Brooklyn, February 28, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today welcomed newly-crowned Miss America 2013, Brooklynite Mallory Hagan. Miss Hagan has partnered with DA Hynes and the Crimes Against Children Bureau to help raise awareness of child sexual abuse.
“When I first learned that the platform Miss Hagan had chosen for her reign was child sexual abuse awareness and prevention, my Crimes Against Children Bureau invited her to partner with our office to raise awareness about this important cause,” said District Attorney Hynes. “I applaud Miss Hagan for tackling such a difficult and personal issue. I understand what it’s like to be the child of an abused parent—my mother was the victim of domestic violence. Miss Hagan and I know this abuse leaves no member of the family unscathed.”
“In my immediate family alone, five women, including my mother, have come forward with stories from their childhood that will forever haunt me,” said Miss Hagan. “They have inspired me to become an advocate so that I can bring light to a challenging issue that so desperately needs our attention.”
The Crimes Against Children Bureau was created in 1997. The first of its kind, the Crimes Against Children Bureau is dedicated solely to the investigation and prosecution of cases involving child victims under the age of 13, who are victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, fatalities and homicides.
Rhonnie Jaus is Chief of the Sex Crimes and Crimes Against Children Division. Miss Gregory is the Division’s Executive Assistant District Attorney and Kelly Casey is the First Deputy Bureau Chief.
Contact: Mia Goldberg
Brooklyn, February 27, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar, and Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Ryan, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Social Security Administration, today announced the indictment of Luis Lizandro, charged with stealing a dead man’s identity and, for 13 years, using it to fraudulently collect more than $680,000 in Medicaid and Social Security benefits.
District Attorney Hynes said, “Those who steal from people who legitimately need these resources are in effect stealing from all of us, and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
"Unscrupulous individuals commit egregious acts in an attempt to undermine the integrity of vital public benefits programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps)," said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar. "Fortunately, thanks to the meticulous work of our agency's fraud investigators and the commitment of law enforcement officials like Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and his team, New York City prosecutes these individuals to the full extent of the law.”
Special Agent Ryan said, “This investigation demonstrates the seriousness with which the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General SSA/OIG, responds to allegations of fraud against our agency and its recipients. SSA/OIG is not only committed to protecting the Social Security trust fund and the integrity of the programs, but to anyone who by means of deceit, fraudulently obtains government funds deemed for the most vulnerable in our society. We are pleased with the efforts of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in this successful prosecution.”
The indictment charges that Lizandro, a Panamanian national, stole the identity of an American citizen, Bobby Standifer, Jr., who died in Panama in 1994 and used it to obtain a United States passport. Lizandro used the passport to travel to the US in 1997, and in 2000, applied for Medicaid, Social Security Benefits and Foodstamps, in Standifer’s name, according to the indictment. Over the next 13 years, Lizandro collected more than $600,000 in Medicaid benefits, $60,000 in Social Security payments and $8,000 in Foodstamp benefits, according to the indictment.
Charges against Lizandro include Identity Theft in the First Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted of the top count, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
The case was investigated by agents from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General.
For KCDA, the case was investigated by Supervising Detective Investigator Glenn Kenny. Detective Investigator Ismael Zayas made the arrest. George Terra is Assistant Chief Investigator. Joseph Ponzi is Chief Rackets Investigator.
The case is being prosecuted by Joel H. Greenwald, of the Public Assistance Crimes Unit. Lauren Mack is Chief of the Public Assistance Crimes Unit.
Contact: Jonah Bruno
Brooklyn, February 25, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the conviction of Anel Kolenovic, 25, on charges of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Operating a Motor Vehicle While Impaired, and Assault in the Second Degree. He was charged with killing the driver of a car he struck while speeding down Ocean Avenue drunk in November 2010. He faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 18 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram.
On November 29, 2010, Kolenovic was speeding down Ocean Avenue and ran a red light at Avenue N, in Midwood, where he hit Moshe Berkowitz’s car, killing Berkowitz. Two passengers in Kolenovic’s car were injured.
The case was prosecuted by Gayle Dampf, Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Seth Zuckerman from the Trial Bureau Orange Zone.
Contact: Sandy Silverstein
Brooklyn, February 25, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the creation of a first-of-its-kind collaboration, where local prosecutors and city agencies team up with the federal Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the United States Attorney’s Office, to investigate and prosecute doctors and pharmacists who commit fraud against Medicaid and Medicare. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office will combine its efforts with those of Loretta E. Lynch, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Kathleen Sebelius, United States Secretary for Health and Human Services; Daniel Levinson, Inspector General for HHS; Robert Doar, Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration; and James Sheehan, HRA’s Chief Integrity Officer.
District Attorney Hynes also announced the creation of a new Healthcare Fraud Division, within his office, to handle the cases generated by the collaboration. With Commissioner Doar and New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan, District Attorney Hynes announced the indictment of Dr. Naveed Ahmad. Dr. Ahmad is charged with bilking Medicare and Medicaid out of approximately $500,000, over the course of three years. An ongoing investigation could lead to additional charges.
“Prosecution of Medicaid and Medicare fraud is a new game thanks to Senator Charles Schumer, the inspiration behind this extraordinary team,” said District Attorney Hynes. “For years I have wanted to go after crooked providers but lacked the resources to handle such cumbersome investigations, so when Senator Schumer suggested combining my efforts with those of the federal authorities, I was glad for the opportunity.”
“The recent developments outlined today clearly demonstrate the importance of collaboration between all levels of government to investigate and prosecute fraud, abuse and waste in the Medicare and Medicaid system,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “I was pleased to work with DA Hynes and USA Lynch to secure an agreement to expand the cooperation between Kings County DA’s office and the Eastern District. They will now collaborate not just on Medicaid fraud, but also Medicare fraud. From domestic violence, to community courts, to mortgage fraud prosecutions DA Hynes has consistently been at the cutting-edge of enlightened and effective law enforcement innovation. Brooklyn’s Health Care Fraud Division should be used as a model for the rest of the nation and I will continue to fight for the resources necessary to continue its terrific work.”
“District Attorney Hynes and our fellow government agencies have been excellent partners in the fight against fraud, and we are proud to expand this partnership and pool our resources to ensure those who abuse the public’s trust face justice,” said HRA Commissioner Doar.
USA Lynch said, “With losses from health care fraud estimated at $60 billion dollars a year, it is vital that law enforcement leverage all our resources to combat this threat to public health. Every day, unscrupulous people seek to line their own pockets with funds at the expense of those who truly need medical care. Here in Brooklyn, we look forward to working with the able prosecutors of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office to continue to hold accountable those who would seek to manipulate the healthcare system. This collaboration to combat Medicare and Medicaid fraud reflects our ongoing commitment to our community and taxpayers and demonstrates that we will take every step necessary to stamp out this widespread and dangerous fraud that impacts the health care needs of our citizens.”
“Teaming up Federal and local law enforcement agencies amplifies our impact in the fight against Medicare and Medicaid fraud,” said Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General for the US Department of Health and Human Services. “Unscrupulous doctors and others seeking to profit illegally on the backs of taxpayers and our nation’s most vulnerable patients are on notice. With our combined forces, the odds increase exponentially that their fraud schemes will be detected and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“With this new collaboration, I intend to have Lauren Mack, the head of my Healthcare Fraud Division, go after more cases with similar allegations to the ones that led the indictments against Dr. Ahmad and his codefendants, who may have cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” said DA Hynes.
“I applaud District Attorney Charles J. Hynes’ leadership in forming a unit devoted to healthcare fraud investigations, and Senator Schumer’s hard work in securing the necessary resources to support this unit. These cases are difficult to make, but incredibly important,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan. “One unscrupulous and greedy doctor can singlehandedly drain millions in tax dollars. But beyond the financial cost, a doctor violates his oath and creates a grave threat to the public’s health when he knowingly mishandles medications, such as those prescribed to HIV patients.”
“When you take advantage of a program designed to help the most vulnerable, there will be consequences,” said Commissioner Doar. “We will continue to work with the DA and our fellow agencies to ensure that criminals like the one indicted today are stopped and the integrity of the Medicaid program is maintained.”
Dr. Naveed Ahmad is charged with billing Medicaid for more than $455,000 in unnecessary procedures and prescriptions and Medicare more than $10,000 in unnecessary procedures and proscriptions. However, the investigation continues, and records indicate Dr. Ahmad may have fraudulently billed Medicare for an additional $2 million and Medicaid an additional $716,000 for procedures and $7 million for prescriptions.
Dr. Ahmad is charged with getting patients through “steerers” who would pay Medicaid and Medicare recipients up to $300 to visit the doctor, bill their health plans and then fill prescriptions, which they then turned over to the steerers. Some of the steerers are also charged with using their own government health plans to make office visits and fill prescriptions. Dr. Ahmad is charged with providing patients only cursory examinations, before prescribing them HIV medications. Steerers and patients are charged with selling the medication on the black market, to actual HIV patients, or on a grey market, to wholesalers who would then sell them back to pharmacies for a profit. He is also charged with billing for services not rendered, and in some cases sending in monthly bills to provide patients with repeated procedures, such as endoscopies, which he never, in fact, performed.
Two undercover HRA investigators posed as Medicaid patients and visited Dr. Ahmad’s office. One claimed to have HIV and the other told the doctor that he did not have HIV. The indictment charges that one was treated twice and her Medicaid account billed twice, and though she claimed to have HIV, she received prescriptions for HIV medication both visits without ever having any HIV tests conducted. The other undercover visited Dr. Ahmad only once. He presented Dr. Ahmad a list of HIV medications he wanted, and though he admitted not having HIV, the doctor prescribed some of the medications on the list, according to the indictment. The indictment charges that Dr. Ahmad did not give him any HIV-related test, but billed his Medicaid account for procedures neither needed nor administered. The indictment charges that both undercover officers’ Medicaid accounts were billed for a total of $5,800. One of the office visits was captured on video.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffery Linehan worked on the case for the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. Special Agent Ronny Aguilar from the US Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations worked on the case as well. HHS OIG Special Agent in Charge of the NY region Tom O'Donnell, along with more than 50 other HHS OIG agents, also worked on the case. Detective Investigator Michael Caruso was the lead investigator from the Brooklyn DA’s office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Sabrina Thanse, David Weiss, and Michelle Lambert, of the Healthcare Fraud Division. Lauren Mack is Chief of the Healthcare Fraud Division.
Contact: Jonah Bruno
Brooklyn, February 21, 2013 - Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the arrest of 14 individuals engaged in ongoing narcotics activity in and around Brooklyn’s Red Hook Houses development. The takedown was the culmination of a long-term investigation by the Kings County District Attorney’s Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau and NYPD’s Brooklyn South Narcotics Unit that commenced in summer 2012.
Over an eight-month period, narcotics detectives made over 60 purchases of narcotics including heroin and crack/cocaine from several dealers operating independently throughout the housing development. The majority of the drug sales took place within a four-block radius of Hicks Street and Centre Mall. This takedown brings to an end one of several long-term investigations that were initiated by District Attorney Hynes’ Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau in response to community complaints.
The 14 individuals were taken into custody today. Simultaneous with the arrests, a total of six search warrants were executed and narcotics seized at the following locations: 507 Columbia Street, Apartments 5A and 5E; 22 Mill Street, Apartment 3C; 11 Bush Avenue, Apartment 1A, where some 70 glassines of heroin, 23 packages of crack/cocaine and a large volume of rock cocaine were secured; 11 Bush Avenue, Apartment 1C; and 82 Dwight Street, Apartment 5F, where approximately two pounds of marijuana and a “heat press” machine used for packaging were seized.
Charges for the defendants include Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Third Degree, Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree, and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.
In an earlier phase of the investigation that concluded in September 2012, 12 people were arrested for narcotics activity taking place in other locations within the Red Hook Houses development. This second phase of the investigation reflects District Attorney Hynes’ ongoing commitment to enhance safety and quality of life in the Red Hook Community. “My commitment to Red Hook is steadfast,” said Hynes. “When the extraordinary people of this community asked for help with violent crime and drug activity years ago, I developed the Community Justice Center and we turned things around together. When it looked like the drug activity was creeping back last year and they once again asked for help, my office immediately commenced this comprehensive investigation, now in its second phase. These resilient folks survived Hurricane Sandy, and I assure you that I’m not going to let a bunch of drug dealers stand in their way as they continue to strive for excellence.”
The case was investigated by Detective Robert Negron, under the supervision of Lieutenant Kevin Carlton, Captain Natalie Maldonado and Inspector Donald Lyons of the Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South. Assistant District Attorneys Tara Lenich, Frank Santarpia and John Vourderis are prosecuting the case for the Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau. Marc Fliedner is the Chief of the Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau.
Contact: Sandy Silverstein
Brooklyn, February 13, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the sentencing of Angus Pascall, 36, an FDNY EMT, 89 years-to-life in prison, for sexually assaulting five victims, the youngest of whom was 11-years-old. A jury convicted him of one count of Rape in the First Degree; seven counts of Predatory Sexual Assault; three counts of Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child; one count of Attempted Predatory Sexual Assault, and 1 count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer imposed the sentence.
The judge ordered the sentences for the counts pertaining to each victim to run consecutively.
On June 11, 2001, the defendant forced his way into the 22-year old victim’s apartment, displayed a gun and forcibly raped her. Pascall was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for that crime.
The defendant was given an additional 18-years-to-life for the second victim. On May 21, 2009, a 19 year old female was forced to twice perform oral sex on the defendant, inside the elevator in her apartment building.
The third victim was 14 years-old when Pascall attempted to rape her on October 20, 2009 outside her home, and will serve 10 years to life for that crime.
The fourth incident also occurred inside an elevator. On July 11, 2010 the 11-year-old victim was in a building elevator, when the defendant entered. He put a gun to her face and repeatedly sexually assaulted her. The sentence for these crimes totaled 25 years to life in prison.
On July 19, 2010, the defendant forced a 20 year-old woman into his car at gunpoint and forcibly raped her, for which Pascall will serve an additional 18 years to life in prison.
The case was prosecuted by Michael Trabulsi, Counsel to the Sex Crimes Bureau, Assistant District Attorneys Olatokunbo Olaniyan and Elisabeth Prael, also from the Sex Crimes Bureau. Rhonnie Jaus is Chief of the Sex Crimes and Crimes Against Children Division.
Contact: Mia Goldberg
Brooklyn, February 8, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the conviction of Jeffrey Kaye, 50, for sexually abusing five students in 2007, 2010 and 2011. He was convicted on charges of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the Second Degree, four counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree and Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree. He faces up to 28 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 1 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Gary.
On several occasions, in 2007 and between April 2010 and April 2011, Kaye, a teacher at a test preparatory school in Sunset Park, sexually abused four of his students in the school’s bathroom. The victims ranged in ages from eight to 12-years-old. He was also convicted of sexually abusing a 17-year-old student who he was tutoring privately.
One of the victims told his parents about Kaye’s actions, who then alerted police. An investigation was conducted, which led to information regarding the other victims.
The case was prosecuted by Joan Erskine, Counsel to the Crimes Against Children Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Shea Scanlon Lomma. Miss Gregory is Chief of the Crimes Against Children Bureau. Rhonnie Jaus is Chief of the Sex Crimes/Crimes Against Children Division.
Contact: Sandy Silverstein
Brooklyn, February 7, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced that Emanuel Yegutkin, 33, was sentenced to 55 years in prison, for sexually abusing three young boys over the course of 10 years.
“This strong sentence once again proves that the people of Brooklyn will not tolerate crimes against children. Hopefully this brings some closure to these child victims so they can go on to lead happy and productive lives,” said District Attorney Hynes.
Yegutkin was convicted on 75 counts, of charges including three counts of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree, two counts of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the Second Degree, and multiple counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
Yegutkin was a principal of a private Jewish high school in Brooklyn. He became a close friend of the victims’ family and visited their home frequently. From 1996 to 2005, Yegutkin sexually abused two of the boys when they were ages seven to 15-years-old, and in 2008, exposed the third boy to pornography. He forced them to perform sex acts including fondling and oral sex. Yegutkin was arrested in January 2009.
The case was prosecuted by Rachel Schmidt, First Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes Bureau and Lauren Traum, Senior Trial Attorney of the Sex Crimes Bureau. Rhonnie Jaus is Chief of the Sex Crimes Bureau.
Contact: Jonah Bruno
Brooklyn, February 1, 2013 – I have lost not only a friend but every New Yorker has lost a public servant who not only played an important role in guiding our city as a Councilman, Congressman and Mayor, but someone whose persona epitomized the city he loved. It was an honor to serve as Fire Commissioner during his administration. He always asked “how am I doing?” Ed you did magnificent!
Contact: Sandy Silverstein