Saturday, May 20, 2017

BJCC Breakfast for Champions 2017






This event serves as an important fundraiser for BJCC. It allows us to continue doing the work we do in our community. Tickets and journal ads can be purchased at our NY Charities Page. We look forward to seeing you on June 14!

Visit our Website: http://www.bjcconline.org/ and  Like us on Facebook Image result for facebook 
Bronx Jewish Community Council, 
2930 Wallace Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467

DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION AND CITIZENS COMMITTEE CELEBRATE THE 2017 LOVE YOUR BLOCK SEASON WITH THE COLLEGE AVENUE BLOCK ASSOCIATION


Love Your Block, a grant program offered by NYC Service in partnership with Citizens Committee for New York City, awards 25 $1,000 cash grants to resident-led community groups in all five boroughs and links them to City Services to transform a public space in their neighborhood; 2017 grant recipients were announced in December 2016

  The de Blasio Administration and Citizens Committee of NYC are celebrating the 2017 Love Your Block season in the Bronx today, highlighting first-time Love Your BlockAwardee, College Avenue Block Association as they revitalize a transformed garden lot adjacent to 487 College Avenue.

Today’s event is one of 25 resident-led volunteer projects in 20 communities across the five boroughs taking place this spring and summer. Through the support of the 2017 Love Your Block grant award – which includes a $1,000 cash grant, project planning assistance, and City services from the Departments of Parks, Transportation, Environmental Protection, and Sanitation – these 25 community-led groups are empowered to enhance and beautify public spaces in their neighborhoods.

“I want to recognize the College Avenue Block Association in the Bronx as well as all of the recipients of the 2017 Love Your Block awards and thank them for engaging residents to create change in our communities,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are beautifying our City while deepening our relationships with communities across the five boroughs and empowering residents with the tools to organize and engage others in their neighborhood to revitalize public spaces. I want to thank NYC Service, Citizens Committee for New York City, and our City agencies for partnering with residents to encourage civic engagement and make City services more accessible to all New Yorkers.”

Love Your Block is about connecting NYC residents to resources as they work together to strengthen our City at the neighborhood level,” said New York City Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin. “We are thrilled to catalyze a spirit of volunteerism throughout the City by partnering with residents to improve our communities one block at a time and we are proud to recognize and support College Avenue Block Association for their leadership. We thank Citizens Committee and our City agency partners for their continued partnership as well as Citi and the New York Community Trust for their support of this important community initiative.” 

“Block associations just like the College Avenue Block Association here in Melrose as well as so many others across the country are the building blocks of good neighborhoods, turning neighbors into friends and bringing people of every kind together,” said Peter H. Kostmayer,CEO of Citizen’s Committee for NYC. “College Avenue Block Association and the great Bronxites who have brought us together today have our thanks and congratulations.”

“There are so many reasons to be proud of being a New Yorker,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Today’s recipients of the Love Your Block Award embody that pride with their passion and commitment to improving our neighborhoods. The Assembly proudly supports these individuals and their efforts to improve our communities, which is why we have dedicated $375,000 to help continue this mission. Together with NYC Service and Citizens Committee, these recipients are giving New Yorkers yet another reason to be proud to call New York City home.”

College Avenue Block Association works to increase neighborhood green spaces by transforming abandoned lots and community spaces into gardens in an effort to improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents. Today’s project includes reseeding the lawn, organizing donated compost, painting garden beds, and planting flowers.

College Avenue Block Association joins more than 270 resident-led community groups across the City awarded Love Your Block grants over the last nine years. Since 2009, $295,000 in cash grants have been awarded, over 900 City services provided, and nearly 10,000 community volunteers have been engaged in beautification projects across all five boroughs.

“Within the past year, the once empty lot on College Ave has been transformed into the beautiful College Ave Garden of Hope that it is today,” said Wanda Swinney, President of College Avenue Block Association. “The garden is not just about planting seeds in the ground, it’s about the relationships and connections created in the community. The beauty is about bringing people together through educational programs and job training in the new College Ave Garden of Hope. It’s also to develop awareness, motivation, and encouragement because it takes a community to raise a child. This spring, everyone in the community will take part of the Love Your Block Day. We are truly grateful to Citizens Committee of New York City and NYC Service for awarding the College Ave Block Association its first-ever Love Your Block grant.”

Love Your Block follows the model of a national program offered by Cities of Service and is made possible through the generous support of Citi and the New York Community Trust. The goal of Love Your Block is to engage communities in neighborhood revitalization efforts benefiting low-income areas. Approximately 84 percent of the 2017 Love Your Block award recipients (21 out of 25) are based in neighborhoods below NYC’s median household income of $55,752.

In addition to financial support and connection to City services, grantees participate in workshops detailing the basics of community organizing, navigating City government, grassroots fundraising, and media tools. As a result, these organizations are more sustainable and better equipped to access City resources moving forward.

About NYC Service 
NYC Service, a division of the Office of the Mayor, promotes volunteerism, engages New Yorkers in service, builds volunteer capacity and mobilizes the power of volunteers and national service members to impact New York City's greatest needs. To learn more about NYC Service and connect to volunteer opportunities across New York City, visit nyc.gov/service.


About Citizens Committee for New York City
Citizens Committee for New York City’s mission is simple: to help New Yorkers – especially those in low-income areas – come together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Residents are uniquely situated to define and act on the issues affecting their communities. When provided with modest support, neighborhood and school groups can effectively mobilize community resources to improve quality of life.  Citizens Committee for New York City supports these grassroots efforts by offering grants, skills-building workshops and further technical support in the form of project planning assistance and an equipment share library. In 2016, we provided 421 projects with $1.6 million in grants and services, and our staff facilitated 30 workshops to over 500 social entrepreneurs. Since 1975, we have promoted the spirit of volunteerism, local engagement and social justice that drives our work. Visit us online at citizensnyc.org

BP DIAZ HOSTS BRONX WEEK HEALTH DAY & STICKBALL CHALLENGE


  As part of Bronx Week 2017 Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the annual #not62 Bronx Week Health Day, a day of celebrating physical activity and wellness. #NOT62is a  Campaign for a Healthier Bronx. The event took place at Joyce Kilmer Park 161st Street opposite the Bronc County Building

  There was also a non-partisan test of skill in the ancient New York City art of stickball. This took place on the service road of the Grand Concourse, and elected officials from other boroughs invited, photos are below.


Above - A dance contest went on with Grand Master Ruben doing the rapping.
Below - BP Diaz talks to the finalist of the dance contest, all of whom were winners.




Above and Below - After the dance contest it was Yoda class as BP Diaz showed off his ability to keep up with Bronx kids.




There was jump rope above, and then it was on to the stickball competition between the elected officials.
Councilman and City Council Parks Chair Mark Levine gets ready to hit the ball.




Above - State Senator Jamaal Bailey forgot he was in the shadows of Yankee Stadium as you see that he is wearing a Mets hat.
Below - Some of the elected officials provided a nice breeze as they whiffed on their swings. You can see Assemblyman Victor Pichardo swings, and looks where the ball went only to find out it is still in front of him.




Above - Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo looks to be in trouble by his swing. Nope he did not hit the broadside of the #2 bus going by in the background. 
Below - Mr. John Desio of the BP's staff warms up the plate as he watches one of his hits go far down the Concourse.




Above - Up to this point Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez had the longest hit as 225 feet. BP Diaz sends this ball 230 feet for the longest hit of the day.
Below - There were several women hitting the ball, but Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark (under the watch of her security detail) sent one for 100 feet.



REVISED CB 8 Traffic & Transportation agenda Thursday, May 25


Please note that this is a revised Traffic & Transportation Committee agenda. Agenda items number 2 and 3 have been added.


REVISED*


NOTICE OF MEETING
TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

DATE:             Thursday, May 25, 2017 (Please Note Day)

TIME:              7:30 PM

PLACE:           Park Gardens
                        6585 Broadway - First Floor - One floor up from the Lobby level 


PUBLIC HEARING
7:30PM


NYCDOT proposal to narrow the width of Broadway along Van Cortlandt Park to create a
two-way protected bike lane with bus boarding islands from West 246th Street to the city line. In addition, DOT proposes changes to the intersection at Broadway and Mosholu Avenue and changes to Broadway at West 242nd Street to install a 100 Foot bus bulb and narrow the entrance of the service lane at West 242nd Street and Broadway.   

ANYONE WISHING TO SPEAK MAY SIGN UP
by calling the Board Office at 718-884-3959 or emailing bx08@cb.nyc.gov
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Committee meeting following the Public Hearing

AGENDA
                                                 
1.     NYCDOT Proposal for the Broadway Corridor pursuant to the Public Hearing

2.     *Discussion among committee members to ask DOT to install sidewalks on West 254 Street between Riverdale Avenue and Palisade Avenue

3.     *Reconstruction of sidewalk at West 235th Street and Independence Avenue.

4.     Cayuga Avenue Block Party with full street closure on June 24, 2017, to be held on Cayuga Avenue between West 246th Street and dead end. This event has been held previously.

5.     Safety Awareness Day - Block Party - with full street closure on October 22, 2017, to be held on West 237 Street between Independence Avenue and Henry Hudson Parkway. This event has been held previously.

6.     Truffa Pizzeria application for an unenclosed sidewalk cafĂ© – 3535 Riverdale Avenue

7.     Review of Minutes 

8.     Old and New Business

Bronx Community Board No. 8
5676 Riverdale Avenue, Suite 100
Bronx, NY 10471-2194
Tel: 718-884-3959  Fax: 718-796-2763

Visit us on the web: www.nyc.gov/bronxcb8

Van Cortlandt bird walks



VAN CORTLANDT BIRD WALKS, THE BRONX

Saturdays, May 6-July 298-9:30am

Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy

Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, Contact Joseph A. McManus at mcmanus638@aol.com. No registration necessary. No limit. 
Free, Provided by a grant from Councilman Andrew Cohen.


Pedestrian Safety Enhancements Needed After Deadly Times Square Attack


TIMES SQUARE ATTACK SHOWS MAJOR NEED FOR PEDESTRIAN SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS ON PEDESTRIAN-FILLED CORRIDORS, PLAZAS 


Council Transportation Chair Rodriguez, NYS Senator Hoylman & Trans Alt's Paul Steely White Call for Pedestrian Safety Enhancements Along Corridors Vulnerable to Attacks Like Times Square Driver

The deadly attack in Times Square yesterday, which took the life of an 18-year old young woman and injured over 20 more, exposed a glaring safety gap in the heart of New York City. Today, Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez was joined NYS Senator Brad Hoylman and Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White to propose enhancements to pedestrian safety in Times Square and other areas with high numbers of pedestrians.

Council Member Rodriguez announced that he is working on introducing legislation in the near future to require metal bollards along heavily trafficked sidewalks. These bollards are apparently what stopped the car driven by Mr. Rojas in Times Square, likely saving countless lives. New metal bollards would aim to protect soft spots in our city where a reckless, drunk or terrorist driver could take many lives today.

Council Member Rodriguez discussed the possibility of placing such bollards at other locations including in front of schools and along the most dangerous corridors in the city, where crashes occur with the greatest frequency. 

"Be it a terrorist, a reckless or drunk driver or even someone who loses control at the wrong moment, many of our sidewalks remain terribly vulnerable to the type of tragedy we witnessed in Times Square yesterday," said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "While we have taken great strides toward a more walkable city, the truth remains that even on sidewalks, pedestrians are vulnerable to being killed by a vehicle. To save more lives on our streets, we need to enhance safety measures that have already proven successful, such as the metal bollards that likely saved lives yesterday. I agree with Paul White of Trans Alt that this was no accident and to call it such removes the necessary accountability we must face as a city. We can and should do more to keep our residents and visitors safe on our streets and street design is the first place to start."

Council Member Rodriguez and Trans Alt's Paul White also called for the consideration of a Car-Free Times Square in the future, as so much has already been done to turn this treasured space into a pedestrian oasis in the heart of Manhattan. On April 22nd, this space was included as part of Car Free Day and was fully pedestrianized along Broadway to the delight of thousands. As the city works to create more open space, this area remains one that stands to benefit most.

EDITOR'S NOTE:

We can not understand this grandstanding by Councilman Rodriguez and Transportation Alternatives after this tragedy. This was a terrible incident, and we should do away with all elected officials then since several (much more than one incident) have gone to jail for corruption.

We will have to look at Councilman Rodriguez's Campaign Financial Statements to see if and just how much contributions to it came from people associated with Transportation Alternatives.    

Bronx Council for Environmental Quality - ALERT: 5/22 Pier 5 Tour of Mill Pond Park 5-7 pm


ADVOCATES, COMMUNITY BOARD MEMBERS, ELECTED OFFICIALS, AGENCY REPRESENTATIVES
COME TALK WITH STAKEHOLDERS AND LEADERS ABOUT OUR NEED FOR PARKS

The Harlem River Working Group, the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, South Bronx Unite, and Community Board 1 & 4 Residents invite you to participate in a tour of the Pier 5 Site just south of Mill Pond Park.  This site is being developed for housing and renamed Lower Concourse North, for the purposes of the ongoing Uniform Land Use Review Procedure ((ULURP)and the accompanying Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS).
Rogers-Marvel-Mill-Pond-Park-3-copy
Community members will show proposals and documentation that demonstrate that this property was designated as parkland for the community and share obstacles that should prevent the city from building housing on this site in its current proposal.
 
RAIN OR SHINE
mill_pond_park_1_lgIMG_1479

Join us at 5:00 pm, this Monday May 22nd
at 149th Street and Exterior Street, in front of Pier 5.  

Please be aware this location will be busy at this time due to the Yankee Game.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Anthony Weiner Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Transferring Obscene Material To A Minor


  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) announced that ANTHONY WEINER was charged with, and pled guilty to, transferring obscene material to a minor.  WEINER surrendered to the FBI in New York this morning, pled guilty before United States District Judge Loretta A. Preska, and was released on bail pending sentencing.  Sentencing has been scheduled for September 8, 2017, at 11 a.m.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Today, former Congressman Anthony Weiner admitted and pled guilty to sending sexually explicit images and directions to engage in sexual conduct to a girl he knew to be 15 years old. Weiner’s conduct was not only reprehensible, but a federal crime, one for which he is now convicted and will be sentenced. We thank the FBI and the NYPD for their work in this investigation.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “We work every day in the FBI and law enforcement to stop adults from preying on vulnerable children. Our partnership with the NYPD cannot be stressed enough in this case, and we would like to thank the Special Victims Unit for all the work and effort they put into this investigation.”
According to the Information filed in Manhattan federal court today and statements made in Court during today’s plea proceeding, between in or about January and March 2016, WEINER used online messaging and video chat applications to communicate with a minor girl he knew to be 15 years old (the “Minor Victim”).  In the course of those communications, WEINER transferred obscene material to the Minor Victim, including directions to engage in sexual conduct and sexually explicit images. 
WEINER, 52, of New York, New York, has pled guilty to one count of transferring obscenity to a minor, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the Judge.
Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Victims Division of the New York City Police Department.
EDITOR'S NOTE:
Anthony Weiners Wife Huma Abedin filed for a divorce shortly after this plea deal. 
It is widely believed that when the FBI seized Mr. Weiners computer shortly before the November Election, there were e-mails on the computer from Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to his soon to be former wife, which may of cost candidate Clinton the Presidency when an investigation was reopened on her.

Ramapo Town Supervisor, Christopher St. Lawrence, Found Guilty After Trial Of Conspiracy, Securities Fraud, And Wirefraud In Municipal Bond Securities Fraud Case


  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that a federal jury today found former Ramapo Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence guilty of 20 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud in connection with municipal bonds issued by the Town of Ramapo (the “Town”) and the Ramapo Local Development Corporation (“RLDC”).  St. Lawrence was acquitted of one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud.  Today's verdict, which came after a four-week trial in federal court in White Plains, marks the first conviction for securities fraud in connection with municipal bonds.
Acting U.S. Attorney Kim said:  “As the jury found today after trial, Christopher St. Lawrence lied repeatedly to the investing public about the state of Ramapo’s finances. The integrity of the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market is of critical importance to both investors and municipalities that rely on this market. The verdict today in a case of public corruption meets securities fraud, stands as a victory for both honest government and fair financial markets.”
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and the evidence presented in court during the trial:
As of August 2015, the Town had more than $128 million in outstanding bonds that had been issued for various municipal purposes, while the RLDC, a corporation created and owned by the Town under state law, had issued $25 million in bonds to pay for the construction of Provident Bank Park, a minor league baseball stadium in Ramapo.
While the fraud predated the construction of the stadium, the Town's financial problems were caused largely by the $58 million total cost of the stadium.  The Town paid more than half of that cost, despite the rejection of the Town's guarantee of bonds to pay for construction of the stadium in a Town-wide referendum in 2010 and St. Lawrence’s public statements that no public money would be used to pay for the stadium.
The Indictment charged that St. Lawrence lied to investors in the Town’s and RLDC’s bonds in order to conceal the deteriorating state of the Town’s finances and the inability of the RLDC to make scheduled payments of principal and interest to holders of its bonds from its own money.  St. Lawrence lied to investors primarily by making up false assets in the Town’s General Fund. 
The General Fund is the Town’s primary operating fund.  The accumulated difference over time between how much money the Town receives in taxes and fees and how much it spends in a year is the fund’s balance.  The fund balance is a cushion that can be spent during difficult financial times.  The size of the fund balance relative to the amount of the fund’s revenue and trends in a town’s General Fund balance over time are the primary indicators of the town’s financial health. 
According to the Indictment and the evidence, St. Lawrence lied to the RLDC’s bond rating service in January 2013 when he told them in a telephone call that the 2012 fund balance would remain unchanged from the 2011 balance.  Immediately after that call ended, St. Lawrence told Town employees “to do [an upcoming] refinancing of the short term debt as fast as possible because . . . we’re going to have to all be magicians to get to some of those numbers.”
When the RLDC issued $25 million in bonds to build the stadium building itself in 2011, St. Lawrence inflated the size of the Town’s General Fund by including a false $3.6 million receivable in the General Fund.  The Town’s financial condition was important to investors in the RLDC’s bonds because the Town guaranteed the payments of principal and interest on the bonds.  Without that fake asset, the General Fund’s balance would have negative in that year.
In addition, St. Lawrence inflated the General Fund with another fake receivable for $3.08 million from 2010 through 2015.  It first went on the Town’s books when the RLDC agreed to buy property known as The Hamlets from the Town for $3.08 million.  That sale never closed because the land turned out to be a habitat for rattlesnakes.  Rather than take the receivable off the Town’s books - and reduce the size of the General Fund balance by $3.08 million, thereby pushing it into negative territory - St. Lawrence claimed the receivable had to do with the RLDC’s purchase of another property from the Town, which had already taken place.  To keep it on the books, St. Lawrence then caused the Town Attorney to tell the Town’s auditors over a period of years that the receivable would be paid back within a year, which was required if the receivable was going to stay in the General Fund.  Without this fake receivable alone, the Town’s General Fund balance would have been negative for years. 
In May 2013, the FBI searched Town Hall in connection with this investigation.  Less than 10 days later, St. Lawrence inflated another receivable in the General Fund - this one for money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) to reimburse the Town for expenses from Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.  St. Lawrence claimed that the Town was going to receive $3.145 million from FEMA when the Town hadn’t even submitted those claims to FEMA yet.  Without St. Lawrence’s inflation of this receivable alone, the projected General Fund balance for 2012 would have been negative when the Town sold bonds in May 2013.
Finally, the Indictment alleged and the evidence showed that St. Lawrence told investors in the Town’s and RLDC’s bonds that the RLDC was making the payments on its bonds from its operating revenue meaning money it was making from its ordinary business of running the baseball stadium and selling condominiums at a development it had built.  That was important to investors because it led them to believe that the Town would not have to pay off the RLDC’s $25 million bonds.  It also made the RLDC’s bonds look less risky.  The RLDC actually made those payments from money it borrowed from the bank or money it got from the Town. 
ST. LAWRENCE, 65, of Wesley Hills, New York, was found guilty of 11 counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; eight counts of securities fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five 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 a defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the FBI and the Rockland County District Attorney's Office.  Mr. Kim also thanked the Securities & Exchange Commission for its substantial assistance in the investigation and trial.

Virginia Man Arrested And Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With $100 Million Market Manipulation Scheme Involving Fitbit Stock


  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced the arrest and unsealing of a complaint charging ROBERT WALTER MURRAY with securities and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to manipulate the public market for the stock of Fitbit, Inc. (“Fitbit”) by filing a sham tender offer with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The sham tender offer reported a fictitious bid to purchase all outstanding Fitbit stock at a significant premium to the then-existing market price, resulting in a temporary but significant increase in the price of Fitbit stock on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Given the number of shares outstanding, the sham tender offer resulted in a manipulation of the market by over $100 million. MURRAY was arrested in Virginia and will be presented in the federal court in Manhattan today.
In a separate action, the SEC filed civil charges against MURRAY.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, Robert Walter Murray created a fake tender offer for Fitbit to drive up its share price and then illegally profit from his manipulation of the market. After profiting at the expense of the public, Murray allegedly took elaborate steps to hide that he was behind the fraud. Our Office remains committed to ensuring that the securities markets are fair and free from manipulation. And we thank our partners at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, as well as the SEC, who as committed to this mission as we are.”
USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said: “Mr. Murray was clever, but not as much as the Fitbit brand he allegedly used when he set out to devise his stock manipulation scheme. In an effort to ‘get rich’ quick fraudsters believe they can game the system, but this arrest proves that no matter how much thought goes into a devious scheme, you can never outsmart law enforcement.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court:[1]
On or about November 8, 2016, MURRAY, purporting to be an officer at a China-based entity called ABM Capital, filed forms with the SEC requesting access to the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (or “EDGAR”) system. The following day, on or about November 9, 2016, MURRAY submitted a filing on EDGAR that reported that ABM Capital had offered to purchase Fitbit for approximately $12.50 a share, a significant premium to the price of Fitbit stock at the time. Fitbit’s stock jumped when this filing was made public on EDGAR the following day: while Fitbit’s stock closed at approximately $8.55 a share on November 9, 2016, it reached a high of approximately $9.27 per share, with significantly increased trading volume, after the tender offer filing was made public. Fitbit, however, had not actually received a tender offer from ABM Capital, and MURRAY’s filing was entirely fictitious.
Moreover, MURRAY took significant steps to hide his connection to the tender offer filing. MURRAY used a different name, purporting to be an officer at ABM Capital. And he created a separate email account to register with the SEC and file the sham tender offer, taking care to disguise his actual IP address when accessing it. While logged into that email account, MURRAY visited websites explaining how to use the SEC’s EDGAR system and conducted internet searches for similar market-manipulation schemes. Indeed, just days before filing his own sham tender offer with the SEC, MURRAY accessed a Bloomberg article that detailed a similar fraudulent tender offer for stock in Avon Products, Inc. – conduct that led to charges being filed in this District in United States v. Nedko Nedev, 16 Cr. 093.
In order to profit from his scheme, MURRAY bought call options for Fitbit stock on or about November 9, 2016. When the sham tender offer become public the following day, MURRAY sold his options for a profit. The options that MURRAY purchased had strike prices near or above the market price of Fitbit stock when they were purchased, and had expiration dates of November 11, 2016, meaning that they were set to expire the day after MURRAY filed his sham tender offer.
MURRAY is charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud. Each of these charges carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. The charges also carry a maximum fine of $5 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Kim praised the exceptional work of the Office’s criminal investigators, and thanked the USPIS, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the SEC office of Inspector General for its assistance.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Allen is in charge of the prosecution.
The allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.