Attorney General Schneiderman is leading a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties that are committed to aggressively defending the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan will require fossil-fueled power plants, the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation, to cut their emissions. The plan’s projected reductions are equivalent to the pollution emitted by 70 percent of the nation’s passenger cars. Climate change represents an unprecedented threat to the environment, public health and our economy—and EPA’s Clean Power Plan is a critical step forward in protecting our planet.
The New York Times and others reported last week that Attorney General Schneiderman had launched an investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business.
The Attorney General and NYPD Commissioner Bratton announced the indictment of 14 individuals who allegedly operated a sophisticated international stolen vehicle theft ring. The alleged scheme involved driving fraudulently-rented Mercedes, BMWs, Infinitis and other luxury vehicles from lots at New York City airports to the Bronx, where they would be loaded into shipping containers bound for West Africa. “Operation Cruise Control” utilized wiretaps and other surveillance to gather evidence against the Bronx-based criminal ring. The Attorney General has no tolerance for fraudsters who try to profit at the expense of New York businesses.
Along with Inspector General Leahy Scott, the Attorney General announced the guilty plea of a Department of Transportation worker for fraudulently obtaining nearly $10,000 in Workers’ Compensation benefits. Over a period of eight months, Corey Cragnolin falsified documents he submitted to the New York State Insurance Fund by stating he was not working in any capacity while accepting benefits when he was in fact still working.
The Attorney General and Inspector General also announced the guilty plea of Joseph Clare, a retired Department of Corrections officer who fraudulently obtained more than $56,000 in Workers’ Compensation benefits in less than three years. As part of the guilty plea, Clare paid $56,400 in restitution back to the state, and was sentenced to a one year conditional discharge.
And as part of his continued efforts to root out pension fraud, Attorney General Schneiderman and Comptroller DiNapoli announced the guilty plea of Terence Fitzpatrick, who allegedly stole $78,000 in pension benefits from the state. Fitzpatrick had allegedly failed to notify the state of his father’s death, who had been a retired Port Authority worker and collected pension benefits. Fitzpatrick faces a maximum penalty of 2 & 1/3 to 7 years in prison.
The Attorney General has made it a priority to punish those who take money out of the pockets of honest, hardworking New Yorkers who rely on these important funds.
The Attorney General announced the indictment of two individuals charged with witness tampering in a mortgage fraud case. In 2011, an Onondaga County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Alexander March, Sima March, and two other co-defendants in a mortgage fraud scheme, but the Marchs fled the United States and entered Canada to avoid arrest. During that time, it is alleged that Alexander March and an attorney, Jon Lefkowitz, engaged in a conspiracy to tamper with the Grand Jury witnesses who had testified against the Marchs. In an attempt to undermine the witnesses’ credibility, March and Lefkowitz allegedly demanded that witnesses sign affidavits and answer questionnaires that would discredit their prior sworn testimony. In furtherance of their conspiracy, Lefkowitz and March also allegedly impersonated various individuals, including attorneys, and sent out forged “judicial subpoenas” that appeared to have been authorized by a New York State Supreme Court Judge. The Attorney General will continue to be a staunch protector of the integrity of New York’s criminal justice system.
A Florida woman has been sentenced for her role in a mortgage fraud ring that netted more than $1 million by preying upon first-time home buyers and institutional mortgage lenders in the Syracuse area. Tracie Clark, the fifth and final participant of this mortgage to be sentenced, was given six months in jail and five years of probation. The ringleader of the scheme, Theresa Sanders, was previously sentenced to 2 1/3 to seven years in prison for her role.
A Rochester nurse has pleaded guilty to bilking Medicaid of nearly $9,000. Schmeka Morgan provided private nursing services to a special needs young adult and billed the state for numerous hours she did not work. Morgan’s guilty plea carries a sentence of 3 years’ probation and the full restitution of $8,838 she illegally charged the state.