Teen Gunman Convicted of Murder for Shooting Innocent Man On Crowded Bus in Bedford-Stuyvesant During Rush Hour


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, February 1, 2016

 

Teen Gunman Convicted of Murder for Shooting Innocent Man On Crowded Bus in Bedford-Stuyvesant During Rush Hour

Victim Shot in Head and Killed by Gang Member

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Bedford-Stuyvesant teenager has been convicted of second-degree murder for pulling out a .357 Magnum revolver on a crowded city bus during rush hour and shooting an innocent 39-year-old man in the back of the head, killing him. The defendant opened fire on three rival gang members who were also on the bus.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Angel Rojas was an innocent and hardworking man who came to our country to pursue the American Dream. All of that was tragically and brutally taken away from him in an instant by a teenager caught up in the gang culture and the random and senseless gun violence that it spawns. Hopefully, this conviction will bring his shattered family some solace.”

​The District Attorney identified the defendant as Kahton Anderson, 15, of 660 Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The defendant was today convicted of one count of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree attempted assault, one count of first-degree reckless endangerment and one count of first-degree criminal use of a firearm following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo. The judge set sentencing for February 18, 2016, at which time the defendant, as a juvenile offender, faces up to 15 years to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on the afternoon of March 20, 2014, Anderson – a Stack Money Goons gang member – was on a southbound B15 bus when three members of the rival Twan Family gang boarded. Anderson, who was 14-years-old at the time, pulled out a .357 revolver from his backpack and opened fire.

Angel Rojas, 39, who was married and the father of an 8-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, was sitting in a forward facing seat on the bus, talking on a cell phone. He was struck in the back of the head. After shooting Mr. Rojas, the defendant ran off the bus after his rivals and continued to shoot, emptying his gun. Mr. Rojas was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at Woodhull Hospital.

Anderson was convicted of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment at an earlier trial last year and is awaiting sentencing on that conviction.

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


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Bookkeeper Indicted For Stealing Approximately $755,000 From Brooklyn Property Management Company

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 1, 2016

 

Bookkeeper Indicted For Stealing Approximately $755,000
From Brooklyn Property Management Company

Allegedly Used Funds to Pay for Investment Properties in Syracuse

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced a 34-count indictment charging a former employee with stealing almost $755,000 from a family-owned company that managed residential buildings in Brooklyn.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly used her employer here in Brooklyn as a personal piggy bank by stealing a staggering amount of money from several company bank accounts and then investing the stolen money into her own properties upstate.  She will now be held accountable for this elaborate scheme to defraud.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Jennifer De Coteau Ulanov, 44, of Syracuse, New York (formerly of Brighton Beach) 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, 21 counts of second-degree forgery and 12 counts of first-degree falsifying business records. She was ordered held on bail of $750,000 bond or $250,000 cash and to return to court on March 30, 2016.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, Ulanov was the sole employee of Guardian Property Management, a property management company based in Park Slope and owned by husband and wife partners. Guardian managed small to mid-size rentals, cooperatives and condominiums located in Park Slope, Williamsburg, Sunset Park and other Brooklyn neighborhoods. Its duties included maintaining clients’ funds, collecting rents, common charges and maintenance fees, hiring and paying contractors, and managing the purchase and sale of condominium units and cooperative apartments.

Guardian maintained separate accounts at Citibank for each of its clients, and a master account into which Guardian’s fees were deposited and from which it paid its operating costs, including rent, payroll and office supplies. Only the owners were authorized to sign checks from all of the accounts.

Furthermore, according to the indictment, Ulanov’s duties included opening mail, making bank deposits, preparing checks to pay contractors and vendors on behalf of clients, downloading Guardian’s clients’ bank statements and making entries into Guardian’s QuickBooks software.

It is alleged that between January 3, 2010 and December 31, 2014, Ulanov stole over $755,000 from Guardian in a number of ways, including:

  • Depositing checks for rent, maintenance and common charges into her personal accounts instead of into client accounts by forging the clients’ signatures for endorsement.
  • Forging the signature of her employers on scores of Guardian client accounts and depositing the forged checks into her personal account, then covering up the shortfalls by doctoring the Citibank statements to include false entries and false calculations.
  • Forging her employers’ signatures on checks from the Guardian master account and making them payable to herself, as well as diverting client fees that should have been deposited into the Guardian master account into her accounts, as well as diverting client fees from the master account into her personal accounts.
  • Illegally obtaining unrestricted access to Guardian’s accounts which allowed her to alter the monthly statements for Guardian client accounts so they appeared to have balances in excess of their true balances.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, among other things, the defendant used the money to pay down mortgages on and to maintain six investment properties in Syracuse, New York.

The case was investigated by Brooklyn District Attorney Supervising Financial Investigator Deborah Wey. It was additionally investigated by Detective Investigator Andrew Choi of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator Michael Seminara, Deputy Chief Edwin Murphy and the overall supervision of Chief Richard Bellucci.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Dana Roth, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, 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 Division and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.

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

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Killing 79-Year-Old Bystander Outside Bedford-Stuyvesant Barbershop


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, January 28, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Killing 79-Year-Old  Bystander
Outside Bedford-Stuyvesant Barbershop

Fired Gun at Two Rivals and Struck Innocent Man

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 22-year-old Brooklyn man has been convicted of second-degree murder for a 2011 shooting that left an innocent bystander, age 79, dead of a gunshot wound to the neck.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This is another tragic example of the devastation gang violence wreaks in our communities. An innocent elderly man who did nothing wrong is dead because this defendant showed utter disregard for human life. We will now move to put this defendant away for a long time.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Breeze King, 22, of 465 Lexington Avenue in Bedford-Stuvesant, Brooklyn. He was convicted today of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Guy Mangano. The defendant will be sentenced on February 26, 2016 at which time he faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on September 28, 2011, the defendant, who is a gang member, encountered two rivals on the street and opened fire on them. One of the targets ran into a barbershop at 358 Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Andrew Burke, 79, who was standing in front of the barbershop, was struck in the neck and died from the gunshot wound.

A witness who came forward about a year after the incident identified the defendant as the shooter, according to the investigation. Another witness testified that the defendant admitted his role to him when they were both jailed in Rikers Island.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Leila Rosini and Adam Uris 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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Bronx Man Pleads Guilty to Fatally Choking Brooklyn Woman, Disposing of Her Body


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, January 25, 2016

 

Bronx Man Pleads Guilty to Fatally Choking Brooklyn Woman, Disposing of Her Body

Cut off Victim’s Fingertips, Placed Body in Laundry Bag and Dumped it in Canarsie Pier

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 35-year-old Bronx man has pleaded guilty to murder and grand larceny for choking a Brooklyn woman to death. The defendant then cut off the victim’s fingertips, threw the body off of the Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn and used the victim’s banking cards to withdraw cash and make purchases in stores and fast food restaurants. He faces a prison sentence of 18 years to life as part of the plea.

District Attorney Thompson said, “By sadistically killing, cutting up and dumping the victim’s body in the water, this defendant showed absolutely no mercy towards the victim. With his guilty plea, we will now show no mercy towards him and seek a long prison sentence for this ruthless and cold-blooded killer.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Charles Wright, 35, of 1627 Fulton Avenue in the Bronx. He pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder and two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Gary, who indicated he will sentence the defendant to 18 years to life in prison. The defendant will be sentenced on February 10, 2016.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 25, 2014, the defendant got into an argument with Shaniqua Davis, 32, inside an apartment at 775 Blake Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. He strangled the victim, used a knife to cut off her fingertips, tied her hands and feet, stuffed the body inside a large brown laundry bag, put her in the back of her car, drove her to the Canarsie Pier and threw her in the water. The body was found on a tidal island in Jamaica Bay inside the laundry bag on August 4, 2014.

The evidence showed that after killing the victim, the defendant used her ATM card to withdraw $141.50 from a grocery store across the street from her home. He also used her credit card to make purchases at a gas station, a Family Dollar store and Wendy’s and Burger King restaurants.

The defendant’s girlfriend Tamanika Evens, 39, who helped him dispose of the body, pleaded guilty to first-degree hindering prosecution and fourth-degree grand larceny on December 3, 2015, and is expected to be sentenced to two to six years in prison.

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

 

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Brooklyn Gang Member Convicted of Killing 13-Year-Old Boy in Brownsville Shooting


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

 

Brooklyn Gang Member Convicted of Killing
13-Year-Old Boy in Brownsville Shooting

Fired Three Times at Group in Street Corner

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 21-year-old Brooklyn man has been convicted of second-degree murder for a fatal shooting in Brownsville, Brooklyn that killed a 13-year-old boy in 2012.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant callously murdered a young boy and then bragged about it. Today’s conviction ensures that he will spend many years in prison and be kept off of our streets.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Akbar Johns, 21, of 500 Thatford Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was convicted today of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. The defendant will be sentenced on February 5, 2016 at which time he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on August 24, 2012 at 12:30 a.m., the defendant fired a .38-caliber revolver three times, killing Ronald Wallace Jr., 13, who was standing with a group of young people at the corner of Tapscott Street and Blake Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

The victim’s older brother and another eyewitness testified that they saw the defendant approach. He said, “What’s crackin?” then fired a gun at the group and tossed the weapon into bushes, according to testimony.

The defendant, a member of the Bully Crip set, was arrested on September 2, 2012 in Cumberland, Maryland and subsequently gave oral and written statements, admitting to committing the shooting. He later bragged about his involvement in recorded conversations from Rikers Island, the evidence showed.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Yaniris Urraca and 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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Bay Ridge Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime Charges For Targeting Elderly Victims in Financial Fraud


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

 

Bay Ridge Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime Charges
For Targeting Elderly Victims in Financial Fraud

Defendant Stole Almost $4.5 Million in Retirement Plans and Life Savings from 21 Victims;
To Be Sentenced to Four to 12 Years in State Prison

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Staten Island man with a business in Bay Ridge has pleaded guilty to grand larceny as a hate crime, scheme to defraud and money laundering for targeting vulnerable, elderly victims and scamming them out of almost $4.5 million in hard-earned savings.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Shamefully, this defendant destroyed the retirements of elderly people who trusted him with their life savings. Some of them considered him a friend, but that did not stop him from taking advantage of their age and lack of financial knowledge to steal their money.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Paul Simoneschi, 70, of 57 Benedict Avenue, Staten Island, pleaded guilty today to first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree money laundering and second-degree grand larceny as a hate crime before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who indicated he would sentence the defendant to an indeterminate term of four to 12 years in prison on March 21, 2016. Simoneschi signed judgment orders of restitution totaling $4,477,562, which is the amount he stole from his victims.

Additionally, Simoneschi’s corporation, Simmons Planning Group & Agency, Inc., pleaded guilty to first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree money laundering and second-degree grand larceny.

The District Attorney said that between March 10, 2008 and  July 29, 2015, the defendant, who is a licensed insurance agent and financial planner, owned and operated Simmons Planning Group & Agency Inc., located at 8403 7th Avenue, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and sold insurance policies and annuities to his clients.

The defendant developed long-term relationships with some of these clients, including senior citizens who were not financially savvy and over time gained the trust of his clients. Some of the clients were Italian immigrants whom he spoke to in Italian. The investigation revealed that Simoneschi stole from his clients by various means, including:

  • Recommending that they surrender their insurance policies and invest the money with him. Instead of investing the money, he allegedly stole it by depositing it into his accounts that he controlled and using the money for himself.
  • In other instances, he allegedly surrendered his victims’ insurance policies without their permission or knowledge, forging their names and subsequently depositing the checks into accounts that he controlled.

Simoneschi tried to conceal his crimes by providing false documents to many of his victims, including copies of “new” policies opened on their behalf. At times, he gave them checks purported to be distributions from their policies or accounts, but which were actually checks from other accounts he controlled. In total, he stole $4.477 million from 21 victims, many of whom were in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. The victims lost amounts ranging from $1,000 to over $1 million.

The District Attorney said that the scheme was discovered after the defendant contacted one of his victims to tell the victim that he should reinvest his money in a new policy. The victim declined the offer, but later discovered that his account had been raided and that only $2,000 remained when the balance should have been more than $300,000. He reported the matter to police. An investigation discovered the additional victims, who had not been aware that they had been victimized.

The case was investigated by Detective Mark Lombardo of the New York City Police Department’s 68th precinct detective squad, under the supervision of Captain Aaron Klein and Sergeant Regina Debellis.

It was additionally investigated by Detective Investigator Hubert Dixon and Supervising Detective Investigator Robert Addonizio, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the overall supervision Chief Investigator Richard Bellucci. Financial Investigators Ludwig Sanchez and Shaakira Calnick, also of the DA’s Office, assisted in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Maria Leonardi and Heidi Bausk 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 and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 30 Years to Life in Prison for Fatal Shooting


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, January 14, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 30 Years to Life in Prison for Fatal Shooting

Defendant Fired Multiple Rounds at Victim during Dispute in Canarsie

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 25-year-old Canarsie man has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the 2013 shooting death of another man, who was shot numerous times in the lobby of an apartment building following an altercation with the defendant.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This murder is another example of the mindless gun violence that occurs all too frequently throughout our country. With today’s sentence, this defendant will now spend the next 30 or more years in prison thinking about the life that he took.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Allen Ross, 25, of Canarsie, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 30 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog following his conviction last month on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after a jury trial. The defendant was sentenced to 20 years to life on the murder conviction and 10 years on the weapon conviction, and the judge ordered the sentences to run consecutive to one another.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on October 4, 2013, at approximately 5:46 p.m., at 5706 Farragut Road, the defendant aimed a handgun at Lamar Blackwood and fired, striking the victim multiple times and killing him.

Video surveillance captured a physical altercation between the defendant and the victim just moments before the shooting, after the defendant opened the lobby door for the victim. The video also depicts the defendant holding a gun and shooting the victim before fleeing the scene and taking the gun with him.

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

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Hate Crime Against Transgendered Woman in Bushwick


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Hate Crime
Against Transgendered Woman in Bushwick

Defendant Shouted Anti-Gay Slurs Before Assaulting Victim, Who Suffered Brain Injury

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 26-year-old man was sentenced to 20 years in prison following his conviction last month on charges of first-degree assault as a hate crime for striking a 29-year-old transgendered woman in the head with a two by four piece of plexiglass, causing severe injuries.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Hate led to the defendant’s conviction. Justice led to his sentence.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Mashawn Sonds, 26, of 36 Hegeman Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 20 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun following his conviction on charges of first-degree assault as a hate crime. The defendant was convicted on December 18, 2015, following a jury trial. This was the first trial conviction secured by the DA’s Hate Crimes Unit, which was created last year and is part of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on October 12, 2014, at approximately 11:20 p.m., on Bushwick Avenue, near Halsey Street, a 29-year-old transgendered woman was walking with a gay male friend when she was approached by the defendant and others, with one of them yelling, “We don’t want f—-s on our block,” among other anti-gay epithets.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Sonds then picked up a piece of plexiglass and swung it at the victim, Kimball Hartman. As she tried to get away he threw the plexiglass and struck her in the head. The victim was knocked unconscious, began seizing and suffered profuse bleeding from the back of her head. She sustained a traumatic brain injury, underwent surgery to her skull and will likely suffer permanent injuries.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Michael Diaz of the Hate Crimes Task Force, under the supervision of Deputy Inspector Mark Magrone, Chief of the Task Force. NYPD Detective James Menton, of the Bronx Special Victims Squad, assisted in the apprehension of the defendant.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, Chief of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Carlos Santiago, also of the Civil Rights Bureau, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Statement of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson on the Passing of Honorable Judith Kaye


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, January 7, 2016

 

Statement of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson on
the Passing of Honorable Judith Kaye

“Honorable Judith Kaye was truly an innovator and pioneer who dedicated her life to improving our court system and to ensuring equal justice for all.  From the implementation of specialized courts to her push for a judicial bench that is a true reflection of New York’s diverse communities, Justice Kaye has left a legacy of outstanding public service.  She was a friend and will truly be missed.”

 

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Shooting in Gravesend


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, January 4, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Shooting in Gravesend

Killed Victim with Multiple Gunshots, Shot a Second Man in Arm

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 33-year-old man was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for the 2013 murder of a neighbor inside a building in Gravesend, Brooklyn, and for the subsequent attempted murder of another man, who was shot in the arm.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant engaged in senseless gun violence and now deserves to spend many years behind bars for the death and suffering he caused.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Tremaine Holmes, 33, of 30 Avenue V in Gravesend, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 40 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice, following his conviction on December 8, 2015 of second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, at about 11:55 p.m. on August 15, 2013, the defendant fired multiple shots at point blank range, hitting Perice Brown and also striking another individual inside 30 Avenue V. He then chased a third man, firing multiple shots outside the building. Brown died from his injuries and the second victim suffered a gunshot wound to his arm.

The defendant and Brown lived in the same building and were known to each other. The defendant was apprehended in Binghamton, NY on October 15, 2013.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Bernarda Villalona, formerly 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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