Sunday, October 22, 2017


Effort will create new moving lanes, test new curbside access restrictions, expand enforcement, address commercial corridors outside Manhattan, and tackle persistent highway back-ups 

   Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced action on a series of initiatives designed to ease congestion in busy thoroughfares across the five boroughs. The new effort will include both new and proven approaches to traffic congestion, including the creation of new moving lanes in Midtown, clearing curbs during rush hours, expanding NYPD enforcement of block-the-box violations, limiting curbside access in crowded corridors, and bringing coordinated attention to recurring traffic spots on local highways. The Mayor announced the steps along one of the new Clear Lanes corridors in Midtown Manhattan, where vehicle travel times have declined by 23% since 2010.

“With 8.5 million people, New York City is experiencing both record population and economic vitality; but our success has put serious demands on our already crowded street network,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New Yorkers have been telling me loud and clear about the quality-of-life problems created by traffic where they live and work.  With a targeted effort to help clear travel lanes, delivery zones, intersections and highways, these initiatives will address these concerns head-on, using established and new tools that will keep our City moving, from midtown to all of our neighborhoods .”

These initiatives will encompass the work of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Police Department (NYPD), the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the Department of Finance (DOF) -- and will include five major elements:
1.   Clear Lanes:  Keeping Traffic Moving in Manhattans CBDs  
To address congestion in the core of Midtown, the City will create continuous curb moving lanes during busy times on 11 key crosstown streets. Deliveries will generally be permitted on one side of the street, while the other curb will be signed for no standing from 6 am to 7 pm.  To enforce these Clear Lanes, the NYPD will double the Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEAs) in the Midtown Manhattan Traffic Enforcement Task Force from 40 to 80 and increase uniform headcount by 110 officers. These officers will focus on moving and parking violations, double parking, and off-route trucks. The City will also expand its off-hour delivery program to assist businesses that are interested in shifting their deliveries to less busy times. Clear Lane streets will include:  

·         60th and 59th Sts. (Fifth to Second Ave.)
·         58th St. (Lexington to Second Ave.)
·         54th St. (Eighth to Third Ave.)
·         53rd St. (Ninth to Third Ave.)
·         50th and 49th Sts. (Ninth to Third Ave.)
·         47th and 46th Sts. (Ninth to Third Ave.)
·         37th and 36th Sts. (Sixth to Second Ave)

 To address congestion in Lower Manhattan, the City will expand its network of traffic cameras to better monitor traffic conditions and extend Midtown in Motion, NYC DOT’s signals-based congestion management system, to include Lower Manhattan. Finally, the City will reform its double parking and other curb regulation rules to make them easier to understand for drivers and easier to enforce.
2.  Clear Curbs: Testing Curb Access Restrictions  
In an effort to develop additional tools to manage traffic congestion, the City will test curb access restriction on two major commercial corridors and in a zone within Manhattan. The City will then monitor the impact of the pilot program and, if successful, expand the approach to additional corridors. For six months beginning in January 2018, the City will ban curbside loading on both sides of the street on the pilot corridors and within the pilot zone during peak hours (7 am-10 amand 4 pm-7 pm). Focusing on the morning and evening peak periods will preserve business viability while addressing the most severe congestion. The expeditious pick-up and drop-off of passengers would still be allowed, as would deliveries to off-street loading docks. This treatment will be implemented in:

· Manhattan (Midtown): the zone bounded by Sixth Ave. to the west, Madison Ave. to the East, 45th St. to the south and 50th St. to the north. 
· Queens (Jackson Hgts and Corona): Roosevelt Ave., Broadway to 108th St.
· Brooklyn (Downtown, Park Slope, Prospect Hgts): Flatbush Ave, Grand Army Plaza to Tillary St.

These corridors serve as important links in the regional road network, carry high volumes of traffic, and are subject to significant blockages by double parking and delivery activity. Additional NYPD staff will be assigned to the pilot locations to enforce the new restrictions and keep curbs clear. The City will collect data on traffic congestion, double parking, delivery activity, and curb regulation compliance before and after the six-month pilot period and report on the new program in the fall of 2018.  

3.  Clear Intersections: Expanding Block-the-Box Enforcement to Reduce Gridlock
Drivers who enter intersections without sufficient space on the other side “block-the box,” which can have cascading effects on traffic and create dangers to pedestrians who cannot cross streets safely.   The City will reinvigorate its efforts against block-the-box with focus at 50 key intersections citywide. NYC DOT will install special block-the-box markings and update signage to make drivers more aware of block-the-box restrictions, while the NYPD will increase enforcement at these locations to keep traffic moving. NYPD will hire an additional 50 uniformed officers to enforce block-the-box rules.

The City will target about 30 intersections in Manhattan and 20 intersections outside Manhattan, with a focus on major routes leading to river crossings, highway on-ramps, and commercial centers. A new public-awareness campaign will also target drivers.

4. Clear Zones: Reducing Congestion in Commercial Districts Outside Manhattan
The City will undertake a range of efforts to address congestion at hotspots outside Manhattan, including: 

· Downtown Flushing:DDC is reconstructing Main Street and expanding sidewalks to improve pedestrian, vehicle, and bus circulation. DOT is also implementing Flushing in Motion, a dynamic signal system based on Midtown in Motion, to better manage traffic. Flushing in Motion and the capital project will be completed by the end of 2017.

· North Shore of Staten Island:  In preparation for the opening of new developments --including the Empire Outlets next spring -- and the expected increase in traffic, DOT has developed a potential program of traffic management measures, including signal timing changes, street and intersection redesigns, bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements, and enhancements to Staten Island Ferry service.

· Hunts Point:  In conjunction with New York States plans to convert the Sheridan Expressway into an urban boulevard and add new highway ramps, DOT is updating truck routes to improve access to businesses and to reduce environmental and quality of life impacts on the local community. 

· Downtown Jamaica: In support of EDC’s Jamaica Now Action Plan, DOT is developing a congestion action plan for the downtown core as part of a larger Jamaica-area transportation study. Findings will be released in 2018. The plan will include recommendations for street redesigns to enhance safety and mobility, signal timing changes and one-way street conversions to promote traffic flow, and curb regulation changes to reduce congestion, among other efforts.

·  Address Other Outer Borough Congestion Hotspots:  In parallel with the above efforts, the DOT is buying citywide traffic data sets, both real-time and historical, that include information such as origin-destination, vehicle type, relative volume, travel times, trip length, speeds, and delay costs. DOT will use the data to evaluate congestion and to identify and evaluate, for example but not limited to, the most/least congested, slowest/fastest, unreliable/reliable locations citywide.

5. Clear Highways: Reducing Congestion on the Arterial Highway System 
The City will engage state and local elected officials with the goal of convening task forces to focus on persistent congestion on highways outside the City’s jurisdiction, starting with the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Staten Island Expressway (SIE)/Verrazano–Narrows Bridge/Gowanus Expressway corridor. These task forces will seek to work with partner agencies, including the MTA, NYS DOT, and the Port Authority, to improve highway operations and address choke points. The SIE and Cross Bronx task forces will be convened in the coming months. Moving forward, the City may convene similar groups to focus on additional highways, such as the LIE. 

“Mayor de Blasio is head-on tackling the complex issue of congestion, after showing leadership on so many other elements of transportation -- from the creation of a new ferry network to just two days ago, announcing an unprecedented commitment to improved bus service,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “No magic bullet can cure congestion challenges, but this toolbox of smart strategies in Clear Congestion will help keep people and goods moving safely and sustainably – and help our city grow. Our mobility is a key to helping us sustain the energy and dynamism that make New York City great.”

Saturday, October 21, 2017

10 Members Of Bronx Drug Trafficking Organization Charged With Distributing Thousands Of Pounds Of Marijuana Worth Over $22 Million

   Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James J. Hunt, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), James D. Robnett, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging HALLIL TABAR, ASMIN HERNANDEZ, JOHN MUNOZ-GARCIA, JAIRO CIENFUEGOS, WILLIAM BAEZ, HENRY RODRIGUEZ, DANNY HANNAH, JR., KEVIN UMEJEI, and STARLY HERNANDEZ with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and a Complaint charging LORNE VICTORIA with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and use of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Nine of the defendants were arrested yesterday and presented before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan federal court, and STARLY HERNANDEZ was arrested this morning and will be presented before Judge Netburn later today.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, these defendants conspired to ship millions of dollars’ worth of drugs across the country for eventual sale in New York City.  Searches of apartments where the defendants allegedly resided uncovered guns and ammunition, multiple kilograms of cocaine, hundreds of pounds of marijuana, and thousands of dollars in cash.  Drug trafficking organizations endanger public safety, and today’s multi-agency effort has successfully halted another such alleged organization.”
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said:  “Yesterday’s arrests were part of ‘Operation Green Giant’, a Strike Force investigation targeting an organization allegedly reaping millions off the sale of marijuana in New York City.  The alleged operation traversed the country with $22 million worth of marijuana sent to our city and the profit laundered back to California.  I commend the good work of the Strike Force, Southern District of New York and our law enforcement partners on these arrests and dismantlement.”
As alleged in the Indictment and Complaint unsealed yesterday and today in Manhattan federal court[1]:
The defendants are members of a Bronx-based large-scale drug trafficking organization (the “DTO”) that shipped hundreds of boxes containing thousands of pounds of marijuana from California to various locations in New York.  Between at least March 2016 and the present, the DTO trafficked in over 6,600 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $22 million, which was sent to residences and businesses in Manhattan, the Bronx, and New Rochelle.  After the drugs were shipped to New York, the defendants transferred multiple boxes of marijuana per week to several stash houses from which the DTO members further distributed the drugs to customers and dealers.    
In connection with yesterday’s arrests, law enforcement agents executed search warrants at 12 locations in the Bronx, including apartments occupied by several of the defendants.  During the execution of those search warrants, agents recovered, among other items, three handguns, one sawed-off shotgun, ammunition, multiple kilograms of cocaine, hundreds of pounds of marijuana, and thousands of dollars in cash.  DEA agents previously seized over $230,000 in cash from TABAR on October 14, 2017, at San Francisco International Airport.
Charts setting forth the names, ages, charges, residences, and maximum penalties for the defendants are set forth below.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, which comprises agents and officers of the DEA, the NYPD, HSI, the New York State Police, IRS-CI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, New York National Guard, the Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department, and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.  The Strike Force is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which is a federally funded crime fighting initiative and part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDTEF”) program.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine Geddes and Nicholas Folly are in charge of the prosecution.

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

United States v. Hallil Tabar et al. &
United States v. Lorne Victoria

Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics     21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(A) HALLIL TABAR,    JAIRO CIENFUEGOS,   WILLIAM BAEZ,   HENRY RODRIGUEZ,   DANNY HANNAH, JR.,  
Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison    
Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics   21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(B) ASMIN HERNANDEZ,  
Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison    
Use of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Trafficking   18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) LORNE VICTORIA     Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and Complaint, and the description of the Indictment and Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Eight Members And Associates Of The Mount Vernon Goonies Street Gang Charged In Federal Court With Racketeering, Narcotics, And Firearms Offenses

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Anthony A. Scarpino Jr., Westchester County District Attorney, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging MARKEL OVERTON, a/k/a “Kellz,” THOMAS BLANTON, a/k/a “LT,” MARQUIS COLLIER, a/k/a “Keise,” KADEEM DINHAM, a/k/a “Polo,” DONNIE DIXON, a/k/a “Scooter,” RAHEEM JONES, a/k/a “Rah Trigger,” a/k/a “Trigga,” JAMAAL SINCLAIR, a/k/a “Diggz,” and NOEL SMITH, a/k/a “Georgie,” with various crimes relating to racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses.  The defendants have been charged as a result of their membership in the “Goonies” street gang that operated in the City of Mount Vernon, New York. OVERTON was arrested on these charges yesterday. COLLIER and DIXON were arrested on these charges today. DINHAM, who was already in custody on state charges, was transferred to federal custody today; BLANTON, SINCLAIR, and SMITH, who were also already in custody on state charges, will be transferred to federal custody as soon as possible; and JONES was already in federal custody on related charges.  The defendants will be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Lisa M. Smith this afternoon in White Plains federal court.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, the eight members and associates of a violent Mount Vernon street gang charged today engaged in attempted murder, drug dealing and firearms offenses.  One of our most important missions, as federal prosecutors, is to investigate and prosecute street gangs that threaten our communities through violence and narcotics trafficking, as the Goonies allegedly did in Mount Vernon.”
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino Jr. said:  “This gang was allegedly engaged in serious criminal activity that included shooting incidents, armed robberies, gun possession and narcotics distribution.  We are pleased that this is now coming to an end.  I want to thank our partners at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District and the New York office of the FBI for their unstinting dedication and determination that led to this indictment and today’s arrests.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “As alleged, the motives of this gang were sinister and criminal, using violence and illegal drugs to intimidate the community.  The FBI Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force works diligently with our law enforcement partners every day to stop these gangs, and keep them from negatively impacting communities.”
According to the Indictment[1] unsealed today in White Plains federal court:
From 2007 to 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, OVERTON, BLANTON, DINHAM, DIXON, JONES, SINCLAIR, and SMITH were members or associates of a racketeering enterprise known as the “Goonies.”  In order to fund the enterprise, protect and expand its interests, and promote its standing, members and associates of the Goonies committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence, including attempted murder and robbery; they conspired to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute narcotics; and they obtained, possessed, and used firearms, including by brandishing and firing them.  BLANTON, COLLIER, DINHAM, DIXON, and JONES also conspired with one another, and certain other members of the Goonies, to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute crack cocaine and marijuana. 

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided in the attached table for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Kim thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives from the Yonkers Police Department, Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, Westchester County Police Department, Peekskill Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, New York City Police Department, and U.S. Probation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Anden F. Chow, Christopher J. Clore, Sarah Krissoff, Olga Zverovich, and Special Assistant United States Attorneys John O’Rourke and Lauren Abinanti 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.

United States v. Markel Overton, et al.

Count One
Racketeering Conspiracy

  a/k/a “Kellz”
  a/k/a “LT”
  a/k/a “Keise”
  a/k/a “Polo”
  a/k/a “Scooter”
  a/k/a “Rah Trigger”
  a/k/a “Trigga”
  a/k/a “Diggz”
  a/k/a “Georgie”
20 years in prison
Count Two
Firearms Offense


Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

Count Three
Firearms Offense
Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison
Count Four
Narcotics Conspiracy

Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces $120 Million Multi-State Settlement With General Motors Company Over Defective Ignition Switch

Agreement With 49 States And D.C. Requires GM To Complete All Applicable Recall Repairs And Not Misrepresent Vehicles As “Safe” Until They Comply With Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
New York State Will Receive $4.3 Million
 Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that 49 states and the District of Columbia have reached a $120 million settlement with General Motors Company (“GM”) over allegations that GM concealed safety issues related to ignition-switch-related defects in GM vehicles. GM agreed to pay the participating attorneys general a total of $120 million, including $4,331,339.27 to New York State.
The settlement concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer’s failure to disclose in a timely manner known safety defects associated with unintended key rotation-related and/or ignition switch-related issues in several models and model years of GM vehicles.
“Instead of prioritizing customers, General Motors turned a blind eye for years and chose to conceal the safety defects associated with several models of their vehicles,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “New Yorkers should not have to worry about their steering or brakes failing or their airbags not deploying when they get behind the wheel. Today's settlement ensures that drivers receive the transparency they deserve when they purchase a car.” 
In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to unintended key rotation-related and/or ignition switch-related issues, which have affected over 9 million vehicles in the U.S. The recalls involved a defective ignition switch which, under certain conditions, could move out of the “Run” position to the “Accessory” or “Off” position. If this occurs, the driver experiences a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes. If a collision occurs while the ignition switch is in the “Accessory” or “Off” position, the vehicle’s safety airbags may also fail to deploy, increasing the risk of serious injury or death in certain types of crashes in which the airbag was otherwise designed to deploy. The seven vehicle recalls impacted 25 different makes and models, which are listed in the complaint.
As the states alleged, certain employees of GM and General Motors Corporation (which went through bankruptcy in 2009) knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect because it could cause airbag non-deployment. However, despite this knowledge, GM personnel decided it wasn’t a safety concern and delayed making recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of its motor vehicles, which were equipped with this defective ignition switch.
The states alleged that these actions were unfair and deceptive and that the automaker’s actions violated state consumer protection laws, including New York’s § Executive Law 63(12) and General Business Law § § 349 and 350.
In addition to the monetary penalties, under a consent judgment that will be presented to the New York County Supreme Court, GM shall:
  • Not represent that a motor vehicle is “safe” unless they have complied with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards applicable to the motor vehicle at issue.
  • Not represent that certified pre-owned vehicles that GM advertises are safe, have been repaired for safety issues, or have been subject to rigorous inspection, unless such vehicles are not subject to any open recalls relating to safety or have been repaired pursuant to such a recall.
  • Instruct its dealers that all applicable recall repairs must be completed before any GM motor vehicle sold in the U.S. and included in a recall is eligible for certification and, if there is a recall on any certified pre-owned vehicle sold in the U.S., the required repair must be completed before the vehicle is delivered to a customer. 
In addition to New York, the multistate group – led by Ohio, South Carolina, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas – includes  Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Felony Conviction And $13 Million Settlement In Tax Fraud Investigation Of JFK Airport Food Companies

Whistleblower Exposed Express Hospitality Group’s Long-Running Tax Scheme
Resolution Marks First Settlement In Ongoing Investigation “Operation Greased Runway,” Examining Contracting Practices At JFK Airport
   Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the conviction of Yankee Clipper Food Services I Corporation on felony charges stemming from an extensive scheme to avoid paying New York taxes between 2011 and 2015. Following an investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office, the company, along with several individuals and affiliated airport food service companies doing business under the trade name “Express Hospitality Group,” agreed to pay $13 million to settle separately filed civil claims initially raised by a whistleblower under New York State’s False Claims Act. The plea and civil settlement are the first resolution in the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation into the contracting and procurement process at JFK Airport—an investigation dubbed “Operation Greased Runway.” 
“For years, Express Hospitality Group disregarded  state law and New York taxpayers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s felony conviction and settlement should send a clear message to those attempting to avoid paying their fair share: tax evasion is illegal, disgraceful — and it will not be tolerated.”
The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Express Hospitality Group engaged in schemes by which certain of its businesses intentionally underpaid over $5 million in taxes owed to New York and underpaid approximately $350,000 owed to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as part of a fee for operating at the airport. The investigation also uncovered that the company’s tax schemes involved maintaining a double set of books, collecting – but failing to remit – State and City sales tax, failing to withhold taxes on employee compensation, and underreporting receipts for corporate franchise tax purposes.   
Additionally, while not the subject of the conviction and settlement announced today, the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation also revealed that Express Hospitality Group had a longstanding history of making secret cash payments to an airport executive with significant influence over Express Hospitality’s ability to conduct and expand its business at JFK Airport. In return for these monthly cash payments, the airport executive allegedly facilitated deals that granted certain Express Hospitality businesses favorable treatment, offered new business opportunities to the company, and provided security passes to certain employees of Express Hospitality outside the normal process for obtaining airport security passes. 
Michael Nestor, Inspector General for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said, “Today’s announcement exposes an insidious pattern of corruption that allowed the defendants to freely and fraudulently siphon millions of dollars and defraud taxing authorities and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. My office will continue to work vigorously with the New York State Attorney General’s Office and its law enforcement partners to identify, investigate and prosecute such fraud.”
Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey investigated the claims of a whistleblower with credible information about Express Hospitality Group’s fraudulent and illegal business practices, and pursued them to resolution through the Taxpayer Protection Bureau and the Public Integrity Bureau.
Today, Yankee Clipper Food Services I Corporation pleaded guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a Class B felony, one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C felony, and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a Class E felony. The pleas were entered today in Queens Supreme Court.
Relevant corporate entities within the Express Hospitality umbrella include: (i) Yankee Clipper Food Services, Inc. and Yankee Clipper Food Services I Inc., which operate multiple Panini Express stores, two bars, and a mobile hot dog stand at JFK Airport; (ii) R&G Food Services, Inc., which operates the employee cafeteria at JFK Airport’s Terminal Five; and (iii) A&R Food Services, Inc., which operates employee cafeterias at JFK Airport’s Terminal One, and the American Airlines cafeteria, catering and vending machine businesses at LaGuardia Airport. Rocco Manniello and his son, Michele Manniello, owned and operated Express Hospitality during the relevant period. However, Rocco Manniello, who directed the fraudulent schemes, died before the completion of the investigation.
Attorney General Schneiderman expresses his thanks to the whistleblower, the whistleblower’s attorneys, the Office of the Inspector General of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—including Investigator Mia Chang, Supervising Forensic Investigator Fred Ferrone, Assistant Director of Investigations Salvatore Dalessandro, and Director of Investigations Steven Pasichow—and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for their assistance in bringing this case to resolution.