Monday, October 31, 2016

A.G. Schneiderman Offers Tips To Help Consumers Compare Health Care Plans In Advance Of NYS Marketplace Open Enrollment For 2017

  Schneiderman: Choosing A Health Plan Is An Incredibly Important Decision And I Encourage Families To Take Time To Find Coverage To Meet Their Needs

    Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued an updated brochure offering tips to New Yorkers buying health insurance coverage for 2017. The pamphlet, titled “Shopping For Health Insurance Coverage,” is being released in advance of the New York State of Health Marketplace’s open enrollment period starting on November 1, and can be used to evaluate all health insurance options, both on and off the Marketplace. Attorney General Schneiderman encourages consumers to take advantage of open enrollment to evaluate how their current health plan has met their needs, to evaluate whether their current health plan will change in a way that impacts the benefits they expect to use, and to consider what other options are available.   
“Choosing a health plan is an incredibly important decision, and I encourage families to take time to find coverage to meet their needs,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Exploring the New York Marketplace is a great way to start making health care enrollment decisions by comparing plans and analyzing costs. I encourage all New Yorkers to see what options are available starting November 1.”
Open enrollment through New York State of Health begins on November 1, 2016, and New Yorkers seeking coverage effective January 1, 2017 must enroll by December 15. Once open enrollment for the Marketplace begins, New Yorkers will be able to review all health insurance plans available through the Marketplace, as well as determine what premium subsidy you may be eligible for to reduce the cost of your monthly premiums. Coverage is also available off of the Marketplace, and those plans may have different enrollment deadlines. Premium subsidies, however, are not available for plans purchased outside the Marketplace.
The Attorney General’s brochure offers important information for all New Yorkers shopping for health insurance –  whether they are considering purchasing health coverage for the first time, re-enrolling in their existing plan, or switching into a new health plan. Prior to enrolling, take some time to identify your health needs for the upcoming year, consider your budget, and compare the available plans to evaluate how they satisfy your health and budget needs.
The Attorney General’s Office encourages all New Yorkers, when shopping for health insurance, to:
(1) Determine whether a premium subsidy is available through the Marketplace to make coverage more affordable (such subsidies are only available through the Marketplace);
(2) Check and confirm your provider’s participation status within the health plan, using the steps set out brochure;
(3) If you take prescription medications, check whether they are included in the health plan’s formulary, as well as what your out-of-pocket expense will be and whether there any pre-authorization requirements; and
(4) Check what the co-payment or co-insurance will be for any medical services you expect to use during the plan year, such as for physical therapy or mental health services. 
Enrollment in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan is open year-round.  This means that if you are, or become, eligible for one of these programs during the course of the year, you can enroll at any time. These programs offer low-cost, comprehensive health insurance coverage to lower-income New Yorkers. Child Health Plus is a New York State insurance plan for children, and children who are not eligible for Medicaid may be eligible to enroll in Child Health Plus.  The Essential Plan offers coverage for up to $20 per month for lower-income individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid or Child Health Plus. 
To learn more about these programs and the qualifications for enrollment, please visit these websites:
If you have any questions about a health plan’s coverage, including whether your provider is participating, you should call the insurance company directly and take detailed notes, including when you called, with the name of the person with whom you spoke, what you discussed, and what you were advised.
If you encounter inaccurate provider listings once you are enrolled in a plan and cannot access needed care from that provider, or otherwise believe you were given inaccurate information during open enrollment, contact the Health Care Bureau Helpline for assistance: 1-800-428-9071.  For questions about the New York State of Health Marketplace, you can contact the Marketplace directly at 1-855-355-5777.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Amazon Delivery Contractor That Underpaid More Than A Hundred Workers

  Cornucopia Logistics, LLC Deducted Money For Meal Periods That Workers Never Received

    Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Amazon delivery contractor Cornucopia Logistics, LLC (“Cornucopia”) that will require the company to pay $100,000 to workers whose wages were deducted for lunch breaks they never received because of back-to-back deliveries. An investigation by the AG’s office also found that Cornucopia routinely failed to compensate workers for “call-in pay,” which must be paid when employees report to work but are sent home or otherwise instructed not to complete their shift. Cornucopia also failed to keep required records documenting actual hours worked each week.
Cornucopia delivers packages and food from Amazon Fresh to residential and commercial addresses in New York City. More than a hundred current and former Cornucopia employees, including drivers, drivers’ helpers, and messengers, are eligible to receive restitution from the $100,000 settlement fund.
“I’m proud that this settlement will allow workers who were shortchanged to receive the restitution they deserve,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Delivery workers travel all hours of the day and night and through all kinds of weather to meet tight time frames. They deserve to have a proper lunch break, and when they don’t, they certainly must be properly compensated for all of their work.”
New York State's labor laws require employers to pay workers for all hours worked and to provide workers with certain specified meal periods – typically a half hour. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate payroll records, and to pay “call-in pay” of four hours (three for restaurant workers) when an employee reports to work on a given day. 
In addition to the payment of restitution funds, the settlement requires Cornucopia to comply with the law going forward, and bars Cornucopia from retaliating against employees for cooperating with the investigation.  Cornucopia will also designate an internal officer responsible for ensuring prospective labor law compliance, including furnishing the Attorney General’s Office with quarterly reports and payroll documents.
In the past year, A.G. Schneiderman’s office has recovered nearly $5.7 million in back wages for more than 3,300 workers, as outlined in a September 2016 report. Since taking office, A.G. Schneiderman has recovered almost $27 million in stolen wages for more than 20,000 workers. 
Anyone who is aware of a violation of workplace rights in New York State is encouraged to file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General by filling out a complaint form or by calling the Labor Bureau at (212) 416-8700.

New York Supreme Court Orders ExxonMobil To Comply With A.G. Schneiderman’S Subpoena

   In an important decision concerning Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s investigation of Exxon Mobil for potential state law violations, including under the Martin Act, today the Hon. Barry R. Ostrager ordered Exxon Mobil (“Exxon”) and its outside auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”), to comply with a subpoena issued by the Attorney General’s office in August 2016. The subpoena seeks documents related to PWC’s work for Exxon.
On October 14th 2016, the Attorney General moved to compel production by PwC after Exxon asserted that it would not permit PwC to provide certain documents to the Attorney General’s Office. Exxon based its refusal to comply on a Texas statute that Exxon asserted creates an “accountant-client privilege.”
After noting that “[a]ll parties agree that this Court is the proper forum” to hear challenges to the AG’s subpoena, the New York Court ruled that Exxon’s interpretation of the Texas statute is “flawed,” and stated that the Texas statute in no way precludes PwC from producing the documents requested by the Attorney General’s office. The Court also stated that New York law, rather than Texas law, governed the dispute. The Court ordered PWC and Exxon to comply with the subpoena expeditiously.  
“We are pleased with the Court’s order and look forward to moving full-steam ahead with our fraud investigation of Exxon,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “Exxon had no legal basis to interfere with PwC’s production, and I hope that today’s order serves as a wake up call to Exxon that the best thing they can do is cooperate with, rather than resist, our investigation.”
The Court’s Order is available here.

Bronx Taxi Summit

  The event took place at the Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Centers Inc. located at 955 Tinton Avenue where the mayor's Community Assistance Unit and the TLC along with several city agencies and vendors connected to the taxi industry came together to help the attendees on current problems they are facing as drivers. 

  While TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi and Elvin Garcia of the Mayors CAU unit jointly hosted the event it was the Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Center located at 955 Tinton Avenue that was the winner. I spoke to Mr. Calvin Kendrick for almost an hour as the family worker supervisor and I agreed on many issues as to what is happening in many areas of the Bronx, and why children and others need centers like the SEBNC one on Tinton Avenue.

Above - Mr. Elvin Garcia of the Mayors CAU unit introduces TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi.
Below - Commissioner Joshi explains some of today's problems facing TLC drivers, and how the city administration plans to help the drivers.

Mr. Damyn Kelly the Executive Director of SEBNC thanked all who came to the Taxi Summit, and those city agencies and vendors who also participated in the summit held at the SEBNC center on Tinton Avenue. He tells of some of the many programs that are offered at the Tinton Avenue center.

Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda & Senator Ruben Diaz Job Fair 2016

KRVC's Halloween Party

  It was all ghosts and friends at today's KRVC Halloween party held at the KRVC office located at 505 West 236th Street just off of Riverdale Avenue. The photos below will tell the rest of the story.

Above - Madam Sassi was out front of the KRVC office to tell your fortune before you entered.
Below Stilt Walker Adam Aushlander had to watch out for the low door ways before entering and exiting the KRVC office.

Above - Linda Manning and Tracy Shelton pose  in the picnic area behind the KRVC office where activities such as making a Halloween pumpkin were going on.
Below - A group photo just as Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz stopped in to say hello.


   Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, introduced legislation that amends the current Nuisance Abatement Law (NAL) regarding "nuisances" that involve violating the State's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. The bill is a part of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's Nuisance Abatement Fairness Act -- a package of 13 bills that will curb abuses and limit application of the current Nuisance Abatement Law.

Council Member Williams' bill would require 4 violations of the current "Nuisance Abatement Law" to constitute a "nuisance," and restrict these violations to only those in which a reasonable person in the position of the person violating the law would have been aware of such violation. 

"The application of the Nuisance Abatement Law has been abused and doesn't allow for fair due process because of the uneven enforcement of the law," said Council Member Williams. "It is time the City Council reforms this law to crackdown on the abuses that result from its unintended use, and protect New Yorkers from unnecessarily losing their homes and businesses." 

The law currently requires only 1 incident of an alcohol sale to a minor, even where such a sale was not intentional. This bill would restrict the application of the NAL to repeated, willful, and flagrant cases.

The bill would become effective 60 days after it becomes a law.

The Nuisance Abatement Fairness Act consists of the following 12 additional pieces of legislation which will:
  • Eliminate ex parte orders: The law currently allows judges to order the closure of a home or business based solely on the allegations of the NYPD, without affording the defendant the opportunity to be heard. These orders are disproportionately harsh and unnecessary. The legislation will permit a business or residence to be closed pending the outcome of a case only after defendants are notified and may appear in court.
  • Repeal the Padlock Law: The Padlock Law permits the NYPD to close a residence or business without any judicial order. The NYPD has not used this draconian remedy for more than 15 years, and this bill will permanently abolish it.
  • Narrow drug cases to sale: The law currently defines a nuisance as either the possession or sale of drugs, including marijuana.This legislation will restrict the application of the NAL to only the sale and not the possession of drugs. The bill will also require 4 drug sales instead of 3 to establish a "nuisance.
  • Require laboratory reports for all drug cases: This bill addresses documented issues of NAL cases based on substances that turn out not to be controlled substances, by requiring the NYPD to submit laboratory results in all drug NAL cases.
  • Address drug sales: Many drug NAL cases rely on "confidential informants" who may not be reliable, and an NAL case could be filed after a search warrant was executed and revealed only evidence of possession and not the sale of drugs. The NAL was not designed to circumvent the warrant system in criminal court, and this bill would require any drug sale nuisance case to have at least one incident personally witnessed by a police officer, eliminating the ability to file NAL cases based solely on information from "confidential informants."
  • Ensure the timeliness of NAL cases: There is no statute of limitations for many NAL cases, allowing residences and businesses to be shut down for incidents that occurred many months ago and have since been cured. This legislation will establish a 4 month statute of limitations for all NAL cases, and 90 days for drug cases. The legislation will also eliminate unused NAL provisions which are addressed through other enforcement mechanisms, including those that apply to obscenity, building code violations, air pollution, noise control, and zoning violations. The bill will also require NAL orders to be executed within 15 days of being signed by a judge.
  • Prohibit sealed records and require personal service of legal papers: Media reports have indicated that records from sealed criminal cases have been used in NAL applications. This legislation would require the Law Department to check every NAL case to make sure no sealed records are being used. It would also require the personal service of legal papers to ensure defendants are properly notified.
  • Require least restrictive remedy and awareness: Some NAL orders or dispositions are disproportionately harsh, requiring either closure or onerous conditions that are not necessary to solve the problem, and other NAL cases affect the property rights of those who had no knowledge or reason to know about any illicit activities. This legislation will restrict any NAL remedy to only the least restrictive remedy, meaning that a judge could evict a person or shutter a residence only if there were no other means of ceasing the nuisance. This bill would also prohibit the NAL from restricting the rights of any person who was not aware or had no reason to be aware of a nuisance.
  • Prohibit permanent exclusions: Some NAL cases permanently restrict persons from certain property, eliminating any chance of rehabilitation and family reunification. This legislation will establish a time limit for the exclusion of any person from a residence to 1 year, or 3 years in special circumstances.
  • Verify an on-going nuisance: Residences and businesses may be shut down for incidents that occurred many months ago and have since been cured, negating the reason behind the NAL in the first place. This legislation would require the NYPD to verify the ongoing nature of a nuisance before executing any order.
  • Eliminate conflicting proceedings: NAL actions often duplicate similar proceedings in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), housing court, or pursuant to the Alcoholic Beverage Control laws. This is inefficient and can lead to double-punishment. This legislation would prohibit an NAL case where there is a duplicate NYCHA, Housing Court, Alcoholic Beverage Control, or other duplicate proceeding.
  • Ensure comprehensive reporting: NAL data has historically not been collected. This legislation would require comprehensive reporting on the NYPD's use of the NAL, including the rate of the use of injunctive relief, the relationship between NAL actions and 311 or 911 calls, the rate of NAL actions by precinct, and the relationship between NAL actions and other legal proceedings. Also, because other agencies and governmental entities can request NAL actions be brought, the bill also requires the Law Department to report on the wider use of the NAL.

"Too often, many of the people who are the victims of the Nuisance Abatement Law are bodega store owners who unknowingly sell alcohol, like beer, to minors. There are instances where a minor may place the money on the counter, and leave quickly, without giving the clerk a chance to ask for identification," said Council Member Williams. "If that same minor is caught by police, law enforcement now has just cause to shut down the bodega." 

There has been uneven enforcement of the laws and some well-documented abuses, where New Yorkers have unjustly lost their homes or businesses. 

New York City's Nuisance Abatement Law was created in 1977, and was originally designed to address obscenity and prostitution in Times Square. Since then, the law has been used to target residences where alleged drug sales are taking places, and commercial establishments that reportedly sell alcohol to minors.  


  Green buildings legislation helps reach City’s OneNYC goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050; also signs legislation creating a stand-alone form with an increased number of demographic related questions for those seeking social services, and two bills increasing Police Department transparency and reporting on hate crimes.

  Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for, and signed, ten pieces of legislation into law, including a package of three green buildings bills – Intros. 1163-A, 1160 and 1165, in relation to energy and water benchmarking, lighting retrofitting and sub-metering requirements for mid-size buildings. Together these bills are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 250,000 metric tons, and spur retrofits in 16,000 buildings, while creating approximately $85 million of construction activity leading to the creation of 100 jobs. This package of legislation also offers additional support for the City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050, an aspect of the City’s OneNYC goal which aims to create a more equitable, resilient and sustainable city.

The Mayor also signed Intros. 251-A, 551-A and 552-A, requiring the creation of an additional City form to include voluntary and anonymous questions around gender, sexuality, language spoken, ancestry and ethnic origin; Intro. 1011-A, in relation to mandating that whenever a food service worker is displaced due to a change in ownership or a transfer of contract, the new owner or contractor must retain the worker for 90 days; Intros. 728-B and 959-B, in relation to reporting on the NYPD Patrol Guide and hate crime statistics; and Intro. 1282, in relation to authorizing an increase in the amount to be expended annually in eight business improvement districts and two special assessment districts. 

“This Administration has dedicated itself to building a foundation and a future for the next generation of New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In order to do that, we must work together as a city to fight one of our biggest threats, climate change. With these three bills, we are taking another step towards reaching our OneNYC goals and protecting the greatest city in the world.

“I would like to thank the Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, for her continued support of these initiatives and goals,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I would also like to thank Council Member Costa Constantinides, sponsor of Intro. 1160; Council Member Daniel Garodnick, sponsor of Intro. 1163-A; and Council Member Donovan Richards, sponsor of Intro. 1165.”

"The legislation being signed into law today reflects our shared commitment to a New York that strives to best serve New Yorkers,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “From enhancing green building standards to protecting the cafeteria workers who make so many of our food service spaces run, we have worked to build a New York that will be there for its residents both today and in the future. Importantly – increasing the demographic information collected through our city agencies will help target services more effectively going forward, as publishing the NYPD patrol guide will act as a major step in improving transparency and police-community relations in the neighborhoods being aided by those services. I thank the Administration of Mayor de Blasio, Council Members Dan Garodnick and Mark Levine, and Chair of the Committee on Public Safety Vanessa Gibson for their leadership on this important issue.”

The first bill, Intro. 1163-A, requires mid-size building owners to report benchmarking data on their whole building energy and water usage to the City. This information is already gathered from large buildings and is critical for helping building owners understand their energy and water usage and for catalyzing green retrofit projects that increase energy and water efficiency, save money and create jobs. Benchmarking has been shown to lead to a better understanding of energy and water consumption, resulting in the reduction of carbon emissions and energy consumption over time. Between 2010 and 2013, emissions from 3,000 consistently benchmarked properties already subject to the requirement, dropped by 8 percent, while energy use decreased by 6 percent.

The second bill, Intro. 1160, requires mid-size building owners to install sub-meters in non-residential tenant spaces and report energy usage to the tenant. This is already required in large buildings. The bill also decreases the square footage of tenant spaces in which sub-meters must be installed in all such buildings to 5,000 square feet. Sub-meter energy information will help building owners and non-residential tenants understand their buildings energy usage as well as help find ways to improve energy efficiency and save money.

The third bill, Intro. 1165, requires owners of midsize buildings to retrofit the lighting systems in non-residential spaces to comply with the New York City Energy Code by 2025. This is already required for larger buildings.

“Buildings account for more than two-thirds of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, which we have pledged to reduce 80 percent by 2050,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the Office of the Mayor. “Today’s local law updates to expand benchmarking, install sub-meters and upgrade lighting systems help to provide the key information that is required for building managers to understand and reduce their energy use. This is part of a continuing effort to upgrade buildings across the city, consistent with the recent enactment by the Department of Buildings of the 2016 Energy Code, as we work to build a more sustainable, resilient and equitable city.”

"These sustainability enhancements will help make a big dent in the City's carbon footprint – reducing emissions as well as energy and water bills for homeowners and businesses. The changes will encourage both energy and water conservation and the construction of green buildings, steps that bring us one step closer to achieving Mayor de Blasio's vision of reducing our carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050," said Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE.

The fifth bill, Intro. 551-A, requires that the new survey form contain an option for multiracial ancestry or ethnic origin. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Margaret S. Chin.

The sixth bill, Intro. 552-A, requires the demographic information survey contain questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, the office of operations will review all existing demographic forms to see where more inclusive language and questions could be used. This will be a multi-agency endeavor involving all of the City’s social service agencies and the Department of Education. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Daniel Dromm.

The seventh bill, Intro. 1011-A, mandates that whenever a food service worker is displaced due to a change in ownership or a transfer of contract, the new owner or contractor must retain the worker for 90 days. After the first 90 days, the new owner is required to evaluate the work of the employee and offer continued employment if their work is deemed satisfactory. In addition, the incumbent owner must post a notice to inform employees of the change in ownership or a transfer of contract. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Ydanis A. Rodriguez. 

The eighth bill, Intro. 728-B, requires that the NYPD publish the Patrol Guide on its website. The NYPD would not be required to publish confidential information or material that, if published, could compromise public safety, the safety of police officers, or law enforcement operations. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Daniel Garodnick.

The ninth bill, Intro. 959-B, requires the NYPD to report on hate crime statistics. This report will have complaints and arrests made regarding hate crimes on ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability, amongst other categories. Additionally, this bill stipulates that if complaints and arrests based on ethnicity, religion or disability reach a threshold of nine incidents within the previous year, these categories will be broken down further to more accurately identify the targeted group. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Mark Levine.

The tenth bill, Intro. 1282, authorizes an increase in the amount to be expended annually in eight business improvement districts and two special assessment districts. These districts are spread throughout the city, and include 165th Street Mall, Atlantic Avenue, Bayside Village, Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn, Fashion Center, Fifth Avenue, Jamaica Center Mall, Madison Avenue, Metrotech, and Woodhaven. This bill will enable these BIDs to enhance the services they provide. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Owner Of Real Estate Investment Firm Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 10 Years In Prison For $17 Million Securities Fraud

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CARLTON P. CABOT, the former owner and chief executive officer of Cabot Investment Properties LLC (“CIP”), was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 10 years in prison for defrauding hundreds of elderly investors in numerous CIP-sponsored real estate investments.  As part of the fraud, CABOT and his co-defendant misappropriated approximately $17 million of investor funds to pay for personal and business expenses, and concealed the fraud from the investors with manipulated financial statements.  CABOT pled guilty to one count of securities fraud on May 31, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman who imposed today’s sentence.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “Carlton Cabot took $17 million from vulnerable investors and spent it lavishly on himself, and then lied to cover it up.  The victims, many of whom were in their 70s and 80s, were simply looking for a steady income stream to sustain them in their retirement.  Now, instead of economic safety and security, they are faced with financial ruin.  Cabot has rightfully been held to account for his selfish and criminal acts.”
According to the allegations contained in the criminal complaint against CABOT, the indictment to which CABOT pled guilty and Cabot’s admissions during his plea allocution, and the statements made by the victims of CABOT’s fraud:
From 2003 through 2012, CIP – which was controlled by CABOT – sponsored and oversaw approximately 18 so-called tenants-in-common (“TIC”) securities offerings to investors located all over the United States (collectively, the “TIC Investments” and the “TIC Investors”). A TIC investment is a real estate investment in which investors collectively own a piece of commercial real estate and are entitled to receive a portion of the rental income from the property.
From 2008 through 2012, CABOT engaged in a scheme to defraud the TIC Investors by misappropriating funds belonging to the TIC Investments and concealing his misappropriations by knowingly providing false and misleading financial reports and other information to the TIC Investors.
According to the representations in the offering prospectuses for the TIC Investments, CIP was allowed to collect only “excess” rental income from the TIC Investments – i.e., any additional money left over after the TIC Investments had paid the operating expenses for the properties and the disbursements due to the TIC Investors.  Despite these representations, CABOT repeatedly transferred money out of bank accounts belonging to the TIC Investments and into CIP bank accounts that he controlled (the “CIP Operating Accounts”) before these funds could be used to pay for operating expenses and disbursements to the TIC Investors.   
CABOT then used these funds to pay for unauthorized purposes without the knowledge or authorization of the TIC Investors, including: (1) to cover the operating expenses and investor distributions of other TIC Investments that had no available funds; (2) to pay for millions of dollars of personal expenses, including expensive cars, rental apartments, and private school tuition; and (3) to pay for CIP business expenses, including an approximately $1,125,651 civil settlement to certain TIC Investors who had sued CABOT and others.
To conceal the misappropriation of TIC Investment funds from the TIC Investors, CABOT and his co-defendant, Timothy J. Kroll, CIP’s chief operating officer, provided false and misleading financial reports to the TIC Investors that intentionally hid the fact that CIP owed large sums of money to the TIC Investments. 
By the end of 2012, when CIP ceased its day-to-day operations, CIP and its principals, CABOT and Kroll, owed approximately $17 million to the TIC Investments, which has never been repaid.
In addition to his prison sentence, CABOT, 54, of Stamford, Connecticut, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $17 million in restitution and forfeiture. 
On October 7, 2015, Kroll pled guilty before Judge Furman for his role in the scheme.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division.  He also thanked the Office of the Secretary, William F. Galvin, Massachusetts Securities Division, for its assistance with the investigation of this case.

Two Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Conspiring To Traffic In Counterfeit Goods

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of New York, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations New York, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced charges today against two individuals for conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods.  DAYE DONG and HONGYU CHEN are charged with importing counterfeit goods from China into the United States with the intent to distribute and sell the counterfeit products to retailers in New York City and elsewhere.  The defendants were arrested today and will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox later this afternoon.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “These defendants allegedly sold counterfeit goods, fueling consumers’ desire for low prices on high end products.  But the cheap prices come at a high price for legitimate businesses.  Protection of intellectual property remains an important priority for my office and for our partners at CBP, ICE, and the NYPD.”  
HSI Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez said:  “People wrongly assume intellectual property theft is a victimless crime.  The reality is, individuals like those charged today are allegedly robbing from law abiding merchants and from the legitimate companies that manufacture these items.  Brand-name knockoffs are not a harmless way to beat the system.”
CBP Director Robert E. Perez said:  “U. S. Customs and Border Protection is proud of the expertise we provide in support of investigations that result in the takedown of criminal enterprises.  It is through interagency partnerships and collaborative efforts, like the one leading to today's arrests, that law enforcement successfully combats today's criminal organizations.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “This sale of conterfeit merchandise is a scheme that is old as crime itself.  Today’s arrests led by Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement ensures consumers have confidence in the products they purchase.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint[1]:
From March 2012 to October 2016, DONG and CHEN, who are married, imported counterfeit luxury and designer brand goods into the United States from China.  DONG and CHEN stored the imported counterfeit goods in two warehouses with the intent to transfer the goods to retailers in New York City, including a Manhattan retail store operated by CHEN, and elsewhere.  On October 27, 2016, federal and New York City law enforcement officers conducted a search of DONG and CHEN’s residence, warehouses, and retail store, and found more than 30,000 pieces of counterfeit goods, including handbags and wallets, for various luxury and designer brands. 
DONG, 49, and CHEN, 48, of Bayside, New York, are both charged with one count of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods, and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.  Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 
The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.  He also thanked the New York Police Department for its assistance.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan E. Rebold is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Yonkers Man Sentenced In White Plains Federal Court To More Than 22 Years In Prison For Kidnapping And Sex Trafficking A 19-Year-Old Victim

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was sentenced in White Plains federal court to 270 months in prison for kidnapping a 19-year-old victim (the “Victim”), conspiring to engage in sex trafficking of the Victim, and attempting to engage in sex trafficking of the Victim.  CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was convicted in November 2015 after a seven-day jury trial before United States District Judge Nelson S. Román, who imposed today’s sentence.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated:  “Clydedoro Graham orchestrated a horrifying plot to lure a 19-year-old woman to his apartment, hold her against her will, and coerce her—through repeated sexual assault and other physical and psychological pressure—to work as a prostitute for him.  A unanimous jury convicted him of kidnapping and sex trafficking, and today, the Court imposed a significant sentence that reflects the viciousness of the defendant’s crimes.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint and Superseding Indictment filed in federal court, and the evidence presented at trial:
On the evening of June 16, 2014, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was at his apartment in Yonkers, New York, (the “Apartment”) with his girlfriend and accomplice, Alisa Papp.  His cousin, Kevin Graham, and his friend, Hector Garcia, were also present.  As Papp, Kevin Graham, and Garcia knew, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was a “pimp.”  That night, the four co-conspirators agreed to lure a prostitute to the Apartment for the purpose of forcing her to work for them.
CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was the leader of this scheme.  Using his cellphone, he went to, a website where prostitutes post advertisements.  He trolled through the advertisements searching for a target, and eventually decided on the Victim.  Kevin Graham called the Victim and led her to believe, falsely, that he wanted to hire her for a prostitution “date.”
When the Victim arrived, the co-conspirators were lying in wait.  Papp served as the lookout, making sure the Victim did not arrive with anyone else.  Kevin Graham met her outside and led her into the Apartment, while CLYDEDORO GRAHAM and Garcia hid inside.  Once inside the Apartment – and at the direction of CLYDEDORO GRAHAM – the co-conspirators took away the Victim’s purse and phone, removed the battery from her phone, and told her that she was there to work as a prostitute for them.  The Victim asked repeatedly to leave, but CLYDEDORO GRAHAM and his accomplices refused.
The co-conspirators told the Victim that she had no choice but to have sex with each of the men.  She refused and asked again to go home.  CLYDEDORO GRAHAM said she could give it up or they would “take it.”  CLYDEDORO GRAHAM, Kevin Graham, and Hector Garcia took turns having sex with the Victim, against her will.
Later that night, Kevin Graham and Garcia left the Apartment.  For the next two days and two nights, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM and Papp held the Victim captive in the Apartment.  Among other coercive measures, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM removed the doorknob from the interior side of the Apartment’s front door to prevent the Victim from escaping.  He then made plans to bring the Victim out onto the streets of Yonkers to prostitute her for his own benefit.
CLYDEDORO GRAHAM’s scheme unraveled on June 18, 2014, when two Yonkers police officers arrived at the Apartment after receiving a tip from individuals who had been searching for the Victim.  The officers demanded to speak with the Victim, immediately determined that she was being held against her will, and brought her to safety.
In addition to the prison sentence, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM, 28, of Yonkers, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Westchester Violent Crimes Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives of the FBI, United States Probation, the City of Yonkers Police Department, the City of Peekskill Police Department, the New York City Police Department, the Westchester County Police, and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition Of International Arms Traffickers For Their Involvment In Conspiracy To Import Cocaine Into The United States

  Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mark Hamlet, Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced today the extradition of MEMET GEZER, a/k/a “Muhammad Altrky,” a/k/a “Wissam Abdel Rahman Younes,” a/k/a “Mohamed Subhe Al Gazar” (“GEZER”) and SABER KARIMCH, a/k/a “Abu Farouk” (“KARIMCH”), international arms traffickers charged with conspiring to sell large quantities of military-grade weaponry to individuals GEZER and KARIMCH believed were representatives of a Mexican drug trafficking organization (the “DTO”).  GEZER and KARIMCH, were arrested by Montenegrin authorities on April 14, 2016, extradited from Montenegro today, and will be arraigned in front of United States Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox later today.  The case is assigned to Chief United States District Judge Colleen McMahon.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated:  “Highlighting the global nature and impact of the drug trade, two men from the Middle East working with what they believed to be members of a Mexican drug trafficking organization, allegedly agreed to provide military-grade weapons, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, to help protect cocaine shipments headed for the United States.  Thanks to the DEA’s relentless efforts, these alleged international arms traffickers are now on American soil facing criminal charges.”
Special Agent in Charge Mark Hamlet stated:  “This global conspiracy uncovered by DEA and its partners further highlights the dangerous and potentially deadly connection between arms dealers and drug trafficking networks worldwide.  DEA’s vast global presence allows us to pursue some of the world’s most dangerous criminals so they may face justice for their crimes in the United States.”
According to the Indictment and Complaints[1], which were unsealed in October 2016:
Between September 2015 and March 2016, GEZER and KARIMCH participated in a series of in-person meetings and telephone calls with individuals whom GEZER and KARIMCH understood to be representatives of a Mexican drug trafficking organization (the “DTO”).  However, those individuals were, in fact, two DEA confidential sources (the “CSes”).  During those meetings and telephone calls, which were recorded, GEZER and KARIMCH agreed to supply the DTO with high-powered weapons, including machine guns, grenades, and rocket-propelled grenades (“RPGs”), with the express understanding that those weapons would be used to protect large cocaine shipments as they traveled from and through Mexico for distribution in the United States. 
In early 2016, one of the CSes met with GEZER in a foreign country.  GEZER escorted the CS to a gated compound and showed the CS bulk quantities of weapons, including RPGs, grenades, sniper rifles, and machine guns.  In February 2016, GEZER sent the CS videos of some of the weapons that GEZER had shown the CS in the gated compound to confirm that GEZER was ready to proceed with the weapons deal. 
GEZER additionally offered to sell the CSes large sums of United States currency for a fraction of the currency’s face value, with the understanding that the money would help the CSes launder drug money for the DTO.  In early February 2016, GEZER showed one of the CSes what appeared to be approximately $2 million in U.S. currency, which GEZER indicated was a small fraction of what GEZER could make available to the CSes.
GEZER, 49, a citizen of Turkey, and KARIMCH, 50, a citizen of Syria, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison; two counts of attempting to import cocaine into the United States, each carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to aid and abet the possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking offenses, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  In addition, GEZER is charged with conspiracy to launder money, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 
The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division, the DEA’s Rome Country Office, and the Montenegrin National Police.  The defendants’ arrests and subsequent extradition are also the result of the close cooperative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Surratt and Ilan Graff are in charge of the prosecution.
The allegations contained in the Complaints and Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Did Anthony Weiner Screw Up Clinton's Chance at the Presidency

  It has been reported that the computer used by Anthony Weiner to send photos of himself and his young child to an underage minor girl is going to cause problems for Hillary Clinton, and could possibly give Donald Trump the advantage to win the election for President. 

  The computer in question was a jointly used computer used not only by Anthony Weiner, but also Hillary Clinton Chief of Staff Huma Abin Weiner's wife at the time he was caught sending lewd photos to the underage girl. 

   The FBI is now in possession of said computer, and has released a letter stating that it will now be reopening the Hillary Clinton e-mail case due to the fact that many e-mails have been found on the computer which could have been of a very sensitive nature or could have been classified material. 

   The FBI will continue to investigate the matter in the statement by the Director of the FBI.

     More details in future posts.

Tax Attorney And CPA Indicted For Tax Evasion And Diversion Of Tax Shelter Fees From Major Manhattan Law Firm

Tax Attorney Also Charged with Making False Statements to IRS, and Causing Another Person to Lie to the IRS

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent In Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced that HAROLD LEVINE, a Manhattan tax attorney, and RONALD KATZ, a Florida certified public account, were charged today in Manhattan federal court in an eight-count Indictment with engaging in a multi-year tax evasion scheme involving the diversion of millions of dollars of fees from a Manhattan law firm and the failure to report that fee income to the Internal Revenue Service.   
Mr. Bharara said:  “As tax professionals and partners at professional firms, both Harold Levine and Ronald Katz knew better.  But as alleged, they engaged in a multi-year scheme to divert and evade taxes on millions of dollars of fee income.”
IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen said:  “Tax and accounting professionals who conceal their incomes, evade income taxes, and otherwise obstruct the Internal Revenue Service simply have no excuse for violating the very laws their professions are centered on.  IRS-Criminal Investigation works hard to ensure that everyone pays their fair sure and we take particular interest in allegations involving professionals who should simply know better.” 
According to the allegations in the Indictment[1] returned today in Manhattan federal court:
HAROLD LEVINE, a tax attorney and former head of the tax department at a major Manhattan Law Firm (the “Law Firm”), schemed with RONALD KATZ, a certified public accountant, to divert from the Law Firm over $3 million in fee income from tax shelter and related transactions that LEVINE worked on while serving as a partner of the New York Law Firm.  In addition, LEVINE failed to report that fee income to the IRS on his personal tax returns during the period 2005-2011.  For his involvement in this scheme, KATZ received and failed to report to the IRS over $1.2 million in fee income.     
As part of the fee diversion scheme, for example, LEVINE caused tax shelter fees paid by a Law Firm client to be routed to a partnership entity he co-owned with KATZ and thereafter used those fees – totaling approximately $500,000 – to be used to purchase a home in Levittown, New York.  LEVINE caused the home to be purchased as a residence for a Law Firm employee (the “Law Firm Employee”) with whom he carried on a close personal relationship.  Although LEVINE allowed the Law Firm Employee to reside in the Levittown house for over five years without paying rent, LEVINE and KATZ prepared tax returns for the entity through which the home was purchased to claim false deductions as a rental property.
In or about 2013, LEVINE was questioned by IRS agents concerning his involvement in certain tax shelter transactions and the fees received for those transactions.  During that questioning, LEVINE falsely represented that the Law Firm Employee paid him $1,000 per month in rent while living in the Levittown home.  In addition, when the Law Firm Employee was contacted by the IRS and summoned to appear for testimony, LEVINE urged the employee to represent falsely to the IRS that she had paid $1,000 per month in rent to LEVINE.
LEVINE, 58, of New York, New York, and KATZ, 59, of Boca Raton, Florida, are scheduled to be arraigned in magistrate’s court on Monday, October 31.  The case was assigned to United States District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, and a conference was set before Judge Rakoff for Tuesday, November 1, 2016, at 11:00 a.m.
LEVINE, who was charged with one count each of obstructing the IRS, conspiracy, tax evasion, and wire fraud, and two counts of making false statements, faces the following penalties, if convicted:
  Statutes Violated Number of Counts   Description      Maximum Sentence
  26 U.S.C. ' 7212(a)   1   Corruptly endeavoring to   obstruct and impede the    due administration of the  Internal Revenue Laws   Three    years in  prison
26 U.S.C. ' 7201 1-   Tax Evasion   Five  years in  prison
18 U.S.C. ' 1343 1             Wire Fraud   20 years  in prison
18 U.S.C. ' 371 1-   Conspiracy    Five  years in  prison
18 U.S.C. ' 1001 2-   False Statements  Five  years in  prison

KATZ is charged with one count each of obstructing the IRS (maximum penalty three years in prison) and conspiracy (five years in prison), and two counts of tax evasion (five years).
The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the Court.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the IRS. 
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Special Assistant United States Attorneys Stanley J. Okula and Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Noble are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.