Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ROBERT SMUTEK was sentenced today to eight years in prison for selling 1,4 butanediol, an illegal analogue of the date rape drug gamma hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB. SMUTEK, a former police officer and resident of Sleepy Hollow, New York, sold 1,4 butanediol in a product called Potion 9 through his Internet website called Online Coral Calcium. SMUTEK was sentenced yesterday in White Plains federal court by the Honorable Kenneth M. Karas.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division (“DEA”), James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and Maria T. Vullo, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, announced the arrest of Dr. EMMANUEL LAMBRAKIS, a state licensed doctor who wrote thousands of medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone, totaling nearly 2.4 million pills, over a five-year period. LAMBRAKIS was arrested yesterday in connection with the charge and is expected to be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott later today.
A.G. Schneiderman And Comptroller Dinapoli Announce Conviction And Sentencing Of Florida Man For Theft Of Over $180K In NYS Pension Benefits
Robert Schusteritsch Stole Pension Benefits Intended For Deceased Brother For Over 7 Years; Impersonated Deceased Brother To Maintain Eligibility For Benefits
Schneiderman: Those Who Illegally Obtain Pension Funds Intended For Someone Else Do So At The Expense Of Hardworking New Yorkers
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today the conviction and sentencing of Robert J. Schusteritsch, 71, a resident of the State of Florida, for the crimes of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, and Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, in Albany County Court. Schusteritsch’s conviction comes after a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Comptroller, which revealed that Schustertisch stole over $180,000 in pension benefits issued by the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System to his deceased brother, Martin Petschauer, between July 2008 and September 2015. Schusteritsch was sentenced today to six months in jail and five years’ probation.
“Those who illegally obtain pension funds intended for someone else do so at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers who rely on their pension for a secure retirement,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Comptroller DiNapoli and I will continue our joint efforts to root out pension system theft and hold those responsible accountable.”
According to the Attorney General’s and Comptroller’s Office, Petschauer was a New York State pensioner who retired as Chief of the Pooling and Audit Review Section of the New York Metro Milk Marketing Area in approximately 1986. He passed away on July 9, 2008. At the time of Petschauer’s death, his pension benefits were being direct deposited into a bank account held in a trust for the benefit of Petschauer; Schusteritsch was the sole trustee for his brother and had exclusive access to the bank account.
"Today’s sentencing of Mr. Schusteritsch proves once again that stealing from New York State's pension system is risky business," said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "My office will continue to thwart pension thieves and protect our New York State & Local Retirement System in partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman."
When Petshauer died, Schusteritsch concealed his brother’s death from the bank and the Retirement System and kept the trust account open to maintain the direct deposits. He then routinely accessed the pension deposits and spent the money for his own benefit. All told, Schusteritsch stole over $180,000 in pension benefits until the Retirement System discovered Petschauer’s death in October 2015. Further, when the Retirement System learned of Petschauer’s death and stopped paying benefits into the trust account, Schusteritsch called the Retirement System’s call center on November 2, 2015, pretended he was Petschauer, and asserted that he was not actually dead, in an effort to maintain eligibility for the pension benefits.
This past summer, Schusteritsch was arrested in his home state of Florida and transported to Albany County, where he was arraigned on an indictment charging him with the crimes of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, and Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor. On September 16, 2016, Schusteritsch pleaded guilty before Hon. Peter A. Lynch, Albany County Court to the entire indictment.
Today, Schusteritsch was sentenced by the Hon. Peter A. Lynch to six months in jail and five years’ probation, and signed a confession of judgment in the amount of $180,140.45 in favor of the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System.
The case is the latest joint investigation under the Operation Integrity partnership of the Attorney General and Comptroller, which to date has resulted in dozens of convictions and more than $11 million in restitution.
Attorney General Schneiderman and Comptroller DiNapoli thanked the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office in Florida for their assistance.
The Comptroller’s investigation was handled by the Division of Investigations working with the New York State and Local retirement System.
A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Medrite Urgent Care And Carmel For Paying For Positive Reviews Online
Medrite Agrees To Pay $100,000 Penalty And Take Measures To Increase The Honesty And Transparency Of Its Online Reviews
Car Service Company Carmel Also Agrees To Pay $75,000 Penalty And Increase Transparency
Agreements Are A Continuation Of A.G. Schneiderman’s Groundbreaking “Operation Clean Turf” Investigation Into Reputation Management Industry, Astroturfing And False Endorsements
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with medical emergency care service MedRite Care, LLC, d/b/a Medrite Urgent Care (“Medrite”) for paying for positive reviews on consumer-review websites. Over a 2-year period, Medrite paid thousands of dollars to internet advertising companies and freelance writers to write positive reviews of Medrite on consumer-review websites such as Yelp.com. Medrite never required that the reviewers visit its facilities and experience its services, and never required the reviewers to disclose that they were paid for the review. Medrite must pay $100,000, $50,000 of which is suspended assuming compliance with the settlement agreement, due to the financial condition of the company.
Attorney General Schneiderman also reached a separate settlement with Baron T, Ltd, d/b/a Carmel Car & Limousine Service, Svc (“Carmel”), the car-ride service, resolving an investigation into the company’s practice of extending discounts to customers for positive reviews on consumer-review websites. Carmel incentivized customers to write positive reviews of its services on consumer-review platforms Yelp, Google, Google Play, and Apple’s iTunes by offering a $10 discount off rides. As part of the settlement, Carmel will take steps to help educate the Livery Community on false advertising and consumer reviews online.
“Honesty and transparency are the hallmarks of consumer protection -- especially when it involves medical services. Consumers shouldn’t be misled when it comes to making important determinations about their health and well-being. Our investigation into Medrite sends a strong message to companies that the rules preventing deceptive advertising and practices must be upheld online,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Those same rules also apply to other service industries, and I appreciate Carmel’s cooperation in this investigation. Their efforts to educate other companies about unlawful incentives in customer reviews will help create a more transparent industry.”
Medrite Urgent Care
MedRite is an emergent care service with three locations in New York City. It provides individualized adult and pediatric health care on a walk-in basis. Samuel Fisch is the Chief Executive Officer of Medrite.
MedRite paid internet advertising companies thousands of dollars for reviews on several different consumer-review websites. For example, in September, 2012, Medrite paid an internet advertising company $375 to post 15 positive reviews on Yelp.com, CitySearch, Yahoo Local Page, and Google Plus. Medrite also hired several free-lance writers through the Internet, including with job postings on Craigslist.com, to write positive reviews for $10 to $15 per review. One writer responded to Medrite’s listing for Yelp reviews, “Send me your business name and I will give you a good review. I have been on yelp for 4 years and have more than 160 reviews already.” Another writer responded, “Hello I saw your ad on craiglist and I would like to post a positive 5 star review for your business… .”
In early 2014, Yelp discovered that Medrite was sending email messages to people on Yelp through their Yelp accounts to write positive reviews for Medrite. In particular, Medrite sent the following email to members of Yelp, “I see you are yelping a lot. I own a company in nyc and would like to get more reviews… would you come checkout our company and write a review? (will pay).”
In March, 2014, Yelp posted the following “Consumer Alert” on Medrite’s Yelp profile for 90 days which alerted consumers to its findings that Medrite was paying for reviews:
New York’s Executive Law§ 63(12) and General Business Law §§ 349 and 350 prohibit misrepresentation and deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any business. Similarly, the Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” 16 CFR Part 255 (the “FTC Endorsement Guidelines”) provides that it is a deceptive practice to provide an endorsement for a product or service that fails to disclose material connections between the endorser and the sponsoring advertiser. Medrite never required that the reviewers visit its facilities and experience its services, and never required the reviewers to disclose that they were paid for the review. Pursuant to the settlement, Medrite is prohibited from misrepresenting that an endorser is an independent user of the product or service being promoted. Medrite is also prohibited from compensating a reviewer who has not made the required disclosures.
Carmel is a well-known car service based in New York City. The investigation into Carmel found that between May 5, 2016 and July 27, 2016, the company sent 161,000 email messages to Carmel customers requesting feedback regarding their recent ride with Carmel. Customers were asked to evaluate Carmel services by clicking “Perfect” or “Good,” listed with an opportunity for ten dollars ($10) discount off the next ride, or “Bad,” which did not offer any discount. Upon clicking the “Perfect” and “Good” links, the customer was directed to a consumer-review website such as Yelp.com and provided a $10 discount off their next ride upon confirmation of the review. If a customer clicked on the “Bad” button, he or she was directed to a web portal at Carmel with the opportunity to leave feedback. However, in this case, they were not directed or otherwise told to post the review on a consumer-review website and were not offered a discount or any other form of compensation.
Paying for a positive review without disclosing the payment would lead a reasonable consumer to believe that the review was a neutral, third-party review. Incentivizing customers to provide favorable reviews without disclosing such payments is a form of false advertising and a deceptive trade practice, and it violates New York Executive Law § 63(12), New York General Business Law §§ 349 and 350, as well as the FTC Endorsement Guidelines.
Carmel cooperated in the investigation, and pursuant to the settlement, Carmel also has agreed to educate the for-hire car transportation industry on false advertising law and online consumer reviews, including without limitation, the FTC Endorsement Guidelines. Among other things, Carmel will communicate with members of the for-hire car transportation industry by email and newsletter, take out one full-page advertisement in the livery industry’s trade newspapers, and conduct educational seminars.
Ensuring honesty on the Internet is of paramount importance to consumers because of the effect that online reviews can have in influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions. According to one survey, 90% of consumers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions. Multiple studies have concluded that online reviews can make or break companies. A 2015 Nielsen Study reveals that 66% of the global consumers trust consumer opinions posted online, making it the third-most-trusted source of information about businesses after word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family. A highly-cited Harvard Business School study from 2011 estimated that a one-star rating increase on Yelp translated to an increase of 5% to 9% in revenues for a restaurant. Cornell researchers have found that a one-star swing in a hotel's online ratings at sites like Travelocity and TripAdvisor is tied to an 11% sway in room rates, on average.
These settlements announced today are continuation of Attorney General Schneiderman’s commitment to ensuring accurate and reliable consumer reviews. In September, 2013, AG Schneiderman announced “Operation Clean Turf,” the largest investigation into astroturfing by a law enforcement agency, resulting in settlements with 19 companies that paid over $350,000 in penalties. After an extensive undercover investigation into the reputation management industry, the office found that companies had flooded the Internet with fake consumer reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch; used techniques to hide their identities, such as creating fake online profiles on consumer review websites; and paid freelance writers from as far away as the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe $1 to $10 per review. In addition, in February 2016, the office announced settlements with four other companies including Machinima, Inc., regarding either the payment for positive reviews that were either fake or did not disclose the compensation.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Beverly Tillery and Beverly Cooper Neufeld to the Commission on Gender Equity, the advisory body that works across City Agencies to help achieve the Mayor’s commitment to reduce gender-based inequity and build a safer, more inclusive and economically mobile city for women and girls. Tillery and Neufeld have strong track records advocating for the end of various forms of violence and empowering women and the LGBTQ community.
“New York City is built on the ideals that every single person, regardless of gender, should be given the tools necessary to succeed. This commission plays a key role in this pursuit, working to bring together all New Yorkers and to ensure that everyone in this city has the means to move up the economic ladder and reach their aspirations,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Both Beverly Tillery and Beverly Cooper Neufeld have a proven track record standing up for women and the LGBTQ community, making them great additions to this commission as we look to create a fairer and equitable city for all New Yorkers.”
“We are working hard to improve gender equity in New York City. Although we have made some progress, there is much more to do,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, co-chair of the Commission on Gender Equity. “The two women appointed to the Commission on Gender Equity today have spent their lives standing up for women, girls and the LGBTQ community. They will not stop fighting until every woman is paid fairly for her work; every transgender person feels safe living as their authentic selves, and women have full representation at every table and in every hall of power. New York City won’t stop fighting either. I look forward to working with these two fierce leaders as we continue marching toward equity in New York City for all.”
About Beverly Tillery:
Beverly Tillery is the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), an organization that works to address and end all forms of violence through organizing and education and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. She is an experienced leader, advocate and national organizer with nearly three decades of experience working in social justice movements. Most recently, she was a Deputy Director of Education and Public Affairs at Lambda Legal, an organization dedicated to achieving full recognition of the rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. There, she led national educational and advocacy campaigns and community-based research projects aimed at changing policies as well as hearts and minds. Prior to Lambda Legal, she worked as an organizer, popular educator, strategist and staff leader at organizations such as Amnesty International, Service Employees International Union and ACORN.
About Beverly Neufeld:
To address the slow advancement of women's economic issues, Beverly Neufeld envisioned and launched in 2014 PowHer New York, a community working across typical barriers to connect organizations and issues, energize a movement and accelerate progress. Neufeld also leads a decade long campaign for pay equity reform, now a signature project of PowHer New York, which influenced the passage of the NYS Equal Pay Act and the Women's Equality Act. In 2016, working with 2020 Women on Boards and Catalyst, she rallied passage of a NYC Board Diversity Law for contractors and is pursuing similar state legislation. In September 2016, “PowHer The Vote" was launched under Neufeld’s leadership along with the support of over 100 groups. “PowHer The Vote” is a 10-week interactive program and social media campaign aimed at igniting and empowering a state-wide legion of activists to champion women's issues during the 2016 election season and beyond. A member of the national Paycheck Fairness Taskforce and the steering committee of the 850-member NYS Women's Equality Coalition, Neufeld is working on the federal, state and local fronts.
Previously, as President of the New York Women's Agenda, Neufeld invigorated the 20-year old institution with innovative programming, including the New York Women's Business Principles Initiative. As Executive Director of The White House Project, she oversaw research on women's leadership, and helped develop SheSource and "Vote, Run, Lead." Beverly was Finance Director for Congresswoman Nita Lowey. Her board service includes 2020 Women on Boards, Free the Children, Sing for Hope, Women's Campaign Forum and Westchester Children's Association.
Join NYC Health + Hospitals for a community conversation around the future of health care in our city.
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Location: CB 12 Office
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Friday, December 2, 2016
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Bronx, NY 10461
For more information, contact Lilyanna Pekic at (718) 655-5000
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A.G. Schneiderman And DEC Commissioner Seggos Announce Conviction Of Local Business Owner For Discharging Polluted Water Into Creek
Michael Jones And His Company, Coast Transportation And Recycling, LLC, Plead Guilty To Environmental Law Crimes; Will Pay $87,500 In Fines
Schneiderman: Those Who Jeopardize The Safety Of New York’s Vital Waterways Will Be Held Accountable
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the conviction of Michael Jones, 44, of Skaneateles, and his company, Coast Transportation and Recycling, LLC (Coast), for environmental law crimes related to discharging polluted water into Ley Creek and failing to obtain appropriate state regulatory permits.
Today, before the Honorable Anthony F. Aloi, Coast pleaded guilty to one count of Environmental Conservation Law Section 71-1933(3)(a)(i), a Class E felony, for knowingly discharging pollutants without first obtaining a New York State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Permit. Jones pleaded guilty to two counts of Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Section 71-2711(3) and one count of ECL Section 71-2703(2)(c)(i), Class A misdemeanors, for illegally discharging liquid containing hazardous substances and for storing petroleum-contaminated soil on the Coast property.
“We will continue working to safeguard New York’s vital waterways from harmful pollution,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Guarding our state’s natural resources is critical to protecting both the health of New Yorkers and local economies, and those who jeopardize this will pay the price.”
Today’s convictions are the result of an investigation conducted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
“As this defendant showed a callous disregard for the health and safety of Ley Creek and it’s residents, this conviction sends a strong and clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated in New York State,” said DEC Commissioner Seggos. “I applaud the work of our Environmental Conservation Officers and the Attorney General’s office in pursuing this case and ensuring that the state's laws are enforced and our environment is protected.”
In July 2016, an Onondaga County Grand Jury charged Jones and Coast, an automobile salvage and scrap recycling facility located at 15 Dippold Avenue in the Town of Salina, in a 10-count indictment with violations of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.
According to court filings and statements made by the prosecutor, DEC’s investigation revealed that in February 2010, two underground storage tanks were removed from the Coast facility. These tanks, which contained fuel oil, had leaked and contaminated the surrounding soil. More than 500 tons of petroleum contaminated soil (“PCS”) was ultimately excavated from the areas surrounding the underground storage tanks and stored on Coast’s property. The PCS was not removed from the Coast facility until October 2014, and neither Coast nor Jones ever applied for or obtained the necessary permit. The ECL and DEC regulations allow the temporary storage of PCS on site, but only for a period of 60 days. Storage of PCS for longer than 60 days constitutes the operation of a solid waste management facility and requires a permit issued by DEC. Solid waste management facilities are subject to strict operational and closure requirements to avoid the adverse impacts to public health and the environment associated with solid waste.
Also according to statements made by the prosecutor, DEC’s investigation further revealed that on May 15 and 19, 2011, liquid runoff from the soil pile flowed across the Coast property and into a storm water drain on Dippold Avenue, which ultimately discharged into a tributary of Ley Creek. Laboratory testing by DEC revealed that the liquid flowing into the storm water drain contained the hazardous substances benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene, and xylene.
Additionally, on September 18, 2012, Jones directed a Coast employee to set up and operate an electric pump to discharge storm water that had accumulated in the Coast parking lot into another storm water drain, which also ultimately discharged into a tributary of Ley Creek. Laboratory testing by DEC revealed that this storm water contained motor oil. Jones and Coast discharged the oil laden storm water without having obtained a SPDES permit or having a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan in place, both of which are required by the ECL.
The DEC previously filed an administrative enforcement proceeding against both Jones and Coast in June 2011, related to improper dismantling of vehicles at the yard. An Administrative Law Judge found that both Jones and Coast had failed to conduct proper “fluid draining, removal and collection activities” at the Coast facility and had intentionally released fluids and discharged “petroleum onto the ground at the facility.” Jones and Coast were assessed a civil penalty of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000).
Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on January 24, 2017. Coast will be sentenced to an unconditional discharge; Jones will be sentenced to three years’ probation and will pay a fine of $87,500.
The Attorney General thanks the DEC for their assistance in this investigation.
Also assisting in the investigation was Investigator Joel Cordone, Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle and Deputy Chief Investigator Antoine Karam. The Attorney General’s Investigations Division is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Tarkowski with the assistance of Assistant Attorney General Hugh L. McLean of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton.
If you witness an environmental crime, contact the NYSDEC 24-hour Poacher and Polluter hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).
A.G. Schneiderman Announces Indictment And Arraignment Of Clinic Operator For Allegedly Defrauding Medicaid By Offering Bogus Substance Abuse Treatment
Natalia Dochim Allegedly Induced Patients Into Fake Substance Abuse Treatment, Then Pocketed Millions Of Dollars
Schneiderman: We Will Continue To Root Those Who Prey On New Yorkers In Need Of Substance Abuse And Addiction Treatment
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the indictment and arraignment of Natalia Dochim, 39, of Nyack, New York, and corporate entities Miromedical P.C. (“Miromedical”) and Ferrara Medical Care, P.C. (“Ferrara”), on charges of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Health Care Fraud in the Second Degree, Money Laundering in the Second Degree, and Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree. Prosecutors allege that Dochim, Miromedical, and Ferrara submitted claims for reimbursement for substance abuse treatment services to Medicaid and to MetroPlus, a state-funded managed care organization (“MCO”), when they were not certified to provide such services and for medical services allegedly rendered to MFCU undercover investigators that never occurred.
“The opioid epidemic should not serve as an excuse for unscrupulous individuals to illegally line their own pockets,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Medicaid is intended to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens, and we will continue to root out those who prey on New Yorkers in need of substance abuse and addiction treatment.”
Prosecutors allege that Dochim, aided by co-conspirators in her scheme, lured Medicaid patients to Miromedical and Ferrara by paying kickbacks and offering prescriptions of Suboxone, a narcotic drug used to treat opioid addiction. Once recruited, patients at Miromedical and Ferrara, prosecutors allege, encountered the façade of a substance abuse treatment program. Medically appropriate and necessary medical histories were not always obtained, physicals were not taken, initial counseling did not occur, and there was a complete lack of appropriate follow-up and monitoring. Consequently, all patients were treated the same; mandated to enroll in one particular MCO (MetroPlus), sent to a purported “detox” program, and prescribed Suboxone at the maximum dosage in lieu of legitimate substance abuse treatment. If actually provided, prosecutors allege, the so-called “detox” treatment that patients were required to obtain was, according to the claims submitted by Miromedical and Ferrara, merely vitamin injections, which is not an approved treatment for opioid addiction.
Thereafter, prosecutors charge, Dochim, through Miromedical and Ferrara, submitted claims to MCOs and to Medicaid that bore little to no resemblance to the medical services actually rendered. Prosecutors allege services such as spirometry, a pulmonary function test, and allergy testing, were routinely billed but never provided. Patient “recruiters” working inside Miromedical and Ferrara, it is alleged, also openly offered to buy back patient’s Suboxone prescriptions for cash.
Relying on the accuracy of substance abuse treatment claims submitted by Dochim, prosecutors allege that MetroPlus paid over $2.3 million and that Medicaid paid over $330,000 to Dochim, Miromedical and Ferrara, funds to which they were not entitled and which Dochim is alleged to have then laundered through various shell companies.
Bronx County Supreme Court Justice William Mogulescu arraigned Dochim, Miromedical and Ferrara Medical Care on the charges and adjourned the matter to December 9. If convicted, the defendant faces up to twenty-five years in prison.
Bail was set at $250,000 bond over $100,000 cash, with a condition that the defendant must wear an ankle monitoring bracelet should she make bail.
The Attorney General previously obtained an order freezing the bank accounts and other property held by the defendants and attaching up to $7,743,013.71 of those assets. The Attorney General also obtained a temporary restraining order preventing dissipation or transfer of the property controlled by the defendants.
The Attorney General would like to thank the New York City Human Resources Administration (“HRA”), notably the work of HRA’s Medicaid Provider Investigations and Audit Unit, and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services for their partnership and valuable assistance throughout the investigation. In addition, the Attorney General thanks the United States Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General and the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, MFCU’s partners in combatting fraud against the Medicaid program. The Attorney General also thanks MetroPlus and Healthfirst for their cooperation in this investigation.
The investigation was led by Senior Investigator Albert Maiorano and Investigators David Ryan and Julie Clancy with the assistance of Supervising Investigators Dominick DiGennaro and Michael Casado under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator Kenneth Morgan. Audit support was provided by Principal Auditor-Investigator Patricia Iemma and Auditor-Investigator Coleman Williams under the supervision of MFCU NYC Chief Auditor Thomasina Smith. Investigative support was provided by Confidential Legal Analyst Nicole Maher.
The criminal case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Erin Kelsh and David Arias with the assistance of MFCU NYC Regional Director Christopher M. Shaw. Thomas O’Hanlon is MFCU’s Chief of Criminal Investigations-Downstate. The civil case is being handled by Special Assistant Attorneys General David Abrams, Gerri Gold and Elizabeth Silverman with the assistance of MFCU Civil Enforcement Chief Carolyn Ellis. MFCU is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney.
The charges filed in this case are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
A.G. Schneiderman Announces Indictment Of Former Village Justice For Allegedly Using His Position As Judge To Reduce Fines In Exchange For Sexual Favors
Delmar House Allegedly Reduced Fine For Defendant In Exchange for Sexual Favors While Serving As Justice For Village Of West Carthage
Schneiderman: Court Officials Who Exploit Position Will be Held Accountable
WATERTOWN – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the indictment of Delmar House, the former Village Justice for the Village of West Carthage Court in Jefferson County, charging him with one felony count of Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree and one felony count of Receiving a Reward for Official Misconduct in the Second Degree.
House was the Village Justice for the Village of West Carthage Court from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2015. He is charged with using his position as a judge during that time period to reduce a fine for a defendant who appeared before him, in exchange for sexual favors from that defendant.
“Any court official who exploits their position to elicit sexual favors shows blatant disregard for the wellbeing of their victim, the trust of the public, and for the judicial system as a whole,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will keep working to root out public corruption and hold those responsible accountable.”
According to filed documents and statements made in court today, in or about April 2015, House, 49, of Carthage, agreed to and did reduce the fine for a defendant appearing before him in the Village of West Carthage Court for Vehicle and Traffic Law offenses, in exchange for sexual favors from that defendant. In addition, according to documents filed in court and statements made in court today, House paid a portion of that defendant’s fines in exchange for additional sexual favors. The defendant faces up to seven years in state prison if convicted. He was arraigned today before the Honorable Kim H. Martusewicz in Jefferson County Court. The defendant pled not guilty and was released on pre-trial release and will be back in court on January 17, 2017 for a court conference.
The charges against the defendant are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Attorney General thanks the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Police Investigator Joseph Maurer and the New York State Police for their work on this matter.
BRONX MAN CONVICTED OF MURDER IN 2013 SHOOTING Defendant Also Convicted Of Gun Charge: Distinctive Tattoo On His Arm Holding Murder Weapon In Photo On Facebook
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a 21-year-old Bronx man has been convicted by a jury of the top charge of second-degree Murder in the 2013 shooting of a 19-year-old man in the Tremont section of the Bronx. He was also convicted of gun possession based on a photograph of him holding the murder weapon posted on Facebook.
District Attorney Clark said, “A Bronx jury has convicted this defendant of shooting a young man during a dispute. They also found him guilty of the gun charge, after being presented with a photo he posted on Facebook of him holding the weapon. This sends a message to those who espouse the culture of guns and violence that it is not tolerated in the Bronx.”
District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Jesswill Perez, 21, of 67 West 175th Street, was convicted today after a four-week trial before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Iacovetta of second-degree Murder and second-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon with Intent to Use. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 15, 2016.
According to trial testimony, at 7:30 p.m. on December 20, 2013, in front of a bank branch at 795 East Tremont Ave., Perez argued with Edwin Molina, 19, whom he knew. Perez pulled a .25-caliber pistol and shot Molina three times. Perez was arrested February 8, 2014 with the murder weapon and a 9-mm pistol in his possession. The firearms were suppressed at a pre-trial hearing but a Facebook photograph of Perez’ arm--with an ornate tattoo reading “Money Power Respect,” the hand holding the .25-caliber pistol--was entered into evidence.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Kalman and Masateru Marubashi, under the supervision of Christine Scaccia, Deputy Chief of the Homicide Bureau, and the overall supervision of Nicole Keary, Deputy Chief of the Trial Division and Jeremy Shockett, Chief of the Trial Division. District Attorney Clark also thanked 48th Precinct Detective Carlos Mena.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Bronx Man Pleads Guilty To Sex Trafficking Of Minors, Possession Of Child Pornography, And Gun Possession
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that DAVID HOPE, a/k/a “Capo,” pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein to his involvement in the sex trafficking of minor girls, possession of child pornography, and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Christina Scaringi, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), today announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging five defendants with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud in connection with a debt-elimination scheme to defraud homeowners and banks.