Brooklyn, killing him. The morning shooting was captured on high-definition surveillance video that clearly captured the defendant.

District Attorney Thompson said, “We will not allow gang members to settle their scores with guns, endangering innocent residents and sowing fear in our communities. We will prosecute them and send them to prison for many years, just like we did to this defendant, who killed a rival in the street in broad daylight.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Avon Simmons, 24, of 2505 Bedford Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Murphy to 20 years to life in prison following his guilty plea to second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on February 9, 2016.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on August 13, 2014 at 8:30 a.m., the defendant fired multiple shots at Prinso Ulysse, 26, who was standing outside of 2149 Cortelyou Road in Flatbush, Brooklyn. A bullet struck the side of the victim’s head and he suffered extensive hemorrhaging and swelling to the brain. He died in Kings County Hospital on September 3, 2014.

The shooting was captured on high definition surveillance video that clearly showed the defendant stepping into the roadway, firing a gun at the victim, who was on the sidewalk, and then walking away. The defendant is a member of the G-Stone Crips gang and likely targeted the victim in retaliation for a past incident in which the defendant’s brother was shot.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Patrick O’Connor of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Nicole Chavis, 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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Contractors Charged with Stealing Over $1 Million by Shortchanging Workers in New York City Housing Authority Construction Project

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

 

Contractors Charged with Stealing Over $1 Million by Shortchanging
Workers in New York City Housing Authority Construction Project

Allegedly Paid Less Than Half the Prevailing Wage and Pocketed the Rest,
Instructed Workers to Deceive Inspectors; Also Charged With Demanding Kickbacks

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced in a 40-count indictment that a contractor, his subcontractor and a foreman have been variously charged with stealing over $1 million in wages by underpaying 27 employees who worked on a construction project in Brooklyn that was financed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The defendants allegedly instructed the workers to lie to integrity inspectors about how much they were actually earning and also demanded kickbacks from four workers.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants were expected to make much needed repairs to these housing developments, and not steal from their employees and line their own pockets.  To make matters worse, they allegedly made the victims lie to conceal the fact that their wages were being stolen.  We’ll now make sure that all of the employees get back every penny that they worked so hard to earn and prosecute everyone involved in this outrageous scheme.”

DOI Commissioner Peters said, “For over a year these defendants not only deceived and siphoned over $1 million from their employees rightful wages, but doctored payroll records and covered up their crimes, according to the charges. The investigation initiated by DOI’s integrity monitor exposed this charged conduct.  In partnership with the Brooklyn District Attorney and his staff, we are working to return those workers’ stolen wages, restoring faith in construction projects in New York City, and stopping unscrupulous companies and their principals from getting further taxpayer-funded work.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Mehdi (“Morris”) Dayan, 67, of 120 Ash Drive in Roslyn, NY; his company, EEC Group Tech Inc., located at 366 North Broadway in Jericho, NY; Mohammed (“Taju”) Miah, 58, of 674 Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie, Brooklyn; his company, T&J Contracting Inc., located at 1590 Atlantic Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; and Sharifullah Sowpon, 41, the foreman of T&J Contracting, also of 674 Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie, Brooklyn.

They were arraigned today in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on the indictment that charges Dayan with first- and second-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, “kick-back” of wages and other counts, and charges Miah and Sowpon with second-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, “kick-back” of wages and other counts. Dayan faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count with which he is charged and the other defendants face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count with which they are charged.

The District Attorney said that on December 19, 2013, defendant Dayan, as president and owner of EEC Group Tech Inc., submitted an $8 million bid to NYCHA for a contract to preform exterior restoration and roofing replacement at two Brooklyn housing developments: the Brown Houses at 1776 Prospect Plaza in Crown Heights and Glenmore Plaza at 89 Christopher Avenue in Brownsville. The bid listed T&J Contracting Inc. as masonry and roofing subcontractor. EEC won the bid on March 28, 2014.

The bid and contract repeatedly stated that the defendants were obligated to pay federal Davis-Bacon prevailing wages to all workers. The hourly rates, including benefits, ranged from $61.50 to $82.31. After 40 hours a week, the contract required wages of time-and-a-half. NYCHA employed an integrity monitor, whose representatives regularly visited the worksite, checked that the correct wages were posted, reviewed payroll reports, interviewed workers and repeatedly admonished the defendants to pay the correct prevailing wages.

Between April 29, 2014 and November 19, 2015, 27 employees on the project worked as mason tenders, roofers, bricklayers, carpenters and stone masons. The defendants listed the names of nearly all of these employees on the certified payroll reports submitted to NYCHA, which stated that the defendants had paid all workers the correct wages. It is alleged that, in reality, the workers were paid between $15 and $25 per hour and some were not paid for all the weeks of work. In addition, defendants Miah, Sowpon and an individual working on behalf of EEC and Dayan allegedly demanded kick-backs of up to $2,000 from four workers.

In an attempt to evade discovery of the scheme, defendants Miah and Sowpon instructed workers to tell the integrity monitors that they were getting paid between $54 and $74 per hour and all the defendants made the workers sign an acknowledgement form, stating that each worker received full Davis-Bacon prevailing wages, when that was not true, and released the defendants from any claim for wages, according to the indictment. Defendants Dayan and EEC instructed their outside payroll service to create payroll records showing that workers received prevailing wages that matched the certified reports submitted to NYCHA. It is alleged that the company never distributed most of these checks to the workers and, despite repeated requests, never provided the integrity monitor with copies of the cashed employee paychecks.

As a result of the scheme, Dayan and EEC stole over $1 million in contract payments intended for workers. Dayan took out at least $400,000 from the business account, spent some of that money on renovations to his 5,000-square-foot, 13-room home in Nassau County and on a Mercedes Benz, according to the investigation. Miah and T&J are charged with stealing over $50,000 in the course of the scheme.

The case was investigated by the Department of Investigation’s Inspector General for the New York City Housing Authority, specifically Special Investigator Ryan Covino, Special Investigator David Haynes, Investigative Auditor Lester Dier, Chief Investigator Emily Bizzarro, Chief Investigator Nancy Roa, and Assistant Inspector General Natalie Wright under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General Edward Bradley, Inspector General Ralph Iannuzzi and Associate Commissioner James Flaherty, with the assistance of DOI’s Integrity Monitor Thatcher Associates, and by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, specifically Special Agent Michael Granatstein.

The case is being prosecuted by Meredith McGowan, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Labor Fraud Unit and Senior Assistant District Attorney Betty Rodríguez, under the supervision of Felice Sontupe, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division, and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief. 

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Fake Lawyer Who Falsely Claimed Brooklyn Bar Association as his Office Sent to Prison in Connection with Offering Bogus Immigration Services for a Fee

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

 

Fake Lawyer Who Falsely Claimed Brooklyn Bar Association as his Office
Sent to Prison in Connection with Offering Bogus Immigration Services for a Fee

Sentenced to 2 to 4 Years in State Prison; First Conviction in NY State for Immigrant Assistance Services Fraud

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced today that a Sunset Park man was sentenced to two to four years in prison for posing as an attorney and charging thousands of dollars for immigration services which he failed to deliver.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Howard Seidler is going to an upstate prison because he preyed on some of the most vulnerable members of our society – undocumented immigrants looking for legal help. He falsely claimed to be a lawyer and collected money without doing a thing. We’re determined to protect the people of Brooklyn from all types of con artists, including fake lawyers, and encourage every victim to report scams and other crimes, regardless of immigration status.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Howard Seidler, 70, of 336 51st Street, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to an indeterminate term of two to four years in prison following his guilty plea on February 3, 2016 to charges of third-degree grand larceny and first-degree immigrant assistance services fraud. The last felony count went into effect in February 2015 and the guilty plea marked the first conviction since it was enacted.

The District Attorney said that between November 2014 and May 2015, the defendant posted advertisements in Sunset Park, identifying himself as an attorney who provides immigration services. The ads and his business card included the titles “Esq.,” PhD” and “J.D.”

A detective investigator from the District Attorney’s Office, working undercover, met with Seidler in the library of the Brooklyn Bar Association at 123 Remsen Street in Downtown Brooklyn, which he claimed to be his office. On April 8, 2015, the detective paid Seidler $3,085 to act as his attorney and help him obtain a green card and a Social Security card. The undercover was then provided with a written retainer contract.

The District Attorney said that on April 24, 2015, the undercover had another meeting with Seidler, who gave him a Social Security card and immigration paperwork purportedly filed on his behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. The investigation found that the Social Security card was forged, that the Social Security number did not belong to the name used by the detective and that no application was filed on his behalf with United States immigration authorities.

The investigation also revealed that the defendant is neither licensed nor registered to practice law in New York and that he is not licensed or accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals to provide any services with immigration authorities.

The District Attorney thanked Special Agent Matthew Macchiaroli of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) New York and Neisha Samaroo, a Special Agent with the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, who assisted in the investigation.

The case was supervised by Detective Investigator Rommie Woolcock, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator Thomas Farley and the overall supervision of Richard Bellucci, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

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

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 23 Years to Life in Prison for Killing Beloved Homeless Man, Known as Helpful Protector of Grand Avenue

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 7, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 23 Years to Life in Prison for Killing
Beloved Homeless Man, Known as Helpful Protector of Grand Avenue

Victim Shot in Early Morning Hours after Asking Defendant to Quiet Down

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 20-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for the murder of Gilbert Kelley, a 57-year-old homeless man who was shot dead in Clinton Hill last year following a brief verbal dispute.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This sentence represents justice for Gilbert Kelley, who was a fixture of the Clinton Hill community and died protecting Grand Avenue, the block he loved. He was senselessly shot dead by this defendant, who now deserves to spend many years behind bars for killing such a generous and beloved man.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Victorious Kingsberry, 20, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 23 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog, following his conviction in November on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on March 15, 2014, at approximately 4 a.m., the defendant, who was 18 years old, and five of his friends were on the way home from a party when they exited the subway near Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill. The group then turned onto Grand Avenue and started to walk towards Lafayette Gardens, a few blocks away.

As they walked up Grand Avenue, according to trial testimony, they encountered Gilbert Kelley, 57, a local homeless man who often swept the sidewalks of Grand Avenue and helped the homeowners on that block by doing odd jobs such as carrying groceries, raking leaves and shoveling snow. Kelley was pushing his shopping cart at the time and told the defendant and his friends to be quiet because the neighbors were sleeping. The defendant and his friends then got into a dispute with Kelley and started to approach the victim, who pulled out a kitchen knife. The defendant and his friends then crossed to the opposite side of the street, and the defendant then pulled out a .380 caliber handgun and fired, striking the victim in the chest, and ran off.

The case was investigated by Detective Andre Parker of the New York City Police Department’s 88th Precinct Detective Squad and Detective Evan Smelley of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Blue Trial Zone, and Assistant District Attorney Elyse Kleinberg, of the Blue Trial Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Serial Killer Sentenced to 75 Years to Life for Murdering Three Brooklyn Shopkeepers

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 4, 2016

Serial Killer Sentenced to 75 Years to Life for Murdering Three Brooklyn Shopkeepers

Used Same Rifle in Each Homicide, Linked to Crimes by Physical and Forensic Evidence

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Staten Island salesman was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison for the shooting deaths of three Brooklyn shopkeepers who were killed in separate incidents during the summer and fall of 2012. The defendant used the same rifle in all three incidents to murder three innocent and hard-working family men. He was convicted last month based on forensic, physical, surveillance and other evidence.

District Attorney Thompson said, “It’s hard to think of anyone who deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison more than this cold-blooded and unrepentant serial killer. He murdered three innocent, honest and hard-working business owners and then spent years acting up in court to delay the fate he received today. I hope his life sentence will bring some comfort to the victims’ families who have suffered so much loss and grief.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Salvatore Perrone, 67, of 1173 Clove Road in Staten Island. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus to the maximum sentence of 75 years to life in prison, following his conviction on February 10, 2016 on three counts of second-degree murder after a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 6, 2012, the defendant shot Mohamed Gebeli, 65, once in the neck, killing him, inside the victim’s store Valentino Fashion, located at 7718 Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. On August 2, 2012 the defendant shot Isaac Kadare, 59, once in the head and then slit his throat inside the victim’s Amazing 99 Cents Deals store at 1877 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. On November 16, 2012 the defendant fatally shot Rahmatollah Vahidipour, 78, in the head, face and chest inside the victim’s She-She Boutique at 834 Flatbush Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

After the third homicide, a photo of the defendant carrying a black duffle bag in the vicinity of the third crime scene was distributed to the media and he was arrested on November 21, 2012. A search at his girlfriend’s home led to the recovery of the duffle bag. In it, police discovered a .22-caliber rifle that was registered to the defendant and was used in all three murders, according to ballistic analysis of shell casings that were left at the three crime scenes, the evidence showed. The bag also contained a knife with blood that matched Mr. Kadare. Blood stains that matched Mr. Vahidipour were found on the bag itself.

Furthermore, the defendant’s fingerprints and DNA were recovered from the murder weapon, according to testimony. Cell phone data and surveillance videos placed him in the vicinity of the second and third homicides, the evidence showed. All three victims were killed around their stores’ closing time and their bodies were covered with clothes or other items in an apparent attempt to conceal the murders.

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

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Brooklyn Man Convicted of Fatally Stabbing Another Man Following Dispute

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 3, 2016

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Fatally Stabbing Another Man Following Dispute

Ran Home after Argument in Restaurant, Stabbed Victim in Back with a Knife

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 21-year-old man from Flatbush, Brooklyn has been convicted of first-degree manslaughter for fatally stabbing a 26-year-old man in the back following a dispute inside a restaurant. The defendant then ran to his apartment, grabbed a knife and attacked the victim from behind as he walked down the street outside his home.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant senselessly took a life over a silly argument. He made a terrible decision and will now spend many years behind bars because of that.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Kadeem Wilkinson, 21, of 2810 Foster Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was convicted today of first-degree manslaughter following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Guy Mangano. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 8, 2016.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on December 6, 2013, the defendant, his girlfriend and a stranger, Dwight Brathwaite, 26, were inside Chicken Express at 1341 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. After leaving the restaurant, the defendant returned and confronted Brathwaite about flirting with his girlfriend moments earlier. An argument ensued and it escalated into an altercation outside the restaurant.

The defendant then ran to his nearby home, grabbed a knife, came from behind the victim, who was walking toward his house, the evidence showed, and stabbed him in the back at about 12:45 a.m., outside of 531 East 26th Street.

Video surveillance captured the defendant running into his building and leaving shortly thereafter. Another video captured part of the stabbing incident, according to evidence presented at trial. The defendant’s girlfriend testified that the defendant admitted to her that he had stabbed the victim in anger.

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

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Statement of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson Regarding Manhattan Summons Initiative

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, Month 01, 2016

 

Statement of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson
Regarding Manhattan Summons Initiative

“I applaud this effort to focus our limited law enforcement resources on more serious offenses, but I have said repeatedly that we must deal head on with our broken summons court system and the 1.1 million open arrest warrants for everyday New Yorkers who committed minor, low-level offenses. I created my Begin Again Program to help the people of our city get relief from these warrants that pose an impediment to jobs, education and housing and to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the community.”  

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to Up to 32 Years in Prison for Brutal Attack of Pregnant Ex-Girlfriend, Causing Death of Unborn Child

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 1, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to Up to 32 Years in Prison for Brutal Attack of Pregnant Ex-Girlfriend, Causing Death of Unborn Child

Defendant Received Maximum Term Allowed by Law

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Crown Heights man has been sentenced to up to 32 years in prison for brutally attacking his ex-girlfriend, who was almost seven months pregnant, resulting in the death of her unborn child.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Torey Branch deserves to spend every day of the next 27 years locked away in a prison cell for his cowardly, brutal and simply inhumane attack on a pregnant woman that caused the victim to suffer horrific injuries, left her unconscious and needing two blood transfusions—all because he did not want her to have their baby.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Torey Branch, 35, of 1414 Bergen Street, Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The defendant was today sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alexander B. Jeong to a determinate sentence of 25 years in prison on the charge of first-degree burglary and an indeterminate sentence of 2 1/3-7 years in prison on the charge of first-degree abortion; he ordered the sentences to run consecutively. The defendant was also sentenced to one year in prison on the charge of third-degree assault to run concurrent.  The defendant was found guilty of first-degree abortion, first-degree burglary and third-degree assault following a jury trial last month.

According to trial testimony, the defendant and victim had a nine-year relationship during which time the victim became pregnant. The defendant expressed that he did not want a child and became angry at the victim’s decision to follow through with the pregnancy.

On March 28, 2014, the victim and defendant agreed to meet at the victim’s Brooklyn residence. At approximately 1:15 p.m., as the victim entered into her apartment building, surveillance video shows she was followed inside by two masked men, one of whom has not been apprehended.  Once inside, the two masked men choked and punched the victim about the head and body and then repeatedly hit the victim’s pregnant stomach, eventually knocking the victim unconscious.

According to trial testimony, the victim identified one of the masked men as the defendant when she heard him say “move, move” during the attack and recognized his voice. The victim was hit approximately 22 times and suffered severe injuries including an orbital fracture. Her unborn child died in utero a few hours after the attack.

A search of the defendant’s cell phone, according to testimony, revealed approximately 51 incriminating online searches including “can being hit in the stomach cause a miscarriage” and “what happens if you punch a pregnant woman in the stomach.” The searches occurred between January 19, 2014 and March 9, 2014 — approximately three weeks prior to the attack.

The case was investigated by Detective Kenneth Anderson of the New York City Police Department’s 75th Precinct.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Joanna Lettieri, of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Edward Purce, Deputy Bureau Chief and under the overall supervision of Michelle Kaminsky, Bureau Chief.

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