Friday, October 20, 2017


NYPD “e-bike” enforcement up 170% year-to-date; City to fine businesses that operate illegal bikes

  Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Police Department announced that the City will take heightened enforcement action against electric bicycles, otherwise known as “e-bikes,” with a particular focus on the hazardous operation of e-bikes and businesses who use them or permit employees to ride them.

“E-bikes are illegal to operate in New York City and the NYPD is stepping up enforcement,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Those at the top of the food chain need to be held accountable. That’s why instead of merely targeting riders, we’re going after businesses that look the other way and leave their workers to shoulder the fine.”

“E-bikes are too often a danger on the City’s streets and sidewalks,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “They’re illegal to operate here, but it seems like you can spot them everywhere – and that’s where our increased enforcement comes in. Officers are confiscating e-bikes from riders and issuing summonses that carry a stiff fine, and enforcement is up dramatically this year. Soon businesses will be held accountable too, because most e-bike riders are acting on their employer’s behalf. The NYPD is committed to keeping City streets safe for everyone and e-bike enforcement is an important part of the plan.”    

E-bikes are illegal to operate on New York City streets. According to the City Administrative Code, an “e-bike” constitutes a “motorized scooter” and “no person shall operate a motorized scooter in the City of New York” (19-176.2.(b)). So far this year, the NYPD has seized 923 e-bikes compared to the 341 it confiscated this time last year, an increase of more than 170 percent. Nearly 1,800 civil and moving summonses have been issued to e-bike operators year-to-date.

Businesses that enable e-bike use and turn a blind eye to employees who operate them are also at fault. City law states that “a business using a bicycle for commercial purposes shall not possess any motorized scooter and shall not permit any person to operate a motorized scooter on behalf of such business” (10-157-(k)).

Beginning in 2018, the NYPD will issue a new department directive and provide officers with the necessary forms and training to execute civil enforcement against businesses much more efficiently by allowing officers to issue civil summonses to businesses through the mail. While the NYPD will continue confiscating e-bikes and issuing summonses to riders -- particularly those riding in a hazardous manner -- officers will step up enforcement activity against businesses that too often put their employees in a position to break the law.

Currently, riders caught operating an e-bike are subject to a civil summons, confiscation and fines of up to $500. Beginning next year, businesses that utilize e-bikes or allow employees to operate them will receive a civil summons and a $100 fine for a first offenses and a $200 fine for each subsequent offense (10-157-(g)).


DOT “Bus Forward” report targets more than 21 new bus corridors, will almost triple the number of commuters served by faster SBS, commits to expanding bus-priority treatments to local routes across the city

  Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that New York City would dramatically expand Select Bus Service (SBS), pursuing upgrades on more than 21 new routes over the next ten years, reaching a half-million more bus riders each day.  The City and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will also expand bus-priority improvements to make buses faster on key non-SBS corridors in all five boroughs. The Mayor made the announcement after riding an MTA M23 SBS bus to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. 

The DOT report on the planned expansion, Bus Forward, is available here.

“Bus riders deserve faster, more reliable service -- and the growing number of riders on SBS buses has found that they are getting to work on-time, and getting home to family faster,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With even more Select Bus Service routes coming on-line in the years ahead and a commitment to bring SBS-style treatments to other routes, more communities in every borough will see their bus service improve. These improvements have been proven effective, by reducing travel time, increasing bus reliability and helping us meet the goals of major initiatives – both for a safer city under Vision Zero and a more equitable one under OneNYC.”  

“Select Bus Service has been a truly great partnership for the DOT and the MTA, as hundreds of thousands of daily riders citywide enjoy its real benefits that make buses faster, more reliable, and more convenient,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “But as the Mayor notes, our success means we now have much more to do, and so we will now tackle other corridors in neighborhoods around New York City where we believe the addition of SBS and the expansion of our bus-priority treatments on local bus routes could make a major difference. Whether it’s all-door boarding, dedicated bus lanes, or bus countdown clocks, hundreds of thousands of riders have come to rely on the innovations of SBS that we want to bring to even more routes.”

A joint initiative of New York City DOT and MTA New York City Transit, SBS has expanded dramatically over the last four years, increasing ridership as travel times on those routes have improved by as much as 30 percent. Right now, 12 percent of bus rides are taken on an SBS route, and with the Mayor’s commitment that number will rise to 30 percent -- nearly one in three bus riders. The Mayor has provided $270 million for Select Bus Service, and in 2014, the Administration introduced the first-ever baselined funding to deliver SBS upgrades, support that will now enable SBS on the following targeted corridors and areas, where DOT expects to work with the MTA:

Select Bus Service began in 2008 on the Bx12 route along Fordham Road in the Bronx, bringing bus rapid transit to New York City for the first time. According to data collected by DOT on each of the established routes, Select Bus Service’s signature features – all-door boarding, dedicated bus lanes, and signal priority -- have led to faster travel times, increased ridership, more reliable service, and safer streets. The rate of SBS expansion has grown dramatically under Mayor de Blasio -- from 6 routes at the start of 2014 to 14 currently. In the next year, Select Bus Service is expected to arrive on at least two more corridors that serve nearly 50,000 daily bus riders: Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens and Flatlands Avenue/Kings Highway in Brooklyn. 

Additionally, the City and the MTA have worked together using MTA Bus Time GPS data to identify locations around the city where bus routes are slow and unreliable. The agencies will work together to create a new program focused on improving local bus speed and reliability -- applying treatments in the SBS toolbox that include dedicated bus lanes, transit signal priority, better bus stop spacing, fare-collection improvements, and other tools to improve bus service for the majority of MTA bus riders who ride local buses. Over the next decade, two or three major corridors will be tackled per year. New bus-priority projects have been and will be undertaken this year on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, Fulton Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and along Main Street in Flushing, Queens – targeted improvements that will speed rides for more than 130,000 daily bus riders.

SBS Routes are currently active along the following corridors: 

Fordham Road/Pelham Parkway (Bx12)
First/Second Avenues (M15)
34th Street (M34/M34A) 
Hylan Boulevard (S79) 
Webster Avenue (Bx41) 
Nostrand Avenue (B44) 
125th Street-LGA (M60) 
86th Street (M86)
Bronx-Flushing-Jamaica (Q44) 
Woodside-Jackson Heights Airport Connector, LaGuardia Link (Q70)
Utica Avenue (B46)
23rd Street (M23) 
79th Street (M79)

Washington Hgts-Crosstown Bronx (Bx6)

For more information about Select Bus Service, please visit


Fifth benchmarking report shows that between 2010 and 2015, emissions from 4,200 consistently benchmarked properties dropped by 14 percent, energy use decreased 10 percent

  As part of Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious goals to create more energy efficient buildings and align the city’s emissions reduction goals with the Paris Climate Agreement, the Mayor in partnership with Urban Green Council and NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress released New York City’s Energy and Water Use 2014 & 2015 Report, a comprehensive analysis of energy and water usage of large buildings in New York City.  

The analysis in the report finds that between 2010 and 2015 greenhouse gas emissions from 4,200 regularly benchmarked properties that missed no more than one benchmarking period, dropped by 14 percent, while energy use decreased 10 percent.

"This new analysis demonstrates that we can continue to achieve substantial reductions in emissions from the largest source in our city, our buildings, and keep New York City on-track toward our 80x50 target,” said Mayor de Blasio. “‎This sets the stage for even more dramatic reductions that will be achieved through mandatory retrofits for the largest, most polluting buildings across the five boroughs. When Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, we knew we had to accelerate our local climate actions, and that's exactly what's happening.‎"

“We’re glad to work with the city for the second year to analyze the biggest cache of large building data in the U.S.” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council. “The report highlights encouraging improvements, and the findings give us direction on how to move further to reduce carbon and deliver on the City’s 80x50 goals.”

"This year's report represents another significant step forward in using data analytics to address the serious urban challenge of climate change," said Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE, Professor of Urban Informatics at NYU CUSP and Tandon, Director of NYU's Urban Intelligence Lab, and lead data scientist for the report. "New York City continues to lead on climate action, and data-driven, evidenced-based policies are necessary to achieve the Mayor's ambitious goals to reduce the City's carbon emissions and energy use."

The report was produced in partnership with Urban Green Council and NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. It is part of a nearly decade long effort to better evaluate and manage energy use in buildings citywide, which contribute nearly 70 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Seven years ago, as part of its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, the City of New York launched an initiative to determine how much energy its largest buildings use. Since then, Local Law 84 of 2009 (LL84) requires owners and managers of buildings that occupy at least 50,000 square feet to report the amount of energy and water these buildings use each year. This information can be used to compare the buildings’ energy performance against that of similar buildings. This process of reporting and comparison, known as benchmarking, has since been adopted by many major cities, including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

While the simple exercise of benchmarking can raise building owner awareness and often lead to actions that reduce energy and water use, it also remains clear that to achieve the City’s ambitious climate goals to accelerate greenhouse gas reductions, more action will have to be taken. The report illustrates that half of the emissions declines are due to a cleaner electrical grid and more efficient district steam generation. Now that most New York State electricity generation from coal and oil has transitioned to natural gas, building owners will have to dig deeper into energy efficiency to keep up the pace. Benchmarking, in coordination with plans announced earlier this fall to mandate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s largest buildings will be vital to accelerate this work and deliver on the City’s promise to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s stretch goal of limiting a global temperature increase to l.5° Celsius. 

 “The facts are clear. Benchmarking can help buildings use less energy, contribute fewer greenhouse gases to our atmosphere, and save money,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the Office of the Mayor. “Now is the time to take that even further by requiring the city’s dirtiest buildings to retrofit their systems to achieve even deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. These efforts by New York City demonstrate the type of leadership that is necessary to achieve the Paris Agreement and fill the void of federal climate leadership.”

“Thanks to the data and analysis within this report, we can continue to target areas and policies that will aggressively reduce our energy consumption and accelerate greenhouse gas emissions reductions to get us closer to our climate goals.” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “This report and policy tool is yet another example of what is possible when public and private partnerships work together towards a more sustainable and just city.”

“The City requires buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to perform annual energy audits – and we continue to see dramatic improvements in sustainability simply by ensuring that building owners get the information they need on how much energy they use. To further reduce both emissions and energy bills, we’ll be expanding the program to mid-size buildings next year,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. “Expanded benchmarking will play a pivotal role in achieving Mayor de Blasio’s vision to reduce our carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New York City Submits Proposal for Amazon’s Second Headquarters

Four districts met essential criteria for HQ2: Midtown West, Long Island City, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle and Lower Manhattan

NYC’s case: top talent, quality of life, diverse economy with thriving tech sector

  The City of New York today submitted its formal proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2), expected to bring 50,000 good-paying jobs and an investment of over $5 billion to a city in North America. The proposal, which was submitted in partnership with the State of New York, emphasized the competitive advantages that uniquely position New York City. The city boasts the largest pool of talent in the country, world-class academic and research institutions, and the nation’s most diverse economy.

The City’s proposal includes a letter of support signed by more than 70 elected leaders from all five boroughs. Read that letter here.

Read an overview of the City’s proposal here.
Read Mayor de Blasio’s letter to Amazon here.
The City’s response includes four proposed business districts that could serves as a home for Amazon’s second headquarters: Midtown West, Long Island City, Brooklyn Tech Triangle and Lower Manhattan. Of the more than two dozen proposals received as part of the City’s RFEI, these four districts met the specific requirements of the Amazon RFP: 500,000 square feet of commercial space by 2019; accommodating up to 8 million square feet of commercial space for 50,000 jobs within a 15-minute radius; proximity to transit, highways, and airports; and connectivity to surrounding mixed-use neighborhoods.
“We see this as a competition for 50,000 new job openings--jobs we want New Yorkers to land,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We win it based on the talent of our workers and the incredible diversity of industries in this town.”
The Case for New York City:

  • 2.3 million New Yorkers have a bachelor’s degree or above, more than Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington and Boston combined
  • The New York Metro area tech workforce is the largest in the nation with 296,000 workers, compared to 150,000 in the San Francisco area
  • More Fortune 500 companies than any other city
  • 9,000 startups changing how we live and work
  • 105 institutions of higher learning
  • Diverse array of industry leaders from construction to fashion to tech who have committed to forging partnerships with Amazon
  • Strengths in key sectors where Amazon’s business is growing: tech, media, advertising, fashion, advanced manufacturing
Amazon already has already made a number of key investments in New York City. The company has a sizable presence throughout the five boroughs, including corporate offices, a distribution and fulfillment center, and retail space. Last month, Amazon signed a lease for 360,000 square feet on the Far West Side of Manhattan, substantially expanding its New York City footprint.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

Chelsea Bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi Convicted In Manhattan Federal Court For Executing September 2016 Bombing In New York City

Rahimi Also Convicted of Attempted Bombing for Placing Second Explosive Device in Chelsea

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Dana J. Boente, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced that a jury returned a guilty verdict today against AHMAD KHAN RAHIMI, a/k/a “Ahmad Rahami,” in Manhattan federal court on all eight counts of the Indictment, which charged him with offenses related to his execution and attempted execution of bombings in New York City on September 17, 2016.  RAHIMI, who faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18, 2018, by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who presided over the two-week trial.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “On September 17, 2016, Ahmad Khan Rahimi attacked our country and our way of life.  Inspired by ISIS and al Qaeda, Rahimi planted and detonated bombs on the streets of Chelsea, in the heart of Manhattan, and in New Jersey, hoping to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible.  Rahimi’s crimes of hate have been met with swift and resolute justice.  Just over a year after his attacks, and following a fair and open trial, Rahimi now stands convicted of his crimes of terror by a unanimous jury of New Yorkers.  As a result, he now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.  Today’s verdict is a victory for New York City, a victory for America in its fight against terror, and a victory for all who believe in the cause of justice.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana J. Boente said:  “Ahmad Khan Rahimi constructed bombs with high explosives and shrapnel to inflict maximum damage to innocent victims in multiple locations.  The defendant’s bombs caused injuries to numerous people.  Thanks to outstanding investigative work, the defendant was identified and arrested before he could do any more harm.  This verdict is an important step in holding him accountable for his crimes.  Pursuing those who seek to conduct attacks on our homeland will remain the highest priority of the National Security Division.  I would like to commend all of the agents, detectives, analysts and prosecutors who made this result possible.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “It’s no secret New York City remains a desirable target for those who wish to disrupt our way of life. Last September, Rahimi set out to harm innocent people who were simply living their lives one Saturday evening.   He underestimated the resilience of New Yorkers as well as the resolution of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to see justice served. Today and always, along with our partners, we remain committed to putting terrorists and would-be terrorists behind bars. While the threat posed by Rahimi has been mitigated, I can’t overstate the critical role the public continues to play in combating the threats we face. As we welcome this victory today, I ask everyone to remain engaged, stay aware, and immediately report suspicious activity to the authorities.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “Ahmed Rahimi deliberately placed two bombs on the streets of Chelsea in the dark of night with the intention of maiming and killing innocent New Yorkers enjoying a September Saturday night.  The fact that victims were not killed when one bomb exploded and another failed to detonate is miraculous.  Mr. Rahimi was following to the hateful propaganda of al-Qaida and ISIS that calls for the killing of Americans.  The combined efforts of the FBI, NYPD, the New York State Police and the Linden New Jersey Police Department led to the capture of Mr. Rahimi within 50 hours of the bombing.  The investigation, as well as this conviction is an example of the work of the nation’s best counterterrorism team.  I want to commend the detectives, agents and police officers, the prosecutors of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the members of the jury for bringing Ahmed Rahimi to justice.  Today’s verdict is the most forceful deterrent for anyone considering waging terror in our City.  We will investigate; we will find those responsible; and justice will prevail.”
As set forth in the Complaint, Indictment, and the evidence presented at trial:
On September 17, 2016, RAHIMI transported two improvised explosive devices from New Jersey to New York, New York.  RAHIMI placed one of the devices in the vicinity of 135 West 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, New York (the “23rd Street Bomb”) and the other in the vicinity of 131 West 27th Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, New York (the “27th Street Bomb”). 
At approximately 8:30 p.m., the 23rd Street Bomb – containing a high explosive main charge – detonated, causing injuries to over 30 people and multimillion-dollar property damage across a 650-foot crime scene.  The injuries included, among other things, lacerations to the face, abdomen, legs, and arms caused by flying glass; metal shrapnel and fragmentation embedded in skin and bone; and various head injuries.  The explosive components appear to have been placed inside a pressure cooker and left near a dumpster.  The explosion propelled a more-than-one-hundred-pound dumpster – which was introduced as an exhibit at trial – more than 120 feet.  The blast shattered windows as far as approximately 400 feet from the blast site and, vertically, more than three stories high. 
Shortly after the 23rd Street Bomb detonated, the 27th Street Bomb was identified by a civilian who promptly called 911, which recorded call was introduced in evidence and played at trial.  The 27th Street Bomb, which was rendered safe prior to detonation, consisted of, among other things, a pressure cooker connected with wires to a cellular telephone (likely to function as a timer) and packaged with an explosive main charge, ball bearings, and steel nuts. 
Earlier that day, at approximately 9:35 a.m. on September 17, 2016, another improvised explosive device, which had been planted by RAHIMI in the early morning hours, detonated in the vicinity of Seaside Park, New Jersey, along the route for the Seaside Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5K race.  The start of the race – which was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. – was delayed.  Had the race started on time, the bomb would have detonated as runners were passing by where RAHIMI had planted it. 
On September 18, 2016, at approximately 8:40 p.m., six additional improvised explosive devices that RAHIMI also planted were found inside a backpack located at the entrance to the New Jersey Transit station in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  One of these devices detonated as law enforcement used a robot to defuse it.
On September 19, 2016, at approximately 9:30 a.m., RAHIMI was arrested by police in Linden, New Jersey.  RAHIMI fired multiple shots at police, striking and injuring multiple police officers before he was himself shot, subdued, and placed under arrest.  In the course of RAHIMI’s arrest, a handwritten journal was recovered from RAHIMI’s person.  Written in the journal were, among other things, mentions of explosive devices (including “The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets” and “Bombs set off in the streets they plan to run a mile”),  and laudatory references to Usama Bin Laden, the former leader of al Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki, a former senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Mohammed al-Adnani, a former senior leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham, and Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed 13 people in Foot Hood, Texas.
RAHIMI, 29, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was convicted of one count of using a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; one count of bombing a place of public use, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; one count of destroying property by means of fire or explosive, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of attempting to destroy property by means of fire or explosive, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of interstate transportation and receipt of explosives, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and two counts of using of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, namely, the use and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, each of which individually carries a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of 30 years in prison, a potential maximum sentence of life in prison, and, by virtue of his convictions on both counts, a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
The statutory maximum and minimum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
In addition to the charges of which he was convicted in Manhattan federal court, RAHIMI also has been charged in the District of New Jersey in a Complaint with offenses in connection with his alleged efforts to detonate explosives in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Mr. Kim and Mr. Boente praised the outstanding efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the New York City Police Department.  Mr. Kim also thanked the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division for its assistance.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Former U.S. Soldier For Conspiring To Kidnap And Murder As Part Of A Murder-For-Hire Scheme Overseas

In furtherance of the scheme, the defendants are alleged to have killed a woman in the Philippines by shooting her multiple times in the face

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ray Donavan, Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), today announced that a grand jury had returned a Superseding Indictment, which charged JOSEPH MANUEL HUNTER, a U.S. citizen and former member of the U.S. Army, and two co-defendants with offenses relating to the February 2012 murder of a woman in the Philippines.  HUNTER’s co-defendants, ADAM SAMIA and CARL DAVID STILLWELL, were previously arrested in North Carolina in July 2015 and are scheduled to start trial on the offenses charged in the Superseding Indictment on April 2, 2018.  HUNTER is expected to arrive in the Southern District of New York on October 25, 2017.  The case has been assigned to the Honorable Ronnie Abrams.

According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment against HUNTER, SAMIA, and STILLWELL returned today[1]
HUNTER served from 1983 to 2004 in the United States Army, where he attained the rank of sergeant first class.  While in the Army, HUNTER led air-assault and airborne infantry squads; served as a sniper instructor; and trained soldiers in marksmanship and tactics as a senior drill sergeant.  Since leaving the Army in 2004, HUNTER has arranged for the murders of multiple people in exchange for money, among other completed acts of violence undertaken for pay. 
SAMIA is a self-described “Personal Protection/Security Industry” professional.  According to SAMIA’s résumé, he has worked as an “Independent Contractor” for clients in the Philippines, China, Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo; and has training in tactics and weapons, including handguns, shotguns, rifles, sniper rifles, and machineguns.  According to STILLWELL’s résumé, he has training and experience in the field of information technology and has worked at a firm in North Carolina that provides firearms training.
In 2011 and 2012, HUNTER, SAMIA, and STILLWELL agreed to commit murders-for-hire in overseas locations in exchange for monthly salaries and bonus payments for each victim.  In early 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL traveled from North Carolina to the Philippines, where HUNTER provided them with, among other things, information about their intended victims and firearms to use to commit the murders. 
In January and February 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL surveilled their intended victims in the Philippines as they formulated their plans for the murders.  On February 12, 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL killed one of their intended victims – a Filipino woman – in the Philippines by shooting her multiple times in the face (“Victim-1”).  After killing Victim-1, SAMIA and STILLWELL disposed of her body on a pile of garbage.  HUNTER paid SAMIA and STILLWELL $35,000 each for completing the murder, and SAMIA and STILLWELL sent thousands of dollars from the payments they received to the United States using, among other methods, structured wire transfers in amounts under $10,000. 
In late February and early March 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL returned from the Philippines to North Carolina, where they continued to reside until their arrests.  
HUNTER, 52, of Owensboro, Kentucky, SAMIA, 43, of Roxboro, North Carolina, and STILLWELL, 49, of Roxboro, North Carolina, have each been charged with one count of conspiring to commit murder-for-hire and one count of committing murder-for-hire, each of which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison; one count of conspiring to murder and kidnap in a foreign country and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, each of which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.  SAMIA and STILLWELL are also each charged with conspiring to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The charges against the defendants were the result of the close cooperative efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; DEA’s Special Operations Division, Bilateral Investigations Unit; DEA’s Atlanta Field Division, Raleigh Resident Office; the Durham Police Department; the Raleigh Police Department; the Harnett County Sherriff’s Office; the Wake County Sherriff’s Office; the Person County Sherriff’s Office; the Cary Police Department; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations; and the Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center.  Mr. Kim also thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina for its support and assistance.
The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment and the description of the Superseding Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Three New Jersey Men Charged In Manhattan Federal Court In Telemarketing Fraud Scheme Targeting The Elderly

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the unsealing of a Superseding Indictment charging CHRISTOPHER WILSON, a/k/a “Eric Fields,” JACK KAVNER, a/k/a “Bob Wiley,” a/k/a “Phil Powers,” and DANIEL QUIRK, a/k/a “Lou Epstein,” a/k/a “Bill Huckabee,” a/k/a “Josh Newman,” with conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering.  WILSON also is charged with destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in a federal investigation.  WILSON, KAVNER, and QUIRK were arrested this morning and will be presented and arraigned this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein in Manhattan federal court.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “These three defendants, together with their previously charged co-defendants, allegedly targeted the elderly in a callous telemarketing scheme.  They allegedly lured their victims into making ‘investments’ in businesses, then just stole their money.  Together with HSI and the NYPD, we will continue to investigate and prosecute all those who target victims who are vulnerable because of their age.”

According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment[1], a Complaint filed against co-defendants, and other statements in the public record:

Beginning in at least October 2013 through at least September 2016, WILSON, KAVNER, and QUIRK operated telemarketing companies (the “Telemarketing Companies”) that engaged in a fraudulent scheme (the “Telemarketing Scheme”), by which they promised to earn victims’ (the “Victims”) money in exchange for particular Victims making an initial cash “investment” in business development, website design, grant applications, or tax preparation services.  Many Victims, the majority of whom are over 70 years old, “invested” thousands of dollars with the Telemarketing Companies, but did not earn any of the promised returns.  When Victims of the Telemarketing Scheme sought refunds, or fought credit card charges, the Telemarketing Companies provided explanations and documentation to the credit card companies falsely representing that the Victims had received the promised services. 

WILSON, KAVNER, and QUIRK participated in the Telemarketing Scheme by, among other things, operating the interrelated Telemarketing Companies as set forth in the below chart:

Telemarketing Company  
Olive Branch Marketing   CTO Consulting  
CHRISTOPHER WILSON, a/k/a “Eric Fields”
Carlyle Management Group   Vanguard Business Solutions  
JACK KAVNER, a/k/a “Bob Wiley,” a/k/a “Phil Powers”   DANIEL QUIRK, a/k/a “Lou Epstein,” a/k/a “Bill Huckabee,” a/k/a “Josh Newman”
Six other individuals were previously indicted in this case, which is scheduled for trial on April 16, 2018.

WILSON, 32, of Teaneck, New Jersey, KAVNER, 31, of West New York, New Jersey, and QUIRK, 33, of Little Ferry, New Jersey, are each charged with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  WILSON also is charged with one count of destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in a federal investigation, 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. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of HSI and the NYPD.  He added that the investigation is ongoing.

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

If you have any information regarding WILSON, KAVNER, QUIRK, or victims of the Telemarketing Companies, please report it by phone at (917) 480-7167 or by email at
[1]   As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment, and the description of the Superseding Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.