Saturday, June 24, 2017

Allerton Avenue International Food Festival

  As usual every year several blocks of Allerton Avenue between Boston Road and White Plains Road are closed for the Allerton Avenue Merchants Association to host their Annual International Food Festival. The festival has been aided by the local elected officials, but mostly by the 80th Assembly person in whose district this merchant strip lies. Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj did not disappoint this year as he has for the past several years. 

  There were Bouncy Houses for the little ones to have fun in, many many different types of food that this area is now known for, informational tables, the Special Mark Gjonaj Horse Wagon Ride, and even elected officials. The photos below will tell the rest of the story. 

Above - Always needed at a festival is a face painter.
Below - PS 89 was trying to raise some funds to help support the school. 

Above - This vendor had a large supply of items that you may find around the neighborhood, or some you can't find elsewhere.
Below - The U.S. ARMY was looking for a few good men, and are stationed in front of the National Bakery.

Above - As the Food Critic for the Bronx Voice, I got to taste a piece of delicious cheesecake from Outback Steakhouse located in the Mall at Bay Plaza.
Below - Rob Salese (in the green shirt) was taking it off the stage and into the crowd.

Above - Some of the crowd who were at the Allerton Avenue International Food Festival.
Below - The First place, Second place, Third place, and Honorable mention runner up award winners for their different but tasty International cooking.

Above - You can see the beautiful horses that the Mark Gjonaj wagon. Notice the Red Light Camera pole, which could be a reason the driver id hiding his face.
Below - You can see the wagon is full of happy people.

Above - Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj with his lovely wife Roberta, and three future voters.
Below - Assemblyman Gjonaj stands between State Senator (and IDC Chair) Jeff Klein and State Senator Jamaal Bailey. 

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Trial Conviction And Sentencing Of Brooklyn-Based Gun Trafficker In AG-NYPD “Operation Midnight Run”

Quincy Adams Gets Extraordinarily Rare 25-Year Sentence For Systematically Trafficking Guns From Florida Gun Shows To NYC 
AG Schneiderman First-Of-Its-Kind Report Shows That 74% of NY Crime Guns Originate Out Of State, Including 86% Of Handguns Used In Crimes 
Schneiderman: If You Traffic Deadly, Illegal Weapons Into NY, We Will Catch You – And Prosecute To The Fullest Extent Of The Law
  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the trial verdict and sentencing of Quincy Adams for his role as one of the leaders of a high-volume gun trafficking ring that funneled firearms from Florida to New York City, often beneath Chinatown buses. Adams received an extraordinarily rare sentence of 25 years in prison, followed by five years of post-release supervision, by the Honorable Danny Chun in Kings County Supreme Court. After a month-long jury trial, Adams was found guilty of two counts each of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree (Class B violent felonies) and Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree (Class C felony).
In October 2016, Attorney General Schneiderman released a first-of-its-kind analysis showing that 74 percent of all crime guns recovered by law enforcement originated out of state; nearly nine out of ten (86 percent) of recovered handguns come from out of state. The Attorney General’s report also found that 70 percent of likely-trafficked guns recovered in New York originated from just seven states with weak gun laws – with eight percent coming from Florida alone. The trafficking ring led by Adams was assisted by loopholes in federal law that allow private sales of firearms without a background check; unlike New York, Florida has not closed this so-called gun-show loophole.
“Gun trafficking rings drive the gun violence epidemic that is destroying lives in New York and across the country,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Even as we work to make our own communities safer, our efforts are undermined by illegal guns that pour in from other states with weak laws. If you traffic deadly, illegal weapons into New York, we will catch you – and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Midnight Run” and led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit, began in the spring of 2014. The investigation involved a high-volume gun trafficking ring that systematically funneled firearms from Florida to New York City, often beneath Chinatown buses. The Attorney General’s office and the NYPD seized more than 70 illegal guns – including semi-automatic pistols, revolvers, and more – purchased from gun shows in Florida, many of which were then resold in New York for up to four times their original price. As the 196-count felony indictment detailed, Adams helped finance the ring’s purchases and personally transported a number of the weapons back to New York City.
Prior to Adams’ trial, the following co-defendants pleaded guilty and received the following sentences:
Natasha Harris – 15 years prison with 5 years post-release supervision
Octavio Batista - 12 years prison with five years post-release supervision
Michelle Cantres - 7 years prison with five years post-release supervision
Draxel Clarke - 5 years in prison with five years post-release supervision
Deryl Springs – 1-1/3 – 4 years prison  

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Infosys For Failing To Follow U.S. Visa Requirements For Foreign Workers In New York State

Infosys Placed Foreign Workers In New York Jobs Without Paying Prevailing Wages And The Taxes Owed On Them

  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today a $1 million settlement with Infosys Corporation, a global outsourcing and consulting company, that failed to properly compensate hundreds of workers and to pay applicable taxes, by systematically abusing the United States visa rules in placing foreign workers at client sites in New York State. Infosys Corporation has a significant presence in New York State and provides consulting and outsourcing services to many New York-based clients in the financial sector, among other industries. The settlement resolves whistleblower claims that Infosys Corporation, in the course of providing outsourcing services, routinely brought foreign IT personnel into New York to perform work in violation of the terms of their visas.

“We will not permit companies to violate our laws in order to undercut New York workers. My office is committed to ensuring that our state’s labor marketplace is fair, competitive and transparent for all,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows an employer to employ a foreign national temporarily in a “specialty occupation” in the United States. These visas are difficult to obtain: the application process is highly regulated and requires a submission that describes the intended occupation and specific geographic place of employment, and certifies that the salary of the proposed employee is commensurate with similarly employed United States workers. H-1B visa holders in New York are accordingly paid pursuant to prevailing wage requirements, and state taxes are withheld on salary earned while working in the State.
To perform the services offered by Infosys in New York State, its foreign workers needed H1-B visas.  But in order to avoid the difficulty and expense of obtaining such visas, the Office contends that Infosys knowingly and unlawfully obtained temporary visitor visas (B-1 visas) instead.  B-1 visas are much easier to obtain. Because they apply only to visits, B-1 visa holders are not permitted to perform work of the kind Infosys workers were sent to New York to do, and they are not subject to the H1-B prevailing wage requirements. 
Infosys workers using B-1 visas were doing work that would otherwise have been performed by U.S. citizens or H1-B visa holders, and were paid significantly less than what comparable U.S. workers or H1-B visa holders would have been paid in the same positions.  Consequently, New York was deprived of taxes that should have been paid on the higher wages that Infosys avoided by its misconduct. The settlement includes a recovery to the State for tax damages and applicable New York False Claims Act damages and penalties. The Attorney General’s investigation concluded the following:
  • Infosys provided instructions to employees on B-1 visas regarding how to deceive U.S. Consular Officials and/or Customs and Border Protection Officers.  This conduct included creation of a “Do’s and Don’ts” memorandum that was provided to Infosys employees entering the United States that explicitly instructed such employees to avoid talking about the work they were doing;
  • Infosys submitted, or caused to be submitted, “invitation letters” to U.S. Consular Officials that contained materially false representations about the true purpose of the Infosys employees’ visits to the United States; and
  • As a result of this conduct, in addition to securing employment of foreign workers at a much lower wage than applicable prevailing wage requirements, Infosys also avoided paying applicable payroll taxes on the wages of the foreign workers it improperly placed at New York client sites. 
Attorney General Schneiderman expresses his thanks to the whistleblower and its attorneys, and to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, for their assistance in bringing this case to resolution; and also commends the prior investigative work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas and other federal law enforcement, on which this investigation significantly relied.
The settlement is the latest tax-related recovery resulting from an action filed under the New York False Claims Act.  The Act is one of the state’s most powerful civil fraud enforcement tools because it allows whistleblowers and prosecutors to take legal action against companies or individuals that defraud the government. In April, the office announced a $40 million whistleblower settlement, the largest such recovery in the office’s history.  New York’s False Claims Act expressly covers tax fraud as a result of a landmark law authored by Attorney General Schneiderman while in the New York State Senate. In 2011, as one of his first acts in office, Attorney General Schneiderman created a Taxpayer Protection Bureau, which is charged to work with whistleblowers and enforce the False Claims Act in tax and other government fraud cases.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Prison Sentence, Fine For Former Judge Who Exchanged Favorable Rulings For Sexual Favors From Defendants

Paul M. Lamson To Serve Two To Six Years In State Prison For Exchanging Sexual Favors From Defendants For Beneficial Decisions
Schneiderman: We Will Continue Working To Root Out Abuse Of Power And Bring Those Responsible To Justice
  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that Paul M. Lamson, the former Judge for the Town of Fowler Justice Court in St. Lawrence County, was sentenced to two to six years in state prison and will pay a $2,500 fine for abusing his position as a Judge by providing beneficial rulings to defendants that appeared before him in exchange for sexual favors.  Lamson previously pleaded guilty before The Honorable Derek P. Champagne in St. Lawrence County Court to the charges of Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree in violation of Penal Law § 200.10, a class “D” felony, and Official Misconduct in violation of Penal Law § 195.00(1), a class “A” misdemeanor. 
“For a judge to exploit their power and take advantage of someone in such a vulnerable position is truly reprehensible, and erodes public trust in our judicial system,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue working to root out public corruption and abuse of power, and bring those responsible to justice.”
Lamson was the Town Justice for the Town of Fowler Justice Court from 2005 to December 1, 2016, when he resigned.  When entering his plea in St. Lawrence County Court, Lamson admitted to soliciting and accepting sexual favors from individuals who had pending criminal cases before him in the Town of Fowler Justice Court. He did so under an agreement or understanding that his judgment, action, decision, and exercise of discretion as the Justice for the Town of Fowler Court would be influenced with respect to those defendants’ cases.  Lamson also admitted that he provided favorable rulings on these defendants’ behalf as a result of these agreements or understandings. 
Attorney General Schneiderman remains committed to rooting out public corruption, including in cases that involve judicial abuse of power. On February 24th, the Attorney General announced the guilty plea of Delmar House, the former Village Justice for the Village of West Carthage Court in Jefferson County, for abusing his position as a Judge by reducing a fine for a defendant who appeared before him in exchange for sexual favors, and by paying a portion of that defendant’s fines in exchange for additional sexual favors. House pleaded guilty to Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, and Receiving a Reward for Official Misconduct in the Second Degree. On May 2, 2017, House was sentenced to serve four months in a county correctional facility and five years’ probation, and ordered to pay a $5000.00 fine.
The Attorney General thanks the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, and the New York State Office of Court Administration for their valuable assistance in this investigation. 

Doctor And Two Others Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Illegal Distribution Of Oxycodone Pills

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting 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 Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“HHS-OIG”), announced the unsealing of an indictment charging of DAVID TAYLOR, a state-licensed doctor, with writing medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone over a five-year period. In addition to TAYLOR, VITO GALLICCHIO, and DANIEL GARCIA were arrested on charges that, from January 2012 through at least June 2017, they conspired with TAYLOR to distribute oxycodone. All three defendants are expected to be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott later today. The case has been assigned to United States District Court Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said: “As the opioid epidemic wreaks havoc on too many of our communities, for years, Dr. David Taylor and his co-conspirators allegedly wrote prescriptions for and distributed medically unnecessary oxycodone. Doctors should be advancing the health of our citizens, not allegedly fueling the biggest health crisis facing the country, the opioid abuse epidemic. We are committed to holding accountable everyone involving in the illegal distribution of opioids, including allegedly corrupt doctors.”
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “It is alleged that millions of dollars’ worth of pain medication was diverted onto the streets of Staten Island, enabling addiction and overdoses on the borough. These arrests will impact Staten Island’s opioid market by shutting down an illicit pill distribution operation located at the heart of the borough, along Hylan Boulevard.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “As alleged, the defendants distributed Oxycodone for at least five years, at the expense of those addicted to these pain killers. The NYPD will aggressively pursue those who distribute illegal prescription drugs."
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in federal court [1].
From January 2012 through at least June 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, DAVID TAYLOR, VITO GALLICCHIO, and DANIEL GARCIA, and others conspired to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone.
TAYLOR, 74, GALLICCHIO, 48, and GARCIA, 57, are charged with one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone. This offense carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad (Group TDS-NY), which comprises agents and officers from the DEA, the NYPD, the New York State Police, New York State Department of Financial Services, and New York City Department of Investigation. He also acknowledged the assistance of HHS-OIG and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictments and the descriptions of the Indictments set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Founder And Former CEO Of Technology Firm Pleads Guilty To Multimillion-Dollar Fraud On Investors

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced that MARYSE LIBURDI pled guilty to defrauding investors in a technology company founded and operated by LIBURDI. As a result of LIBURDI’s fraud, the victim-investors lost more than $6 million. LIBURDI pled guilty earlier today in Manhattan federal court before United States District Judge Denise L. Cote, who is scheduled to sentence LIBURDI on September 29, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “For at least five years, while her company earned little or no revenue, Maryse Liburdi, the founder and former CEO of a technology company, lied to investors about her company’s success and converted the funds they invested to her own use. In this way, Liburdi stole more than $1 million, and used it to pay rent on her Manhattan apartment, purchase luxury clothing, and pay spa bills. We are committed to fully enforcing the laws that ensure that executives are truthful with investors.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment to which LIBURDI pled guilty, a criminal complaint filed against LIBURDI, and statements made during the plea and other court proceeding proceedings:

Since at least in or about 2010, LIBURDI perpetrated a multi-year scheme to defraud individuals into investing in a technology company (the “Company”) founded and run by LIBURDI. LIBURDI repeatedly made misrepresentations to investors about the Company’s revenue and assets, manipulated Company bank accounts to hide the Company’s true financial condition and, contrary to LIBURDI’s express promises to the investors, converted investor funds to her own use.

While LIBURDI repeatedly told investors that the Company had millions of dollars in revenue, the Company’s bank records show that, from at least 2008 until the Company ceased operating in January 2015, the Company earned little or no revenue. Moreover, as reflected in the Company’s bank records, LIBURDI misappropriated investor funds, transferring over $1 million to her and her former husband’s bank accounts and to pay LIBURDI’s personal expenses, including luxury clothing. For example, LIBURDI used funds from one victim investor for, among other things, transfers to a personal bank account in the name of LIBURDI and her former husband; rental payments for LIBURDI’s three-bedroom Manhattan apartment; payments for personal credit cards; and substantial personal expenditures on corporate credit cards, including, among other things, expenditures at various retail clothing, accessories, and cosmetics stores, salons and spas, and wine and liquor stores.

In order to hide her scheme, LIBURDI manipulated the Company’s bank accounts by, on at least three occasions, writing checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars drawn on accounts with insufficient funds in order to fraudulently inflate the balance of a Company bank account and thereby hide the Company’s true cash balance from the investors. For example, in October 2013, LIBURDI wrote and deposited into the Company’s bank account a $700,000 check drawn on a different account that had a balance of only about $2,000. LIBURDI then falsely represented to the victims that the Company’s bank account held approximately $700,000 and showed investors a bank statement for the Company account listing the inflated balance. As result of LIBURDI’s fraud, victim-investors in the Company lost more than $6 million.

LIBURDI, 45, formerly of Victoria, Minnesota, and New York, New York, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release. The maximum potential sentence in this case 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 FBI. He also thanked Italian law enforcement authorities, including Interpol Rome, for their assistance in LIBURDI’s arrest, as well as the Department of Justice’s Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome and the DOJ Office of International Affairs.

Former Hoboken, New Jersey, City Council President Found Guilty After Trial For His Participation In A $7 Million Dollar Car Loan Scheme

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that a federal jury today found former Hoboken, New Jersey, City Council President and attorney CHRISTOPHER CAMPOS guilty of bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. CAMPOS and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in car loans by using at least 20 straw buyers to acquire more than 200 new automobiles based on false representations that, among other things, the straw buyers would use the cars for their personal use when, in truth and in fact, CAMPOS and his co-conspirators obtained the vehicles in order to lease as livery cabs. The week-long trial took place before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who is scheduled to sentence CAMPOS on September 20, 2017.

CAMPOS’s co-defendant, Julio Alvarez, pled guilty to bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud on June 9, 2017. Alvarez is scheduled to be sentenced on September 8, 2017, before Judge Caproni.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated: “As a unanimous jury found, Christopher Campos, an attorney and former Hoboken City Council President, defrauded lenders out of millions of dollars. He recruited straw buyers to obtain loans for cars supposedly for ‘personal use,’ when in fact they made up a fleet of over 200 vehicles Campos and his co-conspirators leased to livery drivers. Campos now awaits sentencing for this massive fraud.”
According to the allegations contained in the Complaint, Indictment, and the evidence presented in Court during the trial:

Between approximately October 2012 and September 2013, CAMPOS and Alvarez, among others, orchestrated a scheme to fraudulently obtain new automobiles that they intended to lease to livery cab drivers. In order to secure financing in connection with the purchase of these new cars, CAMPOS and other co-conspirators enlisted and aided individuals with good credit histories (“straw buyers”) to submit fraudulent car loan applications to numerous lenders. In order to obtain the new vehicles, CAMPOS and other co-conspirators sent straw buyers to several car dealerships located throughout the New York City area, where dealership employees helped straw buyers submit fraudulent loan applications.

The auto loan applications submitted by the straw buyers falsely represented that the vehicles would be used for the buyers’ personal use, rather than as part of the defendants’ leasing business. In addition, in many cases, the car loan applications misrepresented personal information about the straw buyers, including their incomes and assets. CAMPOS also caused financing applications to be sent to multiple financial institutions at the same time so that the lenders would not know that the straw buyers were incurring obligations to other lenders in connection with the purchase of multiple new automobiles.

In total, the scheme carried out by CAMPOS, Alvarez, and others involved at least approximately 20 straw buyers, the purchase of more than approximately 200 new vehicles, and more than $7 million in fraudulently obtained loans from a variety of financial institutions. Most of the loans ultimately went into default.

CAMPOS, 40, of Palisades Park, New Jersey, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, bank fraud, and wire fraud. The conspiracy and bank fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and the wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences 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 outstanding investigative work of the FBI. Mr. Kim also thanked the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the New York Automobile Insurance Plan, and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles for their substantial assistance in the investigation and trial.

Founder Of Purported Investment Company Charged With Commodities Fraud And Wire Fraud

   Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the filing of a criminal complaint charging MICHAEL WRIGHT with commodities fraud and wire fraud in connection with WRIGHT’s operation of an investment company, Wright Time Capital Group (“WTCG”). WRIGHT is alleged to have misrepresented to investors the trading performance of WTCG, and, after acquiring investor funds, misappropriating a large portion of those funds for his personal benefit. Additionally, after losing most of the funds he actually invested in foreign currency (“forex”) transactions, WRIGHT allegedly began operating WTCG as a Ponzi scheme, using funds obtained from investors to make payments to other investors. WRIGHT was arrested this morning and will be presented before the U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott later today.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, Michael Wright used his investment company as a personal piggy bank and issued fraudulent account statements to cover up foreign exchange trading losses, ultimately operating a classic Ponzi scheme. Thanks to the dedicated work of the FBI, Wright's alleged scheme has been brought to an end and he will now be held to account.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Wright allegedly lured investors to Wright Time Capital Group by falsely representing his trading performance. Most of the currency received was used for his personal benefit; some of it was actually invested in foreign currency transactions. But when this money was eventually lost, he created another layer in his litany of crimes—a Ponzi scheme. For anyone who thinks they can manipulate people’s investments in this way, we remind you today that’s simply not the case.”
According to the Complaint[1]:
WRIGHT started WTCG in January 2011, and ultimately obtained more than $400,000 from various investors (the “Victims”). While WRIGHT did initially conduct some forex trades on behalf of the Victims, he then began to steal their money, using it to cover his personal expenses, including hotel and travel expenses. From the outset of WTCG, WRIGHT misrepresented to WTCG’s investors the gains he had achieved. WRIGHT claimed in statements to Victims that he had achieved double-digit gains for them through forex trading in WTCG’s first six months of existence. In reality, however, WRIGHT earned little to no money through his forex trading. WRIGHT also operated WTCG as a Ponzi scheme by using the Victims’ funds to make payments to other Victims who were demanding the return of their investments.
WRIGHT, 30, of Rockville Centre, New York, was arrested this morning in New Jersey. WRIGHT was charged with commodities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Kim praised the efforts of the FBI in this investigation.
The charges 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 forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bronx Man Arrested For Attempting To Provide Material Support To ISIS

Saddam Mohamed Raishani Was Arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport While Allegedly Attempting to Travel Overseas to Join ISIS

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Dana Boente, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced that SADDAM MOHAMED RAISHANI, a/k/a “Adam Raishani,” was arrested last night at John F. Kennedy International Airport (“JFK Airport”) in Queens, New York.  RAISHANI was charged by a criminal Complaint earlier today with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS” or the “Islamic State”), a designated foreign terrorist organization.  RAISHANI is expected to be presented later today before Magistrate Judge James L. Cott in Manhattan federal court.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, Saddam Mohamed Raishani, a Bronx man, plotted to travel to Syria to join and train with the terrorist organization ISIS.  Having already helped another man make that trip to ISIS’s heartland, Raishani allegedly acted on his own desire to wage violent jihad, planning to leave his family and life in New York City for the battlefields of the Middle East.  Thanks to the excellent work of the FBI and NYPD, Raishani’s alleged plan to support this deadly terrorist organization was cut short at the airport and now he will face federal terrorism charges.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente said:  “According to the complaint, Raishani attempted to travel overseas to join ISIS and to provide material support to the designated terrorist organization.  The National Security Division’s highest priority is countering terrorist threats, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters abroad and bring to justice those who attempt to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.  I would like to thank all of the agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this case.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “This case is another alleged instance of the nature of the terrorism threat and its reach into communities here at home. It is also a great example of the coordination which exists among local and federal law enforcement partners who work together to stop these alleged threats and interdict individuals allegedly determined on joining a terrorist organization intent on conducting violence around the globe. The FBI’s JTTF will continue to work with our partners, both here and abroad, to prevent acts of terrorism.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “As we have seen many times before, allegedly attempting to join a designated terrorist organization usually has one outcome: arrest.  Thank you to the NYPD detectives and FBI agents who, through the original Joint Terrorism Task Force, remain relentless in their focus to keep New York City safe.”
As alleged in the criminal Complaint,[1] filed today in Manhattan federal court:
In January 2017, RAISHANI contacted an individual who was, unbeknownst to RAISHANI, a confidential source working at the direction of law enforcement (the “CS”)  During a meeting with the CS, RAISHANI told the CS that RAISHANI had a friend (“Person-1”), who had left New York to join the Islamic State some time ago.[2]  RAISHANI told the CS that prior to Person-1’s departure, RAISHANI took Person-1 shopping to buy supplies to bring to the Islamic State, and that on the day of Person-1’s departure, RAISHANI gave money to Person-1 and drove Person-1 to JFK Airport.  In later meetings with the CS, RAISHANI expressed his regret at not having traveled with Person-1 to join ISIS.  RAISHANI also indicated his desire to wage jihad and his belief that the Quran can be read to justify the violence, including beheadings, engaged in by ISIS.    
As part of the investigation, the CS introduced RAISHANI to an undercover law enforcement officer (“UC-1”), who was posing as an individual who wanted to travel abroad to fight for ISIS.  During meetings with the CS and UC-1, RAISHANI expressed his desire to travel abroad to join ISIS.  For example, RAISHANI indicated that he had been in contact with other ISIS supporters and no longer felt comfortable in the United States.  He also showed UC-1 a video that appeared to depict ISIS supporters discussing their desire to travel overseas to join ISIS and its ongoing fight.  RAISHANI further showed the CS and UC-1 an ISIS video that appeared to depict ISIS members in Yemen killing civilians who did not support ISIS.    
In addition, RAISHANI advised the CS and UC-1 as to how they could avoid detection by law enforcement.  For example, RAISHANI advised the CS to cover the camera on the CS’s computer and turn off the computer’s microphone when watching pro-ISIS videos online.  RAISHANI also advised the CS to use a particular Internet browser (the “Browser”) to hide their online activity, and explained that he used the Browser to watch ISIS and jihadi videos online.  Furthermore, RAISHANI himself put on gloves when using a laptop and viewing pro-ISIS and pro-jihadi videos online.  Moreover, RAISHANI conveyed to UC-1 that if they traveled together to join ISIS, RAISHANI, a home health aide, could pose as a nurse and UC-1 could pose as a refugee aid worker, in order to cross international borders without being stopped and questioned by authorities.  Finally, RAISHANI told the CS and UC-1 that he (RAISHANI) had to be careful because he believed that federal authorities were monitoring his activities.
By April 2017, RAISHANI was actively planning to travel abroad to join ISIS.  The CS told RAISHANI that, through a family acquaintance, the CS might be able to obtain contact information for an ISIS affiliate capable of facilitating travel to join ISIS.  In reality, the purported facilitator was an FBI employee acting in an undercover capacity (“UC-2”).  In May 2017, RAISHANI contacted UC-2 and indicated that he had previously helped another individual travel to join ISIS.  RAISHANI further told UC-2 that he was seeking guidance for his own “hijrah,” an Arabic term normally used to refer to migration, but which is also used by ISIS supporters to refer to traveling overseas to join ISIS and engage in jihad.  In subsequent conversations with the CS, UC-1, and/or UC-2, RAISHANI stated that he aspired to travel to Syria to join ISIS and that he aimed to travel before the end of Ramadan, an Islamic holy month that runs from approximately May 26 through June 24 this year.  He indicated that he would be in contact with UC-2 about his travel.  RAISHANI also stated that if he was arrested he will not care, because Allah would know that he tried.
In June 2017, RAISHANI told the CS that he was making preparations to leave, including paying off his remaining debts.  Subsequently, RAISHANI and UC-1 purchased clothing that they intended to wear for their training with ISIS.  Earlier this week, RAISHANI revealed to UC-2 his (RAISHANI’s) intention to meet an ISIS member in Turkey in the next few days, who would facilitate RAISHANI’s joining the terrorist organization in Syria.  RAISHANI also purchased an airline ticket for a flight scheduled to depart on June 21, 2017, from JFK Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, via Lisbon, Portugal.  On June 21, 2017, RAISHANI traveled to JFK Airport, where he was arrested by the FBI after he attempted to board that flight to Lisbon.              
RAISHANI, 30, of the Bronx, is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD, and the NYPD’s Intelligence Division.  Mr. Kim also thanked the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, as well as the New York Office of U. S. Customs and Border Protection.
The charges 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 below are only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
[2] Communications and conversations discussed herein are described in substance and in part.

Two Sex Money Murder Gang Members Convicted In Connection With Murder Of Rival Gang Member

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that a federal jury late yesterday found COREY BROWN guilty of murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, and firearms charges, and found JOSNEL RODRIGUEZ guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy.   

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As a unanimous jury found after trial, Corey Brown ordered the murder of Vincent Davis, a rival gang member, and Josnel Rodriguez participated in that murder. Sex Money Murder has terrorized residents of the Bronx with years of drug dealing, gang violence, and murder. This prosecution ensures that Brown and Rodriguez will no longer be able to do so. We will continue to be relentless in working to make our communities safer by investigating and prosecuting gang violence.”   
According to the allegations in the Indictment and the evidence presented in court during the trial:
Between 2011 and 2016, BROWN and RODRIGUEZ were members of Sex Money Murder, a gang that operates mainly in and around several housing developments in the Bronx, New York. Sex Money Murder (“SMM”) members enriched themselves by selling drugs, such as crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, and engaged in acts of violence, including murder.  BROWN, who was a leader of Sex Money Murder, ordered the murder of fellow gang member Vincent Davis.  On or about July 15, 2012, JOSNEL RODRIGUEZ and another SMM member participated in the murder of Vincent Davis, in the vicinity of 566 Pugsley Avenue, Bronx, New York, in order to maintain, and increase, their standing within SMM. 
Mr. Kim thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department for their work on the investigation.   

Comptroller Stringer Releases New, Interactive LGBTQ Guide in Advance of Pride 2017

  New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer today released a new interactive 2017 LGBTQ Guide, which is the most comprehensive resource across the city of organizations and programs that serve the LGBTQ community. The guide helps New Yorkers find organizations, obtain services, better understand available resources like healthcare and support groups, and more. This year’s LGBTQ Guide launched new online tools – including the ability to map the location of key service providers across the five boroughs – as well as a new section that helps LGBTQ New Yorkers obtain government benefits and public assistance.

“It’s our job to help New Yorkers get the services they need – and this year’s guide is a critical resource. With new online offerings, what was already New York City’s most comprehensive resource is even better,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “My entire life I’ve stood up for progress. That’s never going to stop. If we’re going to be the greatest city in the world in this century and the next, then we also must work to be the most inclusive city in the world.”
This builds on Comptroller’s Stringer previous work. Earlier this year, he led a group of investors in speaking out against Texas’s S.B. 6 – also known as a “bathroom bill” – as well as worked with other large pension funds to promote diversity inclusive of the LGBTQ community at companies across the nation. Comptroller Stringer has also been an outspoken advocate on the Gender Non-Discrimination Act at the state level, and has written a report about gender-neutral bathrooms in New York City that was the basis for City Council legislation that ultimately became law.
Earlier this week, the Comptroller released the results of a survey of hundreds of LGBTQ New Yorkers, which was created to pinpoint gaps in how government services are provided and identify ways New York City can improve. Many survey respondents indicated that they experienced discrimination in the workplace, public harassment, and economic and healthcare challenges. The survey results can be found here.
“We are one of the most LGBTQ-friendly places in the world, but there’s always more to do. We have to keep standing up for what’s right – and we have to do it together,” Comptroller Stringer said.
The new 2017 LGBTQ Guide can be found at


  This weekend, the de Blasio Administration will decorate crosswalks in Greenwich Village and light City Hall to celebrate Pride Month and NYC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer communities. For the first time, the crosswalk across Christopher Street near the Stonewall National Monument will be painted in rainbow colors. Rainbow decals will also be placed on crosswalks across the 5th Avenue Pride March route at 36th and 24th Streets. In addition to having rainbow lights, City Hall will also display rainbow flags.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will attend the 48th annual NYC Pride March this Sunday.

“Pride Month reminds us that the fight for LGBT rights is not yet won, but that we can be proud as a city to have blazed the trail,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Now more than ever, we need to come together and celebrate the contributions that the LGBTQ community has made to both our city and country. These displays serve as a profound symbol of a painful past, a hopeful future and the transformative change that happens when New Yorkers take action.”

First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray said, “As we illuminate the steps of City Hall and grace the streets of The Village with the wondrous designs of Gilbert Baker, NYC commemorates the journey of the LGBTQ community – hardships and triumphs alike. With a newfound artivism and activism on display, we celebrate you, honor your perseverance and respect your PRIDE!”  

DOT will begin painting the sidewalk near the Stonewall Monument overnight starting Saturday evening, in partnership with Heritage of Pride. NYC DOT and HOP have worked closely in recent years during NYC LGBTQ Pride in preparation for the March. In addition, City Hall will be lit starting Friday at sundown through Sunday evening.

“DOT street crews are happy to add the festive colors of the iconic rainbow flag to this year’s Pride Parade, including just steps away from the historic Stonewall National Monument,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “With a beautiful day expected Sunday, we want to wish all revelers a happy, safe and very proud celebration.”

"NYC Pride is honored to bring Gilbert Baker's original rainbow to the very streets where the modern LGBT movement began," said David Studinski, NYC Pride Co-Chair. "We are proud to fund the installation of this exciting project. We thank the Mayor, City Council members and Department of Transportation for helping us make this long-awaited tribute a colorful reality."

New York City continues to lead the nation in protecting LGBTQ rights. Earlier this month, the de Blasio Administration published New York City’s first-ever LGBTQ Healthcare Bill of Rights. In June 2016, New York City became the first municipality to launch a citywide campaign specifically affirming the right of transgender individuals to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity or expression. In March 2016, Mayor de Blasio issued an executive order requiring City agencies to ensure that employees and members of the public are given equal access to City single-sex facilities without being required to show identification, medical documentation or any other form of proof or verification of gender. In December 2015, the NYC Commission on Human Rights issued legal enforcement guidance defining specific gender identity protections under the City Human Rights Law, including equal bathroom access.

The Administration has also enhanced services to address LGBTQI homelessness, including opening a 24-hour drop-in center in Harlem specializing in the LGBTQI community, and the first-ever City-funded transitional independent living homes with specialized services for transgender youth. Earlier this year, the de Blasio Administration opened Marsha’s House—named after famed LGBTQI activist Marsha P. Johnson—in the Bronx, the first-ever shelter for LGBTQI young persons in the New York City adult shelter system, offering nearly 90 homeless individuals 30 years and under the opportunity to be sheltered in a welcoming and supportive space providing targeted resources. The Administration has also funded 500 additional beds for runaway and homeless youth, all of which are available to LGBTQI youth. During FY18, the total number of beds brought online will expand to 653, with a total of 753 by end of FY19.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz Hosts Summer Concert Series with Bronx Council on the ArtsAssemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz Hosts Summer Concert Series with Bronx Council on the Arts

  Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz,  in partnership with the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA ), will present seven summer concerts beginning July 18th and ending August 23rd in the Northwest Bronx. Venue hosts and co-presenters include the Amalgamated/Park Reservoir Housing Cooperatives, the Riverdale YM-YWHA and Henry Hudson Park. All shows will be free and open to the public. “I am pleased to provide funding to the Bronx Council on the Arts for this amazing free concert series,” says Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (District 81). “All of the performances are superb. I encourage my neighbors and constituents to attend and I know you will have a great time!”

Performers will include Ginetta’s Vendetta at the Amalgamated Train Park (July 187-9pm), the Just Nuts Party Dance Band at Henry Hudson Park (July 247-9pm), John Benitez and his Salsa Band at Amalgamated Train Park (Aug 27-9pm), the Mystery Tour Beatles Tribute Band at Henry Hudson Park (Aug 97-9pm), The Gene DiNapoli Variety All-Star Show at Riverdale YM-YWHA (Aug 217-9pm), the New York Skyscrapers and Friends at Riverdale YM-YWHA (Aug 227-9pm) and River of Dreams at Riverdale YM-YWHA (Billy Joel Cover Band) on Aug 237-9pm

“The summer concerts that Assemblyman Dinowitz makes possible are a great way for us to meet families and individuals from around the Bronx, in a way that’s different than our year-round Bronx Writers Center and Longwood Art Gallery programs,” says Bronx Council on the Arts Deputy Director Charlie Vázquez, who also directs Bronx Writers Center programs. “I began my creative journey as a young musician in the Bronx and that’s what summer’s for: to have fun and meet new people.”