Bronx Woman Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Fatally Stabbing Ex-Boyfriend in Dispute Over Payment for Sexual Favors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 30, 2015

 

Bronx Woman Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Fatally Stabbing Ex-Boyfriend in Dispute Over Payment for Sexual Favors

Victim Stabbed More Than 60 Times During Struggle in His Brooklyn Apartment

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 47-year-old Bronx woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 2011 death of her ex-boyfriend whom she stabbed repeatedly during a fight inside his Prospect-Lefferts Gardens apartment.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant repeatedly stabbed a man she knew for most of her life and left him bleeding to death.  The long prison sentence she got fit the horrible crime that she committed.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Esmerilda Morales, 47, of 1755 Weeks Avenue in the Bronx. She was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic to 25 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision following her guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter, which was entered on July 16, 2015. She waived her right to appeal as part of the plea.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant knew the victim, 53-year-old Melvin Vargas, since she was 16 and the two had been involved in a sporadic romantic relationship years ago. They remained in contact and had an arrangement under which the defendant would engage in sexual activity with the victim for money.

On December 21, 2011, at about 7 p.m., Morales visited Vargas at his sixth-floor apartment on 25 Lefferts Avenue, in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. According to the defendant’s statements, she was paid $150 in exchange for a sexual act. Vargas then offered her $300 to engage in another sex act and later refused to pay. The defendant told detectives that an argument ensued, that the two fought over a kitchen knife and that she stabbed the victim.

District Attorney Thompson said Vargas was discovered the next day by his brother and his building’s superintendent. He sustained over 60 stab wounds to his body and died as a result of blood loss. The apartment was ransacked with property strewn throughout and some belongings thrown out a window to the backyard. A knife was also recovered in the apartment.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, at about 2:30 a.m. on December 22, 2011, the defendant was captured by security cameras in the lobby of the victim’s building with boxes, bags and luggage that were taken from his apartment. She then hailed a taxi, loaded the items and arrived at a Bronx apartment that she shared with her boyfriend.

The victim’s license and credit cards were recovered at the defendant’s home pursuant to a search warrant. She was arrested and made statements to detectives. She was subsequently taken to a hospital for detox treatment.

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

 

 

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Driver Indicted for Recklessly Killing His Girlfriend by Allegedly Speeding, Blowing a Red Light and Crashing Into Parked Cars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 30, 2015

 

Driver Indicted for Recklessly Killing His Girlfriend by Allegedly
Speeding, Blowing a Red Light and Crashing Into Parked Cars

One-Car Wreck Was Caught on Video; Victim Ejected from Passenger Seat

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 20-year-old Brooklyn man was indicted for recklessly killing his girlfriend in a car crash last month when he drove through a steady red light – going the wrong way at approximately 60 mph in a 25 mph zone – and crashed into parked cars after swerving to avoid an oncoming vehicle.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant flouted many traffic laws and ignored all safety rules when he caused a young woman’s death and endangered other drivers that morning. He now faces serious charges, which demonstrate that my office will vigorously prosecute reckless motorists who kill or cause injury.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Brandon Craigwell, 20, of 278 East 40th Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was indicted on charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, first-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving and related counts. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count. He was arrested on July 23, 2015 and is being held on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond. The indictment was filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court today and the defendant will be arraigned at a later date.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, at approximately 3:53 a.m., on June 2, 2015, in the vicinity of 822 Saint John’s Place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the defendant was behind the wheel of a 1994 Honda Civic when he ran a red light, driving eastbound between 53 to 63 mph in a 25 mph zone. He allegedly crossed a double yellow line in the two-way road, which was wet due to rainy conditions, swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle and caused his car to then bounce off multiple parked cars. His girlfriend, 20-year-old Shana-Kayes Khans, who was in the passenger seat, was ejected from the Honda as it came to a stop and sustained fatal injuries.

District Attorney Thompson said that the incident was captured by several video surveillance cameras. Police officers responded to the scene within minutes and observed the victim lying face down on the street. She was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital about 30 minutes later. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head and torso with internal injuries.

The investigation was conducted by Detective Edward Behringer and Detective Robert Saporito of the New York City Police Department’s Highway Division, Collision Investigation Squad.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Seth Goldman of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau V, Orange Zone, with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein and Assistant District Attorney Gayle Dampf of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Thomas Ridges, Orange Zone Chief.    

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

 

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Fifteen Defendants Charged with Narcotics Trafficking in Flatbush; One Man Additionally Charged with Murder for Shooting Death in July Believed to be in Retaliation for Earlier Gunshot Murder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 6, 2015

 

Fifteen Defendants Charged with Narcotics Trafficking in Flatbush;
One Man Additionally Charged with Murder for Shooting Death in July
Believed to be in Retaliation for Earlier Gunshot Murder

Approximately 100 Drug Buys Made During Course of Operation;
Handgun, Quantity of Narcotics Recovered During Execution of Search Warrants

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that 15 people have been arrested on drug trafficking and other charges in connection with allegedly selling crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana to undercover officers over the past year during an anti-drug initiative in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

The District Attorney said that one of the alleged drug dealers, Oshane Fyffe, 18, is also charged with the July 15, 2015, shooting death of Abetonji Ajakaye, 25, in the vicinity of East 17th Street and Newkirk Avenue. Fyffe is believed to have shot the victim in retaliation for a July 13, 2015, incident in which Migly Jean-Jacquez, 18, allegedly shot and killed Harold Abadia Sandoval, 21, in the vicinity of East 21st Street and Newkirk Avenue. Jean-Jacquez was arrested on July 31, 2015 and is charged with second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These arrests underscore our determination to reclaim our streets from drug dealers and other criminals who endanger the safety and degrade the quality of life of our communities. Gun-related street violence puts everyone at risk and has left two young men dead.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “I want to thank the NYPD’s Brooklyn South Narcotics Division and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for working together to remove these drug dealers from our streets. The NYPD remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into our city.”

The investigation began in August 2014 following community complaints about narcotics trafficking and violence within the confines of the 67th and 70th Precincts in Flatbush. Specifically, the investigation focused on a several block radius from Bedford Avenue to East 21st Street and Foster Avenue to Ditmas Avenue.

Over the course of the investigation, undercover officers made approximately 100 buys of crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Police recovered a 9 mm Beretta, as well as a quantity of crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and drug paraphernalia during the execution of search warrants yesterday.

The defendants are presently awaiting arraignment on multiple criminal complaints in Brooklyn Criminal Court. They are variously charged with conspiracy in the fourth-degree, a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison; criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree, a class B felony punishable by up to nine years in prison; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree, a B felony punishable by up to nine years in prison; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree, an A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail; criminal sale of marihuana in the fourth-degree, an A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail; and unlawful possession of marihuana, a violation punishable by up to 15 days in jail.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Jeremy Demarco of Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South, under the supervision of Lieutenant Frankie Rivera.

The narcotics case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Adam Uris, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jonathan R. Sennett, Deputy Bureau Chief and Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.

ADA Sennett is prosecuting Oshane Fyffe for the July 15, 2015, murder of Abetonji Ajakaye.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Lewis Lieberman, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, is prosecuting Migly Jean-Jacquez for the July 13, 2015, murder of Harold Abadia Sandoval, under the supervision of Deputy District Attorney Kenneth M. Taub, Chief of the Homicide Bureau.

Defendant Addendum:

Barbara Capers, dob: 9-21-56, 2215 Newkirk Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (11 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (11 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count); and conspiracy in the fourth-degree (1 count).

Egobeda James, dob: 10-31-79, 529 East 22nd Street, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (4 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (4 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count); and conspiracy in the fourth-degree (1 count).

Hayden Flemming, dob: 12-10-82, 2328 Newkirk Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (14 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (14 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count); and conspiracy in the fourth-degree (1 count).

Walter Stewart, dob: 3-11-69, 2336 Newkirk Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (9 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (9 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count); and conspiracy in the fourth-degree (1 count).

Jeffrey Raymond, dob: 7-15-88, 529 East 22nd Street, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (4 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (4 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (2 counts); and conspiracy in the fourth-degree (2 counts). 

Thomas Jones, dob: 9-6-84, 529 East 22nd Street, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (5 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (5 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count); and conspiracy in the fourth-degree (1 count).

Shawn Hazel, dob: 3-2-97, 401 East 23rd Street, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (8 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (6 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count); and conspiracy in the fourth-degree (1 count).

Oshane Fyffe, dob: 11-4-96, 611 East 21st Street, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with murder in the second-degree (1 count) and criminal possession of a weapon (1 count); criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (9 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (9 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count); and conspiracy in the fourth-degree (1 count).

Rayshawn Jones, dob: 12-4-89, 905 East 38th Street, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of marihuana in the fourth-degree (4 counts); and unlawful possession of marihuana (4 counts).

Nancy Negron aka Lebron, dob: 8-4-80, 2115 Newkirk Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (2 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (2 counts); and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree (2 counts).

Paolo Alfaro-Barber, dob: 7-28-91, 1333 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (1 count); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (2 counts); and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (2 counts).

Sheldon Flemming, dob: 12-9-76, 2328 Newkirk Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (1 count); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count); and criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second-degree (1 count).

Jasmine Luzicourt, dob: 7-24-97, 529 East 22nd Street, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal possession of a firearm (1 count); criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth-degree (1 count); and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (2 counts).

Jermaine Luzincourt, dob: 7-29-88, 529 East 22nd Street, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal possession of a firearm (1 count); criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth-degree (1 count); and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (2 counts).

Rafael Marrero, dob: 5-2-68, 2604 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree (2 counts); criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree (2 counts); and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree (1 count).

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

Former Manager Sentenced For Stealing $120,000 From Pitkin Avenue Modell Pawnbrokers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 7, 2015

 

Former Manager Sentenced For Stealing $120,000 From Pitkin Avenue Modell Pawnbrokers

Defendant Admitted He Stole Cash From Safe To Pay Debts

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 35-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced for stealing $120,000 from a Brownsville branch of Modell pawn shops, where he worked as a manager. The defendant said he took the money to pay off debts. He was sentenced to six months of weekends in jail and there was a full order of restitution filed against him.

District Attorney Thompson said, “We intend to make sure that the defendant pays back every dime that he stole from his employer and also serves jail time for his criminal conduct.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Timmy Harrison, 35, of Ryder Street, in Flatlands. The defendant pleaded guilty before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on May 26, 2015, to one count of fourth-degree grand larceny. He was sentenced today to six months of weekends in jail and signed a judgment for a full order of restitution.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant had been employed at the Pitkin Avenue Modell Pawnbrokers since May 2010. As manager of that location, he was responsible for all cash and had exclusive access to certain secured areas of the branch. In August 2014, owner Eric Modell became aware of financial irregularities in the Pitkin Avenue location and sent the Director of Security to investigate. He found that approximately $123,000 cash was missing from the location and confronted the defendant, who admitted taking $120,000 cash without permission. The District Attorney’s office was then notified of the theft.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Pamela Murray 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.

 

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Three Alleged Gang Members Indicted for Attempted Murder of Five Victims, Including Pregnant Woman, Who Were Shot in Red Hook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

 

Three Alleged Gang Members Indicted for Attempted Murder of Five
Victims, Including Pregnant Woman, Who Were Shot in Red Hook

Allegedly Wounded Three Women and Two Men as Retribution for Earlier Shooting

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that three Brooklyn men were indicted for a shooting that wounded five people in Red Hook, Brooklyn earlier this month. The gunfire, which caused a pregnant 19-year-old victim to miscarry, was allegedly part of an ongoing dispute between rival gangs and came as retribution for a shooting earlier that day.

District Attorney Thompson said, “In light of the horrific shooting in Red Hook that caused a young woman to lose her baby, we’re determined to put these defendants away for as long as possible.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Marquise Frederick, Quamari McAllister and Elijah Wells, all 19, from Brooklyn. They are named in a 20-count indictment that includes five counts of second-degree attempted murder, three counts of first-degree assault, five counts of first-degree attempted assault and related charges.

Wells was arrested today and arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. He was ordered held without bail and is due back in court on October 27, 2015. Frederick and McAllister were arrested on August 5, 2015 and have been ordered held without bail. They will be arraigned on the indictment at a later date. Each defendant faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top counts.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, on August 3, 2015, at about 10:48 p.m., the defendants pulled up in a green Ford Explorer outside 9A Dwight Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. They allegedly stepped out of the car and repeatedly shot in the direction of the victims, striking all five. They then jumped back into the vehicle and fled. Surveillance video captured the Explorer, which is registered to McAllister’s father, leaving the area at a high rate of speed. Numerous .40-caliber shell casings were recovered from the scene.

The victims, who suffered gunshot wounds to the body, included two 20-year-old men and three women ages 19, 19 and 22. One of the women was pregnant and had a miscarriage as a result of her injuries.

The investigation revealed that the defendants are allegedly members of the “Gownaus Crew” or “Oww-Oww,” a subset of the Bloods gang. The group has been involved in a simmering dispute with a rival crew based in Red Hook, which was rooted in a homicide from March 2015. Earlier on August 3, another “Oww-Oww” member was shot and it is alleged that the later shooting that night was meant as retaliation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Iris Das of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, and Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, under 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.

 

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City Correction Officer Charged With Promoting Prison Contraband For Allegedly Smuggling Tobacco to Rikers Island Inmates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 

City Correction Officer Charged With Promoting Prison Contraband
For Allegedly Smuggling Tobacco to Rikers Island Inmates

Also Indicted On Charges of Bribe Receiving and Corrupting the Government;
Payments Wired to Brooklyn Western Union Agent

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced that a New York City correction officer has been indicted in connection with accepting more than $8,000 in bribes for allegedly smuggling loose tobacco to inmates on Rikers Island.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This indictment, which is the very first time that charges have been brought under this new law anywhere in the state, shows our determination to thoroughly investigate and prosecute alleged acts of bribery committed by any public servant. The fact that a New York City Correction Officer on Rikers Island now stands accused of committing these serious crimes is even more troubling.”

Commissioner Peters said, “Contraband smuggling enables an underground economy that when left unchecked fuels violence and other illegal conduct. It undercuts integrity and safety. And it speaks to a fundamental breakdown in order that makes all other crimes more likely. DOI will continue its vigilance in this area and work with the Brooklyn District Attorney and fellow law enforcement partners to attack this serious crime, one that also undermines the effective and safe operation of our City’s jails.”

The defendant, Jorge Garcia, 51, was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog on an indictment in which he is charged with one count of third-degree corrupting the government, 14 counts of third-degree bribe receiving, one count of second-degree promoting prison contraband, one count of fifth-degree conspiracy and two counts of fraud; neglect of duty; willful violation of law relative to office. He was held without bail and will return to court tomorrow, August 20, 2015, for a bail determination. Garcia faces up to seven years in prison on the top count if convicted.

The District Attorney noted that the Corrupting the Government statute went into effect on April 30, 2014, and that it is being charged for the first time statewide with this indictment.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, officials received a tip that Garcia was trafficking in tobacco and discovered that the defendant, who was assigned to the Anna M. Kross Center (AMKC is one of 10 jails on Rikers Island) solicited and accepted payments from inmates, via their friends, relatives and associates, in exchange for smuggling tobacco into the jail.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, from January 4, 2014 to November 21, 2014, the defendant allegedly obtained $8,600 in payments from 14 AMKC inmates whose relatives and associates paid Garcia using Western Union money transfers. Garcia allegedly collected a total of 64 money transfers at Davids Check Cashing on Myrtle Avenue, in Brooklyn, which is a Western Union agent.

The District Attorney further said that, according to the indictment, after smuggling the contraband tobacco into AMKC, Garcia provided it to the inmates for their own use or to resell to other inmates, engaging in a scheme to intentionally undermine and frustrate the New York City Department of Correction’s ban on tobacco and fueling an underground economy on Rikers Island.

The investigation was conducted by DOI’s Office of Inspector General for DOC, specifically Assistant Inspector General Carmelo Galarza, under the supervision of First Deputy Inspector General Chin Ho Cheng, Senior Inspector General Jennifer Sculco, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Michael Carroll and First Deputy Lesley Brovner.

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

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

Two Gang Members Sentenced to 21 Years to Life and 20 Years in Prison For Killing and Slashing of Two Rivals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

 

Two Gang Members Sentenced to 21 Years to Life and 20 Years in Prison
For Killing and Slashing of Two Rivals

One Victim Stabbed 28 Times and Another Knifed in Throat During Attack in Coney Island

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that two Coney Island men were sentenced to 21 years to life in prison and 20 years in prison, respectively, for a violent attack on a group of rival gang members in 2012 that left one man dead and another with slash wounds to his throat.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These two defendants engaged in senseless gang violence on the streets of Brooklyn and deserve every day that they will now spend behind bars.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Alex (“Shorty”) Escamilla, 23, and Heiberto (“Big Boy”) Guerrero, 24, both of 1608 Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Escamilla was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to 21 years to life in prison following his conviction on May 26, 2015 on charges of second-degree murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon after a jury trial. Guerrero was sentenced to 20 years in prison following his conviction on June 9, 2015, by a separate jury at the same trial, on charges of first-degree assault, first-degree gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on June 4, 2012 at approximately 1:55 a.m., the defendants were driving on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, when they saw the victims on the corner of West 15th Street and Neptune Avenue. They made a U-turn, exited the vehicle, Escamilla armed with a knife and Guerrero holding a pipe, and chased the victims down West 15th Street.

Guerrero caught up with Jose Herrera, 28, and assaulted him, before Escamilla joined the attack. The victim died, suffering 28 stab wounds to the face and body as well as 13 blunt force impact injuries to his head and face, according to evidence presented at trial. Angel Reyes, 22, was slashed during the attack and suffered a laceration to the throat. Both victims were unarmed.

District Attorney Thompson said that the motive for the assault was ongoing violence between two rival gangs. The defendants belonged to the Coney Island Warriors and the victims to El Esquadron (also known as SDN). Surveillance footage captured part of the chase and the defendants were identified by several eyewitnesses.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Seth Goldman of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, 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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Demo – Eleven Defendants Indicted for Scam in Which They Allegedly Used Stolen Credit Card Numbers to Purchase Target Gift Cards



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, March 5, 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.”

 

 

Bay Ridge Insurance Agent Indicted On Hate Crime Charges For Allegedly Targeting Elderly Victims in Financial Fraud



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

 

Bay Ridge Insurance Agent Indicted On Hate Crime Charges
For Allegedly Targeting Elderly Victims in Financial Fraud

Defendant Allegedly Stole $2.5 Million in Retirement Plans and Life Savings From 12 Victims Ages 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that a Staten Island man with a business in Bay Ridge has been arraigned on a 64-count indictment in which he is charged with grand larceny as a hate crime and other charges for allegedly targeting vulnerable, elderly victims and scamming them out of more than $2.5 million in hard-earned savings.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly took advantage of some of society’s most vulnerable victims, whom he targeted because of their age. He held himself out as a savvy investor and trusted advisor, when in fact he was allegedly nothing more than a crook. These victims lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of their life savings at a time when they need it most. We will now prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “As alleged, this individual violated the trust of his clients, pocketed millions of dollars, and denied his victims their savings. I would like to thank Detective Mark Lombardo of the 68 Precinct squad and the investigators of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for exposing this individual and holding him responsible for his actions.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Paul Simoneschi, 69, of 57 Benedict Avenue, Staten Island, was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 64-count indictment in which he is charged with two counts of first-degree scheme to defraud, one count of first-degree money laundering, 13 counts of second-degree grand larceny as a hate crime, 13 counts of second-degree grand larceny, 28 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, four counts of third-degree grand larceny and three counts of third-degree grand larceny as a hate crime. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between June 30, 2009 and June 14, 2014, 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 allegedly developed long-term relationships with some of these clients, including senior citizens who were not financially savvy, according to the indictment, 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 allegedly 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.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, 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 allegedly 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 allegedly stole $2.5 million from 13 victims, 12 of whom were in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. The victims lost amounts ranging from $12,000 to $575,000.

The District Attorney said that the alleged 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 allegedly 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. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this defendant is urged to call the District Attorney’s Action Center at 718-250-2340.

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 is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Marie 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.

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

 

Gun Trafficker Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Smuggling Firearms from Georgia to Brooklyn


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 27, 2015

 

Gun Trafficker Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for
Smuggling Firearms from Georgia to Brooklyn

Total of 151 Weapons, Including Rifle and Semi-Automatic Pistols, Purchased During Undercover Operation

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that an 18-year prison sentence was given to an out-of-state firearms trafficker who transported guns from Georgia to Brooklyn up Interstate 95, commonly referred to as the “iron pipeline,” and sold over 150 firearms, including assault weapons, to an undercover officer on multiple occasions. One shipment included 25 guns that were then sold to the officer, which represents the largest single weapons buy in the history of the New York City Police Department.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This harsh prison sentence reflects our determination to bring to justice out-of-state firearms traffickers who use lax gun laws down south to flood our city with guns. We will continue to go after these merchants of death no matter where they live.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Michael Quick, of 703 Daniel Street in LaGrange, Georgia, who also had a residence at 37 Comstock Avenue in Staten Island. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to 18 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision, following his guilty plea on August 6, 2015 to one count of first-degree criminal sale of a firearm and one count of first-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The defendant waived his right to appeal as part of the plea.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between September 2013 and April 2014, Quick made 13 car trips from Georgia to Canarsie, Brooklyn, up the I-95 corridor, transporting as many as 25 firearms at a time, and sold them to an undercover NYPD officer at the corner of Foster Avenue and East 96th Street.

The 151 weapons he smuggled included an AR-15 assault rifle, MAC-11 subcompact machine pistol, two TEC-9 semiautomatic pistols and a variety of pistols and revolvers, many of which were loaded. Some of the firearms were purchased in stores and others were stolen, the investigation found. Wiretaps revealed that the defendant communicated about purchasing guns that are easily concealed; the logistics of transporting them; price negotiations with Georgia suppliers; and wiring money from New York to Georgia to facilitate the initial gun purchases.

District Attorney Thompson said the conspiracy was highly lucrative: a 9-mm gun bought in Georgia for $200 can be resold in Brooklyn for $1,000. Quick was paid a total of $126,000 over the course of the investigation.

The District Attorney thanked Detective John Edgar of the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau, Firearms Investigations Unit; his supervisors, Captain Robert Van Houten, Lieutenant Michael Jennings and Sergeant Donald Morgan; and the undercover officer for their partnership in this successful investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bennett of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Tara Lenich, Deputy Bureau Chief, under the supervision of Nicole Chavis, 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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