Monday, July 25, 2016

A Tree Branch Waits to Come Down in Bedford Park

  If you look closely at the upper left of this tree you will see that a large branch has broken off from the tree and is resting upon another tree branch. The area has been roped off so no one will walk or park under this large tree branch which can come down at any time. The photo was taken just after 2 PM as you can see the sky is clear. The forecast was for thunder storms and heavy rain later in the evening. The location is the Mosholu Parkway service road between East 204th Street and Lisbon Place. 

Bronx Chamber of Commerce - Join us and "Mix It Up" at VISIONS' Celebrity Bartenders Event


By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 
District 32 Bronx County, New York 

Donald Trump Recognizes the Value of Evangelicals in America

   You should know that in his acceptance speech on Thursday, July 21, 2016, as the Republican Party Nominee for President of the United States of America, Donald Trump said the following:  “I would like to thank the evangelical community because, I will tell you what, the support they have given me — and I'm not sure I totally deserve it — has been so amazing. And has been such a big reason I'm here tonight. They have much to contribute to our policies.”
It is important for you to know that whether you like Donald Trump or not, he is the only candidate who has publicly recognized the importance of Evangelicals in our nation.
Everyone else mocks us calling us fanatics, religious zealots, radicals, repressive and oppressive.
In front of millions of viewers, Donald Trump told the world that he values Evangelicals.
I, for one, am an Evangelical. I am a Democrat, and to be more specific, I am a Conservative Democrat, and everyone knows it.  I have been the Pastor of the Christian Community Neighborhood Church for many years here in the Bronx, and I also serve as the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, which is comprised of more than 150 Evangelical ministers in the Metropolitan area.
My dear reader, I am excited and very glad that the work of Evangelicals has been recognized from such a prominent official who is the running for the Presidency of the United States of America.
I hope and pray that other leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Governors, Mayors and other elected officials will start to pay attention to the Evangelical movement and our socially conservative values.
I pray that they will publicly recognize that we are part of America, unlike some who have publicly stated that we are not welcome in places like New York.
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

Here we have the makings of another race where Ruben Diaz will be on one side, and Ruben Diaz will be on the other side. This makes Ruben Diaz a winner no matter who wins. It appears that Donald Trump is smarter than Ted Cruz or John Kasich, as Trump won New York in the Republican primary without having to pander to the likes of those who are looking to get those famous TRUMP DOLLARS now.
I do hope you are feeling better Senator Diaz Sr., and you were missed at the Abrazo Dominicano. 

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz Kicks Off 2016 Summer Concert Series in Northwest Bronx

    Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz welcomed members of the community to the first two concerts of his 2016 Summer Concert Series. The first show featuring The Gene DiNapoli Variety All-Star show packed the theater at the Riverdale YM-YWHA with over 200 people, while the second show featured Grammy Award-winning musician John Benitez and his Latin Jazz Band at the Amalgamated Train Park on Orloff Avenue and Gale Place in the Bronx. The concert series is an annual event every summer in the Northwest Bronx and is cosponsored by Assemblyman Dinowitz and the Bronx Council on the Arts.  

  “There is no better way to spend a beautiful summer evening than by listening to talented musicians play music with friends and family,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. “I was so excited to see hundreds of community members attend these concerts which are excellent opportunities for people of all ages to relax and enjoy quality music together. I am proud to partner with the Bronx Council on the Arts to sponsor this series of free concerts across the northwest Bronx. 

  The Gene DiNapoli Variety All-Star Show kicked off the Concert Series at the Riverdale YM-YWHA on Tuesday. For the third year in a row, Gene DiNapoli not only brought his incredible musical style reminiscent of Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, but also the talent of several different acts and performers that captivated the audience. From a 106 year old stand-up comedian, to a very convincing rendition of “Candyman” by an incredible Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator, the Gene DiNapoli Variety All-Star Show had the crowded theater of 200 community members singing in their seats and dancing in the aisles.

  The second concert took place in the heart of the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, just south of Van Cortlandt Park. Hundreds of senior citizens, families with young children, and everyone in between gathered on benches, folding chairs, and along fences to listen to the music. After brief words of welcome from Assemblyman Dinowitz and State Senator Jeff Klein, John Benitez and his band took over, playing a two-hour set. The band’s rousing trombone, saxophone, drums, and bass solos created a fun, festive atmosphere, and dozens of attendees even took to dancing.
This week’s two concerts were the first of eight free shows. The remaining six include:

• Monday, August 1st – The Just Nuts Party Dance Band at Henry Hudson Park, 7 p.m.
• Thursday, August 4th – Ginetta’s Vendetta at the Amalgamated Train Park, 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, August 9th – Mystery Tour Beatles Tribute Band at Henry Hudson Park, 7 p.m.
• Thursday, August 11th – Orquesta SCC at the Williamsbridge Oval, 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, August 16th – Donald Vega at the Amalgamated Train Park, 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, August 17th – NY Skyscrapers and Friends at the Riverdale YM-YWHA, 7 p.m.


    FY 2017 Capital Funds will help create more than 800 new affordable units across The Bronx

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has allocated more than $3 million in capital funds for seven housing developments across The Bronx, creating more than 800 new affordable units in neighborhoods across The Bronx.

“Keeping this borough affordable through the creation of appropriate housing units has been a priority of mine from the day I first took office, and this year my office continued to showcase its commitment to affordability through our capital grants,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “From new units for low-income seniors, veterans, the formerly homeless and more, our allocations this year will help a wide range of individuals find and keep an affordable home, right here in The Bronx.”

In total, Borough President Diaz has allocated $3,265,000 across eight housing-related projects in FY 2017, funding a total of up to 851 new units of affordable housing. Allocations include $750,000 to construct 75 units of moderate and low income housing in partnership with the Mt. Hope Housing Company on Walton Avenue that would also construct a gymnasium for the Mount Hope Community Center, $400,000 towards a 57 unit moderate income co-op in the northeast Bronx in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, and $750,000 for two projects with Catholic Charities, which combined will create more than 350 units for low income seniors, veterans and the formerly homeless.

In addition, Borough President Diaz will provide $165,000 in funding to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development for a mobile services unit. This vehicle will travel to different borough neighborhoods to act as a mobile constituent services office on housing and tenant matters.

“By far the greatest volume of constituent requests received by my office is for housing assistance,” said Borough President Diaz. “I am hopeful that, in partnership with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, we will be able to use this new mobile unit to bring housing services directly to the communities that need them the most.”

Since first taking office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has provided $48,731,000 in capital funding to housing projects across The Bronx, helping to create 6,866 units of all types in the process.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Three Additional Defendants Indicted In Multimillion-Dollar Text Messaging Consumer Fraud Scheme

Executive Vice President at Mobile Aggregation Company and Heads of Two Content Providers Participated in Scheme to Bill Consumers for Fraudulent Text-Messaging Charges

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the unsealing of a superseding indictment (the “Indictment”) charging three additional defendants, FRASER THOMPSON, EUGENI TSVETNENKO, a/k/a “Zhenya,” and FRANCIS ASSIFUAH, a/k/a “Francis Assif,” for their participation in a scheme to charge mobile phone customers millions of dollars in monthly fees for unsolicited, recurring text messages without the customers’ knowledge or consent – a practice known as “auto-subscribing.”  THOMPSON, who was the Executive Vice President of Operations at a mobile aggregation company based in the United States (the “U.S. Mobile Aggregator”), was arrested this morning in California, and is expected to be presented today in federal court in Los Angeles before United States Magistrate Judge Jean P. Rosenbluth.  TSVETNENKO, who ran at least two different digital content providers based in Australia (collectively, the “Australia Content Providers”), resides in Australia and has not yet been arrested.  ASSIFUAH, who ran a digital content provider based in the United States (“U.S. Content Provider-2”), was previously charged in a criminal complaint and was arrested on April 28, 2016.  Also named in the Indictment were DARCY WEDD, CHRISTOPHER GOFF, MICHAEL PEARSE, YONGCHAO LIU, a/k/a “Kevin Liu,” and YONG JASON LEE, a/k/a “Jason Lee,” all of whom were previously charged for their respective roles in the scheme.
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]
The Auto-Subscription Scheme
From 2011 through 2013, WEDD, THOMPSON, GOFF, PEARSE, LIU, LEE, TSVETNENKO, ASSIFUAH and other co-conspirators engaged in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud consumers by placing unauthorized charges for premium text messaging services on consumers’ cellular phone bills, without the consumers’ knowledge or consent, through a practice known as “auto-subscribing.”
During the relevant time period, LEE and two other co-conspirators (“CC-1” and “CC-2”) worked for a digital content provider based in the United States that offered premium text messaging services to mobile phone customers (“U.S. Content Provider-1”).  WEDD, THOMPSON, GOFF, and two other co-conspirators (“CC-3” and “CC-4”) worked for the U.S. Mobile Aggregator.  PEARSE and LIU worked for a mobile aggregator based in Australia (the “Australian Mobile Aggregator”).  TSVETNENKO ran the Australia Content Providers, and ASSIFUAH ran U.S. Content Provider-2.  Mobile aggregators compile, or “aggregate,” charges for premium text messaging services – such as monthly horoscopes, celebrity gossip, and trivia facts – on consumers’ mobile phone bills.
In 2011, CC-1 decided to begin auto-subscribing mobile phone users to U.S. Content Provider-1’s premium text messaging services in order to boost U.S. Content Provider-1’s sagging revenues.  CC-1 approached PEARSE and LIU and asked them to build a computer program that could spoof the required consumer authorizations for premium text messaging services – i.e., a program that could generate the text message correspondence that one would ordinarily see if a consumer was genuinely signing up to receive the services.  PEARSE and LIU agreed to build the program (the “Auto-Subscription Platform”), which was operational by in or about the middle of 2011.  In July 2011, CC-1 approached GOFF, who was the account manager for U.S. Content Provider-1 at the U.S. Mobile Aggregator, in order to obtain a large volume of mobile phone numbers to run through the Auto-Subscription Platform.  GOFF sent CC-1 hundreds of thousands of phone numbers, in exchange for payment, for the purpose of auto-subscribing consumers.
In October 2011, CC-1 met with WEDD and told him, in sum and substance, that CC-1 wanted to auto-subscribe consumers through the U.S. Mobile Aggregator’s billing platform and needed additional phone numbers to do so.  WEDD agreed to assist CC-1 in exchange for an up-front payment of approximately $100,000 and a percentage of the auto-subscription proceeds.  WEDD further told CC-1, in sum and substance, that CC-3, who was the Vice President of Compliance and Consumer Protection for the U.S. Mobile Aggregator, would provide phone numbers to CC-1 and that all payments needed to go through CC-3.  WEDD later received his portion of the payments from CC-1 via CC-3.
After CC-1 received phone numbers from WEDD and CC-3, CC-1 passed them on to LEE, the Chief Technology Officer of U.S. Content Provider-1, who was responsible for verifying that the numbers were still valid and active, and for sorting and filtering the numbers to make it easier to run them through the Auto-Subscription Platform.  After LEE performed these functions, CC-1 sent the numbers to PEARSE and LIU to be run through the Auto-Subscription Platform.
In early 2012, CC-4 approached CC-3 and asked to participate in the auto-subscription scheme.  CC-4 told CC-3, in sum and substance, that CC-4 was friends with ASSIFUAH, and proposed that CC-4 and CC-3 begin auto-subscribing customers with ASSIFUAH and U.S. Content Provider-2.  Shortly thereafter, ASSIFUAH began auto-subscribing consumers to phone numbers he had been given by CC-3 and CC-4 through the U.S. Mobile Aggregator.  In total, ASSIFUAH received over $600,000 in gross payments from the U.S. Mobile Aggregator, a significant portion of which came from auto-subscription proceeds.
Also in early 2012, WEDD, THOMPSON, CC-3, and CC-4 had discussions about how to increase revenues at the U.S. Mobile Aggregator, which were flagging because premium text-messaging services had become less profitable.  Among other things, WEDD, THOMPSON, CC-3, and CC-4 agreed to allow TSVETNENKO to begin auto-subscribing consumers through the U.S. Mobile Aggregator.  By no later than April 2012, TSVETNENKO had started auto-subscribing consumers.  Over the course of the next several months through mid-2013, TSVETNENKO and the Australian Content Providers auto-subscribed hundreds of thousands of phone numbers through the U.S. Mobile Aggregator, and generated millions of dollars of revenue, which the defendants apportioned among themselves and were used to fund a lavish lifestyle of expensive vacations and gambling.                 
WEDD, THOMPSON, GOFF, PEARSE, LIU, LEE, TSVETNENKO, and ASSIFUAH are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  WEDD, THOMPSON, GOFF, PEARSE, TSVETNENKO, and ASSIFUAH are also each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which 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 investigative work of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and expressed his sincere gratitude to the Federal Trade Commission for their support and assistance with the investigation.  He also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada for their help in coordinating the arrests of the defendants.
The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian R. Everdell and Sarah E. Paul 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.

The Minions Gather at Seton Park

  Last night the Minions gathered at Seton Park in Riverdale to see the movie 'MINIONS'. KRVC presented their Movie in the Park along with the help of State Senator Jeff Klein. The hot weather did keep the crowd down, but only a little as it was a beautiful dry night in the park with an occasional breeze, one of which was able to knock over the movie screen before the movie. KRVC helpers were able to secure the giant movie screen so it stayed up and the minions were able to watch their movie.

Above - Was this one of the Minions from the movie 'Minions'
Below - KRVC has an area set up with free bottles of water available for the attendees, along with movie goodies for sale, and Senator Jeff Klein had a table set up with information about his Summer Concert Series. 

Above - KRVC Executive Director (left) introduces Michelle Dolgow of State Senator jeff Klein's office, and Bill Weitz of Congressman Engel's office who spoke briefly before the movie started. 
Below - The movie Minions then began.

Above and below - More scenes from the movie Minions.