Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today a complaint charging LEON ZINDER with the interstate sale of stolen property in connection with his theft and attempted sale of more than a dozen works of art. ZINDER was arrested this morning at his home in Forest Hills, Queens, and will be presented this afternoon in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine H. Parker.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Chief Financial Officer Of Furniture Company Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Accounting Fraud Against Bank, And Gas City, Indiana
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that NORMAN D’SOUZA, the former chief financial officer and vice president of finance of a New Jersey-based furniture wholesaler and retailer (“Company-1”) and an Indiana-based furniture manufacturer affiliated with Company-1 (“Company-2”) (collectively, the “Companies”), was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison for orchestrating a fraudulent scheme to obtain $17 million in loans from a commercial bank based in New York, New York (the “Bank”), and $1 million in municipal loans from Gas City, Indiana (the “City”). D’SOUZA and his co-conspirators obtained this financing by making false statements and providing false and fraudulent documents concerning the Companies’ financial condition. D’SOUZA pled guilty on April 1, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, who imposed yesterday’s sentence.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Two Individuals In Connection With Bribery And Kickback Scheme To Secure Business From A Nonprofit Health Organization
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced the unsealing of charges today against NIMESH PATEL, a former information technology employee at a large national nonprofit organization (the “Society”) and DILIP VADLAMUDI, the owner of an information technology outsourcing company located in Indiana, for engaging in a bribery and kickback scheme. PATEL was arrested this morning in New Jersey, and was presented today before United States Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker. VADLAMUDI was arrested this morning in Indiana, and was expected to be presented today before a Magistrate Judge in Indianapolis.
A.G. Schneiderman Announces $19.5 Million Multi-State Agreement With Bristol-Myers Squibb To End Deceptive Advertising Practices And Off-Label Promotion Of Drug Used To Treat Schizophrenia
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today a $19.5 million multistate agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (“BMS”) arising from alleged improper marketing and promotion of the drug Abilify. New York’s share of the settlement is $788,774. Abilify is one of several second-generation antipsychotic prescription drugs, commonly referred to as “atypical antipsychotics,” that were originally used to treat schizophrenia. The agreement is signed with 41 other State Attorneys General and the District of Columbia.
“Drug companies should not market their drug for off-label uses or make claims that are not supported by scientific evidence,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Consumers must be able to rely on their doctor’s advice for medication without having to worry about drug companies manipulating their advertising to promote their products at the expense of patients.”
Abilify is the brand name for the prescription drug aripiprazole. It was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for the treatment of schizophrenia in 2002. Since then, the FDA has approved various formulations of Abilify for other indications.
In a complaint filed today in New York County Supreme Court, Attorney General Schneiderman alleges that BMS engaged in off-label marketing, which is the promotion of drugs for uses that are not FDA approved. BMS improperly promoted Abilify for pediatric use and for use in elderly patients with symptoms consistent with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, in 2006, Abilify received a “black box” warning stating that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis who are treated with antipsychotic drugs have an increased risk of death. The complaint further that BMS violated state consumer protection laws by misrepresenting and minimizing risks of the drug including metabolic and weight gain side effects and by misrepresenting the findings of scientific studies.
The consent decree contains strong injunctive terms prohibiting BMS from:
- Promoting Abilify for off-label uses;
- Making false or misleading claims about Abilify;
- Compensating health care providers for merely attending a promotional activity for Abilify;
- Promoting Abilify by highlighting selected symptoms instead of diagnoses without reference to the FDA-approved indications;
- Using medical education grants, including Continuing Medical Education grants, or any other type of grant to promote Abilify;
- Rewarding health care providers with grants based on their prescribing habits;
- Providing samples of Abilify to health care providers whose clinical practices are inconsistent with Abilify’s FDA-approved label.
States participating in the settlement include: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
A.G. Schneiderman Announces $1.6 Million Settlements With Auto Dealerships That Illegally Charged Thousands Of Customers For Hidden Purchases
Settlements Conclude Investigations By A.G. Finding Dealerships In Staten Island And Floral Park Unlawfully Charged More Than 2,500 Consumers For Undisclosed Products, Services Costing Up To $2,000 Per Consumer; Dealerships Must Pay Restitution, Barred From Selling ‘After-Sale’ Items
Since 2015, A.G. Schneiderman Has Obtained More Than $17 Million In Restitution, Penalties For More Than 22,000 Consumers Illegally Charged By Auto Dealerships For Hidden Products, Services
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the settlement of a lawsuit against SG Hylan Motors Corp., a Staten Island dealership doing business as Staten Island Honda and Staten Island Nissan (collectively “SG Hylan”) and a separate settlement with Best Auto Outlet, Inc. (“Best Auto”) located in Floral Park. The SG Hylan settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General in July 2016, which alleged that these auto dealerships unlawfully sold “after-sale” products and services, including credit repair and identity theft protection services, to over 2,300 consumers, sometimes exceeding a cost of $2,000 per consumer. The settlement requires SG Hylan to pay $1.5 million in restitution to these consumers. The agreement with Best Auto, which returns $115,000 in restitution to consumers, concludes an investigation into this dealership for similar misconduct – alleged unlawful sale of credit repair and identity theft prevention services, and other “after-sale” items to over 200 consumers.
“When consumers shop for a car, they deserve an honest and fair negotiation – and not to be misled by deceptive dealerships looking to saddle customers with hidden costs,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to investigate and hold accountable any auto dealers trying to pad their pockets by charging fees for undisclosed products and services that consumers do not need and did not ask for.”
Each agreement requires payment into a restitution fund to be distributed to consumers with CFI contracts. SG Hylan must also pay $100,000 in penalties, and Best Auto must pay $10,000 in penalties.
Under the settlements, the dealerships are prohibited from:
- Selling, offering to sell or marketing credit repair and identity theft services in connection with the sale or lease of a vehicle;
- Selling, offering for sale, or providing to consumers any after-sale product or service unless, prior to such sale, certain material terms, including price, are disclosed verbally and in writing;
- Misrepresenting the price of the vehicle in final lease or sale contracts;
- Failing to provide consumers with sales or lease agreements that clearly and conspicuously itemize each after-sale product or service and its price.
These settlements are part of the Attorney General’s initiative to end the practice that automobile dealers call “jamming,” or charging consumers for hidden purchases. In 2015, Attorney General Schneiderman announced a settlement with Credit Forget, Inc., the company that purported to provide the credit repair and identity theft protection services. Since 2015, the Attorney General has settled with 11 dealerships for amounts totaling over $17 million in restitution and penalties. Over 22,000 consumers have been eligible for restitution under these settlements.
The settlements include the following dealerships:
- Paragon Auto Dealership: a group of automobile dealers in Queens and Westchester counties, including Paragon Honda, Paragon Acura, and White Plains Honda
- Plaza Auto Dealership: a group of dealers located on Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, including, Plaza Toyota-Plaza Scion, Plaza Hyundai, Plaza Honda and Acura of Brooklyn
- Manfredi Auto Dealership: a group of dealers located on Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, including Manfredi Fiat and Fiat of SI, Manfredi Mitsubishi, Manfredi Kia, Manfredi Hyundai, Manfredi Cadillac, Manfredi Chrysler Jeep & Dodge, Manfredi Fiat Inc., S.I. Toyota, Manfredi Toyota and Manfredi Scion, Manfredi Subaru, Manfredi Mazda and Staten Island Subaru
- Koeppel Auto Dealership: a group of dealers located in Jackson Heights, Long Island City and Woodside, Queens, including Koeppel Nissan, Inc.; LK Automotive Enterprises, LLC. d/b/a Koeppel Subaru, KL Auto Enterprises LLC. d/b/a Koeppel Mazda and Koeppel Volkswagen, Inc.
- I. Autoworld, Inc. d/b/a Generation Kia: located in Bohemia, Long Island
- Nissan 112: located in Patchogue, Long Island
- Huntington Honda, Honda of New Rochelle and New Rochelle Toyota: located on Long Island and in Westchester counties
- Westbury Jeep Dodge and Fiat of Westbury: located in Westbury, Long Island
- Security Auto Sales, Inc. d/b/a Security Dodge: located in Amityville, Long Island
The office is continuing to investigate a number of other New York auto dealers that sold or sell after-sale services without the knowledge and consent of consumers.
Consumers who believe they have been jammed with unwanted products or services in connection with a vehicle lease or purchase or who were sold Credit Forget It’s credit repair or identity theft protection services are urged to file complaints online or call 1-800-771-7755.
Statement from New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on the Tragic Explosion at a Bronx Homeless Shelter
“This stirs up incredibly difficult emotions. What heartbreaking news. It’s another tragic day for the city, with more tragic news for those who need our help most.
Following Tragedy, Comptroller Stringer Calls on the City to Create a Roadmap to Tackle Homelessness
After promising to phase out both “cluster sites” and commercial hotels, the City is making little progress on both
With over 13,000 open violations, "cluster site" shelters remain dangerous for our children
Department of Homeless Services dramatically escalating the use of commercial hotels, costing hundreds of millions of dollars
Following the tragic death of two children in the Bronx yesterday, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer today called for the City to release a roadmap to solving the homelessness crisis.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Senator Ruben Diaz worked to secure $3 Million in funding for New York City Housing Authority Improvements
Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force and member of the Speaker’s Anti-Poverty Working Group has announced that thanks to funding he helped secure through the 2016-17 State Budget, residents of housing developments in the Bronx will be receiving new appliances. The upgrade to new appliances comes a few weeks before Christmas, Hanukkah and end of year celebrations.
According to Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo: “I am proud to be able to deliver critical funding for the developments in my district including providing over $500,000 for new appliances for the residents of Stebbins and Bronx River housing developments.”
In addition, Assemblyman Crespo said: “This is part of my ongoing work to improve our communities and quality of life for all its residents. Safe, decent and affordable housing is the bedrock to achieving such goals.”
“These investments in Stebbins-Hewitt and Bronx River Houses will improve quality of life for hundreds of residents,” said NYCHA General Manager Michael Kelly. “Brand-new appliances, like stoves and refrigerators, will improve residents’ kitchens and cooking experiences for the long term. We thank the Assembly Member for his commitment to strengthening these communities with these in-home upgrades.”
Norma Saunders, President of the Bronx River Houses Tenant Association made the following remarks: "
They say that when you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others. This quote is exactly who Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. represents They are providing new appliances for our seniors in both senior buildings at Bronx River Houses. This is much needed and much appreciated by the seniors and the Resident Association."
Ray Serrano President for the Resident Association of Stebbins Hewitt said: "It was definitely a pleasant surprise to our residents from Stebbins Hewitt Houses to receive new stoves and refrigerators this week. As resident leader I appreciate the fact that NYCHA with the help of Marcos Crespo recognize that the stoves and refrigerators we previously had in our apartments or substandard. One of our residents stated "the stove I had previously had two burners that did not light and I was constantly worried if there was a gas leak. Now I do not have to worry about that. I guess I could call it an early Christmas gift. Thanks NYCHA for stepping up!”
Under the Leadership of Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, the Assembly Majority fought hard to secure much needed capital funding for the public housing developments owned and operated by New York City House Authority (NYCHA).
While the residents of Stebbins – Hewitt are already in the process of receiving the delivery of new appliances, On Friday, December 9th at 3:30PM, Assemblyman Crespo, and NYCHA staff met with the residents of 1350 Manor Avenue of the Bronx River Houses Senior Buildings to announce their delivery schedule.
Above and Below - Assemblyman Marcos Crespo went to the residents with NYCHA officials to personally let the residents know that they were to receive a new stove and refrigerator providing the appliances had not been already replaced in the past five years. The residents thanked Assemblyman Crespo for his help, while informing him of other problems at the houses that the assemblyman and his staff will look into.