Brooklyn, August 29, 2013- Kings County District
Attorney Charles J. Hynes, Human Resources
Administration Commissioner Robert Doar, and U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Special
Agent in Charge, Thomas O’Donnell today announced
the indictment of V&A Pharmacy, Inc. and its owner,
Aleksandr Ilyayev, 41, for fraudulently collecting
nearly $800,000 in Medicaid payments between January
19, 2011 and November 29, 2012.
lyayev is charged with
numerous offenses including Health Care Fraud in the
Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and
Falsifying Business Records. He faces up to fifteen
years in prison, if convicted on the top count and
restitution of the stolen Medicaid funds.
“The commitment of resources
that resulted in this arrest is representative of my
office’s longstanding commitment to those Brooklyn
residents and Brooklyn taxpayers who rightfully demand
that their money and taxes are used for legitimate
purposes and who demand they have a public health care
system with integrity,” said D.A. Hynes. “To others like
this defendant, who are driven by greed I have a
message: When you steal from programs funded by
taxpayers’ dollars, such as public assistance and
Medicaid/Medicare, I will commit whatever resources it
takes to build the case against you and my staff stands
ready to prosecute that case to the fullest extent of
“Pharmacy owners purchasing prescriptions for thousands of dollars paid for by Medicaid without dispensing medications to the recipients is an egregious crime that threatens taxpayers’ trust in a program that was designed to truly help people in need,” said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar. “Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our agency’s fraud investigators and the vision and commitment of the Office of Medicaid Provider Fraud Abuse Investigations, the Department of Health and Human Services and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and his staff, this individual will be fully prosecuted and his fate will send a wide message that HRA and its law enforcement partners in government are always watching.”
"Prescription drug fraud -- perpetrated at taxpayer expense -- is increasing at an alarming rate both nationally and in Brooklyn,” said Thomas O’Donnell, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. “Along with our law enforcement partners, we will continue investigating pharmacy fraud, kickbacks and any other crimes against critical government health programs.”
According to the indictment,
between January 19, 2011 and August 21, 2012, HHS and
HRA investigators conducted 14 undercover operations at
V&A Pharmacy, located at 72 Manhattan Ave. in
Williamsburg. The investigation revealed that the
defendant was allegedly engaged in three types of
criminal schemes, all designed to get money from
First, it alleged the defendant billed Medicaid for 22 different prescription medications that were never dispensed, for which Medicaid paid a total of $17,940.20.
Second, the defendant
allegedly billed Medicaid for the full amount of
prescription medications that were only partially
dispensed. For example, an undercover
investigator brought in prescriptions for two different
HIV medications--60 pills of Isentress and 30 pills of
Reyataz. Out of the 90 prescribed pills, the
undercover investigator received only 20 Isentress and
two Reyataz. The defendant, however, received
$1,878.88 from Medicaid—the total cost of the full 90
Finally, the defendant
allegedly gave undercover investigators “kickbacks” in
cash or Metrocards for bringing prescriptions for
certain medications, primarily those used to treat HIV,
to be filled at V&A Pharmacy, in violation of Medicaid
rules and regulations. Ilyayev also encouraged the
undercover investigators to send him other Medicaid
recipients with similar prescriptions, and promised them
a commission for each new customer. During the
course of the investigation, the defendant allegedly
gave money/Metrocards to the undercover investigators on
13 occasions for bringing prescription slips to the
pharmacy. The undercover investigators received
$685 in cash and MetroCards valued at approximately
$203.59, totaling $888.59. The defendants billed
Medicaid for prescriptions that were dispensed to the
undercover investigators together with a “kickback” and
received payments totaling $45,152.47 from Medicaid.
The defendants received a
total of $64,971.55 in Medicaid payments resulting from
the 14 undercover operations.
In addition, an analysis of
records obtained by KCDA investigators, including the
defendants’ bank records, found that between the time
period of January 19, 2011 and November 29, 2012, the
pharmacy billed and received an additional $726,150.04
from Medicaid, since the first fraudulent billing was
submitted by the defendant. Had Medicaid known
that the defendants were engaging in the above-described
criminal schemes, the defendant would not have been
eligible to remain a Medicaid Provider, and were,
therefore, not entitled to any of these payments from
Medicaid. In total, Medicaid paid $791,121.59 to the
defendant during that period.
An indictment is an
accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s
The case was investigated by
HRA Senior Fraud Investigator Vinson Chan and HRA Deputy
Assistant Director Danny Harrell, Criminal Investigator
John Croes, from HHS, Detective Investigator Ismael
Zayas from the KCDA Healthcare Fraud Division KCDA
Supervising Detective Investigator Glenn Kenny, and KCDA
Chief Detective Investigator Joseph Ponzi.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Debra Jaroslawicz and Senior Investigative Attorney Sean P. Courtney, both from the Healthcare Fraud Division.
Lauren Mack is the Chief of the Healthcare Fraud Division.
Sandy Silverstein (718)
Brooklyn, August 23, 2013 – Kings
County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today
announced the arrest of 13 drug dealers who have
allegedly been operating in and around Fiorentino
Plaza, a NYCHA housing development located in the 75th
Precinct, and the arrest of two other individuals
found in possession of narcotics in the targeted
locations. The takedown marks the conclusion
of a joint long-term investigation conducted by the
NYPD’s Brooklyn North Narcotics Major Case Unit and
the Kings County District Attorney’s Major Narcotics
Investigations Bureau that was initiated in direct
response to community requests for assistance.
“When community members
reached out to us five years ago for assistance with
narcotics activity in Fiorentino Plaza, we took
immediate and decisive action, and when they asked for
help again at the end of last year, we once again got
right to work. There will be zero tolerance for
drug dealers who elect to set up shop in close proximity
to our children’s schools. The same holds true for
those who seek to avoid police surveillance cameras by
plying their trade in the subway system, where the
members of our community are simply trying to travel
safely to work and home again. I am grateful to
the members of the 75th Precinct community
who brought this plague to our attention, and to the
members of the New York City Police Department who
worked so effectively with my staff to address the
problem,” said District Attorney Hynes.
“The residents of Fiorentino
Plaza and the surrounding area deserve to live without
illicit narcotics and the inevitable violence that their
traffickers impose on neighborhoods. I commend the
detectives in the Brooklyn North Narcotics bureau and
their partners in District Attorney Hynes’ office for
arresting these drug dealers,” said Police Commissioner
Raymond W. Kelly.
Over the course of the nine-month investigation,
defendants Timothy Breaker, David Boyd, Joseph Cruz,
Leonardo Edwards, Maria Figueroa, Gary Floyd, Armel
Goffe, Iesha Hightower, Harvey McClurin, Gwendolyn
Morgan, Michael Smith, Calvin Totten, and Cory Vann
allegedly repeatedly sold crack/cocaine, heroin and
marijuana to undercover officers. Over 90
purchases were made by the undercovers, all in the
immediate vicinity of Fiorentino Plaza and therefore, in
close proximity to three public schools, P.S. 158, I.S.
292, and the United Foundation charter school.
Additionally, several of the purchases were made in the
subway station located at the corner of Pitkin and Van
Sicklen Avenues. Execution of five search warrants
in targeted locations, including specific apartments and
motor vehicles where purchases had been made, resulted
in the seizure of substantial quantities of
crack/cocaine packaged for purchase, heroin, marijuana,
and a shotgun. The dealers have been charged with
Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance In or Near
School Grounds, a Class B felony, and related drug
offenses. In the context of the search warrant
executions, defendants Malcolm Bell and Tiffany Harper
were arrested on possession charges.
The case was investigated by Detective William Warren of the Brooklyn North Narcotics Major Case Unit, under the supervision of Lieutenant William Buchanan and Sergeant William Logan. Assistant District Attorneys Tara Lenich, Frank Santarpia and Alissa Rodriguez are prosecuting the case for the Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau.
Sandy Silverstein (718)
Brooklyn, August 22, 2013:
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes in
partnership with NYPD, NYCHA, Good Shepherd
Services, Pro-Hoops, Inc. and New York/New Jersey
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA)
program announce the hugely popular “Drill and Play
Basketball Training Initiative” that offers free
basketball training to Brownville youths ages 11-18
each Friday night from 6-10pm, located at the Van
Dyke Community Center, has been extended for an
additional 18 weeks. The summer session, which
has 130 participants, will have its final game on
August 23 (previously scheduled for August 16).
The fall/winter session will begin the following
Friday night on August 30, and run through December
“The goal of this program is
to offer at-risk youths in areas where violence and gang
activity, an enticing alternative during the high-crime
weekend evening hours. Through the help of our partners
and the funding by HIDTA, we can offer free,
professional sports training in a safe, well-equipped
environment, provides positive interaction between law
enforcement and youths and gives them access to
community services,” said District Attorney Hynes. “But
it does so much more than that. Youth sports play
a vital role teaching players about teamwork,
sportsmanship, hard work, dedication, follow-through and
self-esteem. Lessons they will need long after they
leave the court, to help them succeed throughout their
The Brooklyn program is modeled after a similar program called Saturday Night Lights, which was started by the Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. in October 2011.
HIDTA agreed to fund “Drill
and Play Basketball Training Initiative” in Brooklyn for
9 weeks, beginning June 28-August 16. The program
currently has 130 participants.
They work with trainers from
Pro-Hoops, Inc., a premiere, professional basketball
training program, whose trainers work with college and
professional athletes and designed the “Drill and Play”
training program specifically towards the needs of
middle-and-high school aged kids in high crime
neighborhoods. They meet each Friday night from
6pm-10pm. The facility is located in the Van Dyke
Community Center’s auditorium, run by the NYCHA.
Good Shepherd Services is a
leading youth development, education, and family service
organization that runs after-school programs as well as
a summer located in the same building. Several of
the participants in the GSS daytime programs now
participate in the nighttime basketball games, as well.
That cross-over exemplifies how residents can learn
about community programs that they otherwise may never
have known existed.
“Good Shepherd Services is
delighted to partner with the Brooklyn DA’s Office, Pro
Hoops, NYPD, NYCHA, Brownsville Multi-Service Family
Health Center, and the Brownsville Community Justice
Center on the Friday Night Lights Drill and Play
Basketball Program,” said Kathy Gordon, Assistant
Executive Director for Brooklyn Community-Based
Programs. “Together we are providing our young
people with a safe, engaging, and fun Friday night
activity. It is so wonderful to offer exposure to
positive role models and genuine relationships that go
far beyond the basketball court.”
To learn more about the program and registration, see the attached flyer or go to: www.brooklynda.org, and click on “Upcoming Events.”
Brooklyn, August 14, 2013 – Kings
County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today
announced the indictment of Cornell Poyser, 40, an
assistant manager of a TJ Maxx outlet in Oceanside,
Long Island, who would systematically steal
merchandise from the store, waiting until the store
was closed, then loading the goods into his minivan.
Investigators discovered Poyser was renting a store
in East Flatbush, where he unloaded, displayed and
sold what he had stolen from the national
chain-store. The Brooklyn store featured
clothing, luggage, shoes perfume and other goods,
all from TJ Maxx. Even the knock-off store’s
display racks were from the large retailer.
Poyser is charged with Grand
Larceny in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third
Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the
Second Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in
the Third Degree, Possession of Burglar’s Tools and
related crimes. If convicted, the defendant
faces up to 15 years in prison.
“Many people dream of
starting their own business, but almost all realize that
this takes time, hard work and money for inventory.
But Cornell Poyser, an assistant manager at a TJ Maxx
outlet located in Oceanside in Nassau County didn’t want
to wait. So, he found a quicker way,” said D.A.
Hynes. “He opened his own store in Brooklyn and
stocked it with inventory that he stole from the
Oceanside TJ Maxx which he managed. Over time, he
systematically stole inventory by simply backing up his
van to the TJ Maxx after closing and removing what he
The defendant’s alleged theft
came to light earlier this year, when TJ Maxx conducted
an audit that revealed the Oceanside store’s sales
volume was far below the inventory being shipped to the
store. TJ Maxx assigned their internal
investigators to look into the matter.
Store security videos from
May, 2013 showed Poyser removing boxes and bags of
merchandise from the back of the store. Over the
next few weeks, the investigators conducted surveillance
and observed Poyser take more items out of the backdoor
of the Oceanside TJ Maxx and place them into a minivan.
According to store investigators, at about 10:00 pm on
July 28 and again on August 3, they followed Poyser as
he allegedly drove his minivan to a store located at
5324 Church Ave. in East Flatbush, where Poyser unloaded
the stolen merchandize. According to the
indictment, the defendant had been renting the store for
about one year. The case was referred to KCDA’s
Special Investigations Unit and the Rackets Division.
On August 6, two KCDA SUI
undercover detectives entered the Brooklyn store, posing
as shoppers. Poyser was working in the store.
One detective picked up a pair of shoes that had a
partial TJ Maxx price sticker attached for $129.99.
The undercover asked Poyser if the shoes came in other
sizes. The defendant said there were no additional
sizes of that style. The undercover purchased the
shoes for $50.
On August 8, KCDA and store
investigators conducted another surveillance that
allegedly showed the defendant’s minivan backed up
against the rear gate of the loading dock of the
Oceanside store. The defendant opened the gate and
began hauling bags filled with merchandise from the
store into his vehicle, the video shows. After
several minutes of loading, he lowered down the store’s
metal security gate. While driving towards the
Brooklyn store, detectives arrested Poyser.
According to investigators, the minivan was filled with
$8,800 of stolen merchandise.
KCDA detective investigators
executed a search warrant at the store in East Flatbush
on the morning of August 9. While the store had no name
on the awning, records recovered during the search
reveal the store was called “Stefani Boutique.”
During a search of the
basement, investigators found items that had TJ Maxx
security tags attached, which required a special device
to remove. The device, which was missing from the
Oceanside store, was found in the basement of the
Brooklyn store. In addition, the racks and display
shelves in the Brooklyn store came from TJ Maxx.
It is estimated that the merchandise found in the
minivan and in the Brooklyn store totaled $130,000.
The investigation is continuing and additional charges
are possible. Whether the defendant paid sales tax on
the items sold in the Brooklyn store will also be
investigated. However, a preliminary investigation
revealed no Certificate of Authority was filed with New
York State, which would alert the state of the store’s
existence, for the purposes of collecting sales tax.
The following members of the
District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit
participated in this case: Assistant Chief Investigator
George C. Terra; Deputy Chief Investigator Greg DeBoer;
Supervising Investigators William Pettie and Glenn
Kenny; Detective Investigators Jeannette Sbordone and
Stephanie Green-Jones. Chief Investigator Joseph
J. Ponzi is the head of SIU.
The case is being prosecuted by Rackets Division Bureau Chief Joseph DiBenedetto. Michael Vecchione is Chief of the Rackets Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
Brooklyn, August 6, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar, and Medicaid Inspector General James C. Cox today announced the indictment of Kristina Zelinsky, 34, for fraudulently collecting more than $25,000 in Medicaid benefits since 2003, by lying about her income and assets. The joint investigation uncovered the defendant lived in a luxury apartment, had multiple cars, took vacations and shopped at high-end stores.
The charges against Zelinsky include Welfare Fraud in
the Third Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and
Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First
Degree. If convicted of the top count, Zelinsky
faces up to seven years in prison.
“Public assistance funds are
meant to help families who can’t afford basic needs,
such as healthcare,” said D.A. Hynes. “People like this
defendant may think she is committing a victimless
crime. But, she and others who engage in this type
of fraud are stealing thousands of dollars out of
innocent people’s pockets. My office will continue
to investigate and prosecute them to the fullest extent
of the law.”
According to the
indictment, the defendant filed her initial Medicaid
application in 2003. She claimed she had no income
independent of her husband, who made $22,000 annually.
. On the basis of this information the New York
City Human Resources Administration enrolled Zelinsky in
New York State’s Family Health Plus Medicaid Benefits
program in 2003, for herself, her husband and their two
children. She continued to file disclosures
through 2013, listing income amounts that maintained her
eligibility for the benefits.
According to property records obtained during the
investigation, in 2007 the defendant purchased a
penthouse apartment with a mortgage for $850,000 at the
Oceana Condominium complex in Brighton Beach. Oceana is
a luxury building development that advertises apartments
for as much as $2,000,000.
Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar said, “The Medicaid program does not exist so that people who can afford luxury property and cars can steal this much-needed assistance from others. Medicaid fraud is a crime that affects those in need of assistance, as well as the taxpaying public. If you know that you received Medicaid or other public assistance improperly, contact HRA's Bureau of Fraud Investigations at 212-274-5030. Coming forward now is a wiser choice.”
“When a person such as Ms. Zelinsky lives in luxury and owns vehicles that most people only see in movies, New York State taxpayers should not finance her health care,” said James C. Cox, Medicaid Inspector General. “This indictment should serve as a warning for others who are involved in—or considering—schemes that defraud the Medicaid system, to reconsider their actions. This collaboration between the Brooklyn DA’s Office, OMIG, and the New York City HRA clearly demonstrates that people who commit these offenses will be identified and that they stand to lose their assets as well as risk spending time in jail for such abuses of the Medicaid program.”
In addition, the investigation uncovered several personal bank accounts in the defendant’s name, as well as an account in the name of her business, Kristy Billing and Collection. According to the indictment, annual deposits to the defendant’s personal accounts in 2008, 2009, and 2010 far exceeded the maximum amount allowed for individuals receiving Family Health Plus Medicaid.
In 2008, the average, monthly deposits to the defendant’s personal bank account were $4600. The allowable monthly income limit for Medicaid benefits for a family of four was $2650 a month. In 2009, the defendant’s average monthly deposits were $10,600; the limit for benefit recipients-- $2757. In 2010, the defendant’s monthly deposits averaged $3988 and the Medicaid limit remained at $2757.
Credit card statements in the defendant’s name also revealed that the defendant made purchases at Jimmy Choo, Juicy Couture, and several Las Vegas area hotels and restaurants. Investigators from the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General uncovered luxury cars including an Aston Martin, Porsche, and BMW in the defendant’s name.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Joel H. Greenwald of the Public Assistance Crimes Unit. Lauren Mack is the Chief of the Public Assistance Crimes Unit. Glenn Kenny and Robert Addonizio are the supervising detective investigators. Jennifer Burgos is the detective investigator.
Fraud investigators from the both the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and Human Resources Administration worked with the District Attorney’s Office on the investigation.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
Brooklyn, August 6, 2013 –
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes
today, joined by Senator Martin Golden, Councilman
Vincent Gentile, and Josephine Beckmann, District
Manager of Community Board 10, announced the arrest
of Mina Gatas, 20, for selling drugs to an
undercover officer on two occasions, with one buy
taking place from the defendant’s ice cream truck.
Gatas is charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled
Substance in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a
Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Criminal
Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third
Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Controlled
Substance in the Seventh Degree. If convicted,
Gatas faces up to 20 years in prison.
District Attorney Hynes said, “What is so disturbing
about Mr. Gatas’ criminal activity is the manner in
which he chose to flood our streets with drugs. He
is part owner of the ice cream truck and he is also an
employee of a deli. Mr. Gatas chose to use these
busy, family-oriented public venues to facilitate and
negotiate his drug deals, and he brazenly sold large
quantities of drugs right from the ice cream truck while
children bought their ice cream just a few inches away.”
During the course of the two-month investigation, in June 2013, the undercover officer from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office entered the In and Out Halal Deli, located at 7223 Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, and struck up a conversation with Mina Gatas, who was working behind the counter. Gatas told the officer that he could get him some narcotics. They exchanged phone numbers and over the next few days, they allegedly had several conversations about facilitating drug transactions.
After several text messages between the undercover officer and Gatas, they arranged to meet in the vicinity of the deli. On July 1, Gatas met the officer and entered his vehicle where they discussed the transaction. It is alleged that Gatas talked about the profit that the officer would make by reselling the cocaine that he was about to purchase. They then drove to Gatas’ vehicle, where Gatas allegedly took out a clear plastic bag filled with about 13 grams of cocaine from the trunk of his car. They allegedly made the exchange for $825. They discussed diluting the cocaine for resale and also talked about the undercover officer purchasing Oxycodone pills for resale at a later time, it is alleged.
The investigation reveals that in the days following, the two men exchanged more text messages setting up another meeting for the officer to purchase 15 more grams of cocaine for $825. They arranged to meet at the Owls Head Pier, located at Shore Road and 69th Street where Gatas’ ice cream truck is parked. The officer met Gatas at a nearby hot dog cart, and then followed him to the ice cream truck a few feet away. They entered the ice cream truck together. The officer took off his hat containing $830 and asked for a vanilla ice cream cone. Gatas reached into the hat, took the money, disappeared to the other side of the ice cream truck, and it is alleged, returned a few seconds later with an ice cream cone and a clear plastic bag with the cocaine and Oxycodone pills. Gatas placed the bag in the officer’s hat before asking him if he wanted sprinkles, and handed the officer the ice cream cone. Then they exited the ice cream truck, walked back to the hot dog cart and continued to talk as Gatas alluded to the high quality of the product he had just sold to the officer. This second buy was recording on video surveillance.
Gatas was arrested on the evening of August 5. His ice cream truck and personal vehicle were seized.
The case was investigated by Kings County District Attorney’s Detective Investigators Edwin Murphy, John Beale, Frank Garguilo, Nicole Byrd, Richard Ortega, Thomas Farley, Chief Detective Investigator Joseph Ponzi, Assistant Chief Investigator George Terra, and Deputy Chief Investigator Gregory Deboer.
The case is being prosecuted by Frank Santarpia, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Major Narcotics Division. Marc Fliedner is Chief of the Major Narcotics Division.
Sandy Silverstein (718)
Brooklyn, August 5, 2013 –
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the
indictment of Willie Weathers, 43, for pistol-whipping
and robbing a woman, and attempting to kidnap her
outside of a Carroll Gardens ATM machine. Weathers
was indicted on charges including Attempted Kidnapping
in the Second Degree, Robbery in the First Degree, and
Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree.
If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
According to the indictment, on July 29, 2013, Weathers
was in the vicinity of Court Street and Second Place
when he called out to a woman on the street. He
allegedly pointed a gun at her and then pistol-whipped
her several times while holding her by the neck.
He then allegedly dragged her to his car by the neck,
but the 28-year-old victim managed to escape before he
could get her inside of his vehicle. The victim
ran into a local bar and called police.
When Weathers fled the scene, he left his cellphone
behind. The victim was able to identify Weathers
in the photos that were on his cellphone. Police
used the defendant’s cell phone records to find his
address and a description of his car. They found
his car parked near Weathers’ Red Hook home and arrested
him later that day as he walked to the vehicle.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Natalie Pagano, Counsel to the Trial Bureau Blue Zone. Caryn Teitelman is First Deputy Bureau Chief of the Trial Bureau Blue Zone. Jeffrey Levitt is Chief of the Trial Bureau Blue Zone.
Sandy Silverstein (718)
Brooklyn, August 5, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today joined local elected officials, merchants, clergy, and other members of the 73rd precinct to announce the expansion of his Safe Stop program with the addition of 35 businesses which will be designated Safe Stop locations, bringing the total to 253 throughout Brooklyn.
The Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) worked with the District Attorney’s Office to encourage store owners in Brownsville to volunteer to become a Safe Stop location to make the neighborhood safer by providing a safe haven for people who need a place to go in case of an emergency.
Many people don’t know where to turn if they are in trouble or they may feel intimidated going to their local police precinct or just may not know where it is,” said District Attorney Hynes. “Now, if someone is lost, has a medical emergency, or is a crime victim, they can go into any of these Safe Stop locations where merchants will have all kinds of information and resources for those who need help. The merchants are trained to know where to refer people and how to help them. It is great to see a community working together to help each other. I am proud to partner with the Pitkin Avenue BID on this project, and I welcome more neighborhood BIDs to join us in this effort.”
Daniel Murphy, Executive Director of the Pitkin Avenue BID said, “The Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District holds the safety of everyone who visits our street to be of paramount importance in maintaining a successful and thriving retail district. The BID is grateful to District Attorney Hynes for the vision and directive to empower Brownsville’s local merchants as keepers of safe haven for any child or adult who feels unsafe and needs a place to go for shelter along the Pitkin Avenue retail district.”
Participating Safe Stop merchants display decals in their store windows identifying them as a designated Safe Stop location. The merchants are trained by Executive Directors of neighborhood BIDs. They will make public safety information from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD available and refer non-emergency situations to the local District Attorney’s Neighborhood Office. The merchants are directed to call 911 for emergencies that require immediate medical, police or fire response.
Safe Stop was launched in August 2011 to provide safe places for people to go if they are in trouble, if there is an emergency, if they need a safe place to go or if they need to access information on crime prevention programs. The idea for the program arose from the community when one of the DA’s Extraordinary Women, Betty Cooney, the Executive Director of the Graham Avenue Business Improvement District in Williamsburg, suggested re-instituting in Williamsburg, the “Safe Haven” program, an NYPD initiative with which the District Attorney’s Office collaborated in the 1990’s. Other Brooklyn BID Executive Directors and NYPD Community Affairs then got involved, all eager to come aboard and start the new initiative.
The Pitkin Avenue Business
Improvement District is an organization dedicated to
creating and maintaining a clean, safe, vibrant and
thoroughly livable space within Brownsville Brooklyn’s
Main Street. The BID supplies supplemental sanitation
services, helps maintains public safety, creates and
implements public space beautification projects, stages
special events, works to attract new and diverse retail
and promotes local retailers. The Pitkin Avenue BID was
founded in 1996. Pitkin Avenue has been one of
Brooklyn’s most popular shopping destinations since