Friday, October 18, 2019

MS-13 Leaders Charged With Racketeering, Narcotics, And Firearms Offenses


Indictment Includes High-Ranking Members of the Governing “Table” of the L.A. Program of MS-13 from New York, California, and Tennessee

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging AMILCAR ROMERO, a/k/a “Soldado,” JAIME SANTANA, a/k/a “Smiley,” JOSE GARCIA, a/k/a “Tricky,” and ALEXANDER RIVERA, a/k/a “Extrano,” with racketeering conspiracy and narcotics distribution conspiracy.  CRISTIAN GUERRERO-MELGARES, a/k/a “Enigma,” and GUSTAVO LLEVANO-RIVERA are charged in the narcotics conspiracy count.  Several defendants also face firearms charges.

GARCIA, GUERRERO-MELGARES, and RIVERA were arrested have been presented today before Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.  SANTANA was arrested last night and will be presented today in the Middle District of Tennessee.  ROMERO is currently in state custody in California on other charges and will be transferred to federal custody in New York and presented at a later date.  LLEVANO-RIVERA remains at large.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The defendants in this case include alleged leaders of the L.A. Program of MS-13, operating across the United States.  They and their co-defendants are alleged to have engaged in acts of violence, narcotics distribution, and the use of firearms.  Thanks to our remarkable partners at HSI and the NYPD, the defendants now face federal charges for these very serious crimes.”
HSI Special Agent-in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said:  “Today, three high ranking members of MS-13 were arrested for various charges, including, racketeering, drug distribution and firearms offenses.  These three gang members allegedly utilized violence and intimidation in order to further their criminal enterprise.  HSI New York and our other field offices around the country continue to work with our local law enforcement partners to combat MS-13.  It is only through these coordinated efforts that we will be able to disrupt and ultimately dismantle this gang.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “Targeting gangs and crews, and preventing the violence so often associated with their illegal activities, continues to be among the highest priorities for the NYPD and our law enforcement partners.  By precisely targeting the relatively small percentage of individuals responsible for committing much of the violence in New York, we are making the safest large city in America even safer.  We remain relentless in our efforts to identify, arrest, and prosecute anyone who allegedly involves themselves in such criminal behavior.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court as well as court filings[1]:
ROMERO, SANTANA, GARCIA, and RIVERA are members of a transnational racketeering enterprise known as Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, which operates throughout North and Central America, including in El Salvador, Mexico, New York, California, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  In order to enrich the enterprise, protect and expand its criminal operations, enforce discipline among its members, and retaliate against members of rival gangs, members and associates of MS-13 committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence; distributed and possessed with intent to distribute narcotics, including methamphetamine and cocaine; and obtained, possessed and used firearms.
MS-13 is organized into chapters called “cliques.”  Groups of cliques, in turn, are aligned as “programs.”  Each program is governed by a group of senior gang leaders known as the “table.”  ROMERO, SANTANA, and GARCIA are high-ranking members of the table of the “L.A. Program” of MS-13.
ROMERO, 50, SANTANA, 39, GARCIA, 31, and RIVERA, 31, are charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison. Those four defendants, as well as GUERRERO-MELGARES, 32, and LLEVANO-RIVERA, 23, are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute: (i) 50 grams and more of methamphetamine, (ii) 500 grams and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, and (iii) mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. SANTANA, GARCIA, and GUERRERO-MELGARES are charged with possessing, carrying, and using firearms during, in relation to, and in furtherance of, the narcotics conspiracy, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.  SANTANA and RIVERA are charged with possessing firearms while unlawfully or illegally in the United States, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of HSI and the NYPD.
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 Indictment as well as the referenced letter constitute only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.

Multiple Homicides in the 32 Precinct, Manhattan October 18, 2019




Remarks as prepared for Deputy Chief Martine N. Materasso
The information I'm going to provide you is preliminary as the investigation is in its early stages and is ongoing.
As of this moment, I can tell you that there are three individuals deceased from gunshot wounds to the head stemming from an earlier dispute inside of 26 West 131 Street and there are no outstanding subjects.
This afternoon at 2:43 pm, uniformed officers from the 32nd Precinct responded to a report of shots being fired inside of 26 West 131st Street. The responding officers made entry into the location and discovered a 78-year old male lying in the 1st floor hallway with a gunshot wound to his head.
The officers then heard an unknown male yelling from inside of apartment 1A, "Come and get it," while barricading himself inside of the apartment. The officers immediately secured the location and requested the Emergency Service Unit to responded. While securing the location the officers noticed smoke coming from inside of the apartment.
Moments later, Emergency Service Unit Officers gained entry into the apartment and discovered a 59-year-old male inside of the bathroom with, what appears to be, a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
FDNY personnel also responded to the location and extinguished the fire. Upon a search of the building for additional victims, members from the FDNY discovered a 62-year old female in the second floor hallway with a gunshot wound to her head.
At this time, our preliminary investigation reveals that the 59-year old suspect was involved in a verbal dispute with the 78-year old male victim before shooting him in the head. After shooting the first victim, the suspect then went to the second floor and shot the 62-year old female, before barricading himself inside of his apartment and shooting himself.
Additionally, we have recovered two firearms from inside of the suspects apartment.

Who is spending $119,982.00 to try to get Rank Choice Voting passed?



HyperLink

Committee for Ranked Choice Voting NYC


To advocate for the passage of ranked choice voting 
in New York City.

Principal Owners   Principal Officers and Board Members

Name                      Organization title                  Employment

Susan Lerner          President             Executive Director Common Cause 
                                                            New York

Betsy Gotbaum      Board Member       Executive Director Citizens Union

Gerald Polner         Treasurer                Retired

Maya Wiley            Board Member             Senior VP for Social Justice the 
                                                        New School - Schools of Pu, New York.

Seth London           Secretary                        Campaign Strategist Ground                                                                                          Control Partners 


Candidate/Proposal                    total spending 
Q1: Elections     Proposal                  119,982  
total‎:                                                  119,982 

ANNUAL GRACIE MANSION HALLOWEEN TICKET GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCED


Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced the opening of the annual Gracie Mansion Halloween ticket giveaway. Guests will experience the historic Gracie Mansion home and grounds in a “haunted” Halloween-themed atmosphere. Tricks and treats will be available.

New Yorkers can get tickets at www.nyc.gov/GracieHalloween or call 311. Tickets are limited. The event is recommended for families with children ages 6-10. 

Gracie Mansion’s Halloween d├ęcor and festivities are sponsored by the May Ellen & Gerald Ritter Foundation, Discovery, Inc., Blick Art Materials, TDF Costume Collection,  The LEGO Group, Scholastic Education, Gristedes/D’Agostino Supermarkets, #Snazaroo, Whole Foods Market, Mars Incorporated, Utz/Clem Snacks, Inc., MUD, Make-up Designory, GrowNYC, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, John D Madura Farm, S & SO Produce, Hoeffner Farms, VanHouten Farms, and Togo Orchards II.


WHAT:           Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray’s Halloween at Gracie Mansion

WHEN:           Friday, October 25, 2019
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Saturday, October 26, 2019
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Sunday, October 27, 2019
12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

WHERE:         Gracie Mansion
                        88th Street and East End Avenue
                        New York, NY 10128

Wave Hill events Oct 31‒Nov 7


Thu, October 31

Garden Highlights Walk

Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 1PM

Fri, November 1

Lessons from Wave Hill: Right Plant, Right Place—Identifying and Embracing Microclimates

Why do some plants thrive and others die? Picking exactly the right spot for a plant is not always easy. During this intensive workshop with Senior Horticultural Interpreter Charles Day, see how minor changes in aspect and soil or surrounding landscape features can make a big difference to gardening success. Starting with an indoor presentation of some favorite Wave Hill plants and their different needs, move outside to meet Wave Hill Gardener Susannah Strazzera to see how to make a virtue of every possible garden location. Gain insights into soil amelioration and learn some of the tricks used by the Wave Hill gardeners to cultivate finicky plants such as alpines and those from Mediterranean regions. This new series is inspired by the fall 2019 publication Nature into Art: The Gardens of Wave Hill. $55; Wave Hill Members save 10%. Registration required, online at wavehill.org or at the Perkins Visitor Center.

Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Fri, November 1

Garden Highlights Walk

Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 1PM

Sat, November 2

NO FAMILY ART PROJECT

The Family Art Project resumes Saturday, November 9.

Sat, November 2

Gallery Tour

Tour Glyndor Gallery with Wave Hill’s Curatorial Assistant or Gallery Greeter to get an insider’s view of current exhibitions. A flower’s life cycle of budding, blooming and pollinating, as well as its process of decay, strongly echoes the human condition. The exhibition Figuring the Floral features artists who apply this symbolism to their work—touching on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, aging and other facets of identity. Participating artists are Derrick AdamsNicole AwaiBahar BehbahaniChristian Ruiz BermanSanford Biggers, Cecile ChongMax Colby, Abigail DeVilleValerie HegartyChristopher K. Ho and Kevin ZuckerDiana LozanoNatalia NakazawaEbony G. PattersonBundith PhunsombatlertLina PuertaSimonette QuaminaDavid Rios FerreiraAlexandria SmithKatherine ToukhyLina Iris ViktorWilliam Villalongo and Saya Woolfalk. Free with admission to the grounds.

Glyndor Gallery, 2PM

Sat, November 2

Artist-Led Woodland Walk

Sharpen your senses and trace-water-flow in the woodland with generated@wavehill artist Bahar Behbahani. Located on the Conifer Slope and in the Herbert and Hyonja Abrons Woodland, her project, All water has a perfect memory., connects us to the world's contested rivers and reminds us that the flow of water, the flow of people, and the migration of seeds and plants takes its own course. This event is free with admission to the grounds but registration is recommended, online at wavehill.org or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center.

Meet at Wave Hill House, 3PM

Sun, November 3

NO FAMILY ART PROJECT

The Family Art Project resumes Saturday, November 9.

Sun, November 3

Forest Bathing: Celebrating Change and the Changing Seasons

Inspired by the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, forest bathing boosts your immune system and cardiovascular strength, reduces stress, and improves cognitive functioning while deepening your relationship to nature. Contemplate the changes in the fall landscape and your own body as certified forest therapist Gerti Schoen guides you on a reflective walk through Wave Hill’s gardens and trails. Adults only, please. $30; Wave Hill Members save 10%. Registration suggested, online at wavehill.org or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center.

Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 10AM–1PM

Sun, November 3

Youth Art Workshop: Art from NatureEngineering Drawing Tools *SOLD OUT*

Dig in to nature, art and science during this three-day, drop-off workshop where youth ages eight to 12 will design, create and use sculptural drawing tools constructed from natural materials. Bronx artist Rosemarie Fiore—and former Winter Workspace artist—joins Wave Hill educators in guiding participants in an exciting exploration of the natural wonders found in the garden’s woodlands, while teaching valuable engineering principles and art techniques. Participants put their newfound knowledge and creativity to use by producing a collaborative artwork with the drawing tools they make themselves. Ages eight to 12. Space is limited! $10; Registration required, online at wavehill.org or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. The series continues November 10 and 17. This program is partially funded through Bronx Council on the Arts.

Meet at Front Gate, 10AM–NOON

Sun, November 3

Garden Highlights Walk

Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 2PM

Mon, November 4

Wave Hill is closed.

Tue, November 5

Gallery Tour

Tour Glyndor Gallery with Wave Hill’s Curatorial Assistant or Gallery Greeter to get an insider’s view of current exhibitions. A flower’s life cycle of budding, blooming and pollinating, as well as its process of decay, strongly echoes the human condition. The exhibition Figuring the Floral features artists who apply this symbolism to their work—touching on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, aging and other facets of identity. Participating artists are Derrick AdamsNicole AwaiBahar BehbahaniChristian Ruiz BermanSanford Biggers, Cecile ChongMax Colby, Abigail DeVilleValerie HegartyChristopher K. Ho and Kevin ZuckerDiana LozanoNatalia NakazawaEbony G. PattersonBundith PhunsombatlertLina PuertaSimonette QuaminaDavid Rios FerreiraAlexandria SmithKatherine ToukhyLina Iris ViktorWilliam Villalongo and Saya Woolfalk. Free with admission to the grounds.

Glyndor Gallery, 2PM

Wed, November 6

Fall Foliage Walk

Enjoy colorful foliage at its seasonal peak. Senior Horticultural Interpreter Charles Day shares some of his favorite trees and shrubs in their vibrant fall finery. Free with admission to the grounds.

Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 1PM

Thu, November 7

Garden Highlights Walk

Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 1 PM


                         
A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM–5:30PM, March 15–October 31. Closes 4:30PM, starting November 1.

ADMISSION – $10 adults, $6 students and seniors 65+, $4 children 6–18. Free Saturday and Tuesday mornings until noon. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES – Programs are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at http://mta.info/mnr/html/getaways/outbound_wavehill.htm
  
DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the W. 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at www.wavehill.org/visit/.

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at www.wavehill.org.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Bronx Man Charged With 2011 Murder


  Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging RANDY MARTINEZ, a/k/a “Rampage,” with the October 17, 2011, murder of Davon Jackson.  MARTINEZ was presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.  This case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.   

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged in the Indictment, Randy Martinez exchanged gunfire with members of a rival gang, during which 16-year-old Davon Jackson was shot in the head and killed.  On the eight-year anniversary of Jackson’s death, the defendant now faces prosecution for this terrible crime, thanks to the persistence of our partners at the NYPD.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill stated:  “Today’s indictment comes eight years to the day after a 16-year-old was struck by gunfire and killed in the Bronx.  The NYPD will never tolerate gangs and the violence that they are too often responsible for.  I thank the detectives and our law enforcement partners for their tireless work in this case.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court[1]
MARTINEZ was a member of the Young Gunnaz, a violent gang operating in the Bronx, New York, that engaged in narcotics trafficking and acts of violence, including murder and attempted murder.  On October 17, 2011, MARTINEZ exchanged gunfire with members of a rival gang in the vicinity of 146th Street and Third Avenue in the Bronx, New York, during which Davon Jackson, 16, was shot in the head and killed. 
Martinez, 28, of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or death, and a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison, and one count of using a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting the same, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or death, and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.  The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD.
The charges contained in the Indictment 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 Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

U.S. Attorney Announces Multiple Charges Against Bronx Tax Preparer


  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (“IRS-CI”), announced today the arrest of LORENZO ALMANZAR for preparing fraudulent tax returns containing more than $400,000 in fraudulent deductions and making false statements to federal agents.  ALMANZAR was presented in Manhattan federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Lorenzo Almanzar used his accounting skills to bilk the government of thousands of dollars.  Almanzar now faces 30 counts of criminal tax charges, and the possibility of time behind bars.”
IRS-CI New York Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen said:  “Well-intentioned taxpayers can be victimized by tax return preparers who mislead people into taking credits or deductions they aren’t entitled to in order to increase their fee or burnish their reputation.  As Almanzar learned today when he was arrested, there are serious consequences for allegedly defrauding his clients.  IRS-CI special agents are committed to identifying and prosecuting unscrupulous tax return preparers.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court[1]:
From 2014 through 2017, ALMANZAR owned and operated a business called Future International Corp. (“Future”) in the Bronx, New York, which purported to offer tax preparation services.  As alleged in the Complaint, ALMANZAR prepared fraudulent returns that fabricated and falsely overstated various items, including, among other things, medical expenses, charitable expenses, and unreimbursed employee business expenses.  Additionally, ALMANZAR made false statements to federal agents during the course of their investigation into those fraudulent returns.
ALMANZAR prepared multiple fraudulent tax returns containing more than $400,000 in fraudulent deductions, which resulted in a tax loss of at least $57,000.
ALMANZAR, 63, of White Plains, New York, is charged with 30 counts of aiding and assisting the preparation of false and fraudulent tax returns, each of which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, and one count of making false statements to federal agents, 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 the defendant will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of Special Agents from IRS-CI.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Jarrod L. Schaeffer is in charge of the prosecution.
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 descriptions of the Complaint constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Police-involved Shooting in the 52 Precinct, Bronx October 17, 2019



 Remarks as Prepared for Chief of Department Terence Monahan

Good evening. With me tonight is the Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison, Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen, the Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Bronx, and Deputy Inspector Thomas Alps, Commanding Officer of the 52nd Precinct.
Before I provide a briefing, I want to remind everyone that the information I am about to provide is preliminary and is subject to change as we are only a few hours into the investigation.
Earlier this afternoon in the Bronx, at approximately 3 pm, three officers in uniform, in a marked police vehicle, assigned to the 52 Precinct, observed an SUV occupied by two individuals traveling in the area of Bainbridge Avenue, approaching East 211 Street with the driver of the vehicle not wearing a seatbelt.
At this time, the officers turned on their police emergency lights and initiated a car stop. After turning right onto East 211 Street the vehicle stopped for the officers. Two police officers approached the car on the driver's side and a sergeant approached the vehicle on the passenger side. Using their department smartphones, the officers determined that the driver of the vehicle had three open warrants. The officers then directed the man to exit the vehicle so he could be placed under arrest.
As the officers attempted to arrest him outside the vehicle, the man physically resisted and got back into the car.
While both front doors of the car were still open, the male initiated a violent struggle. The sergeant immediately deployed his taser for multiple cycles. While it appeared to be a successful deployment it failed to end the struggle.
During the struggle, the man shifted the car into drive, moving the car forward and backwards, with the sergeant still inside the vehicle.
When the car was put in reverse, the officer on the driver's side had to release his grip on the male and jump out of the way to avoid getting struck by the car. The driver's door then quickly closed.
This violent struggle between the male and the officers lasted approximately one and a half minutes before the shot was fired.
At this time the sergeant fired one round from his service weapon striking the male in the chest. The officers then began to render aid.
The male was pronounced deceased at Saint Barnabas Hospital.
The passenger, who was in the vehicle during the encounter, was unharmed.
All three officers were taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
This incident occurred less than three hours ago and the investigation is ongoing. What we can tell you at this time is the male was found with a substantial amount of narcotics consisting of what appears to be cocaine, heroin and molly on him.

Johnson & Johnson And Subsidiary To Pay $117 Million Settlement After Endangering Women's Health


Consumers Misled About Safety, Effectiveness, and Potential Risks of Transvaginal Mesh Devices

 New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced a multistate settlement, along with 41 additional attorneys general, requiring Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon, Inc. to pay nearly $117 million for the deceptive marketing of transvaginal surgical mesh devices that endangered the health of women across New York and the rest of the nation. A multistate investigation found the companies violated state consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the safety and effectiveness of the devices and failing to sufficiently disclose risks associated with their use.

“Health and safety must come before profits,” Attorney General James said. “While Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary were putting income before the health of people in need of care, women were put in danger. My office will never waver in its efforts to hold companies accountable for risking the health of its consumers.”
Transvaginal surgical mesh is a synthetic material that is surgically implanted through the vagina to support the pelvic organs of women who suffer from stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. 
The multistate investigation found the companies misrepresented or failed to adequately disclose the products’ possible side effects, including the risk of chronic pain and inflammation, mesh erosion through the vagina, incontinence developing after surgery, painful sexual relations, and vaginal scarring. Evidence shows that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary were aware of the possibility for serious medical complications but did not provide sufficient warnings to consumers or surgeons who implanted the devices.
Under the settlement, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $116.86 million to the 41 participating states and the District of Columbia. New York State will receive $5,203,122.50 under the settlement.
The settlement also provides injunctive relief, requiring full disclosure of the device’s risks and accurate information on promotional material, in addition to the product’s “information for use” package inserts.
Among the specific requirements, the companies must:
  • Refrain from referring to the mesh as “FDA approved,” when that is not the case.
  • Refrain from representing, in promotions, that risks associated with mesh can be eliminated with surgical experience or technique alone.
  • Ensure that product training provided to medical professionals covers the risks associated with the mesh.
  • Stop claiming: that surgical mesh stretches or remains soft after implantation, that foreign body reactions are temporary, and that foreign body reactions “may” occur, when studies show that they do, in fact, occur.
  • Disclose that mesh risks include: fistula formation and inflammation, as well as mesh extrusion, exposure, and erosion into the vagina and other organs.
  • Disclose risks of: tissue contraction, pain with intercourse, loss of sexual function, urge incontinence, de novo incontinence, infection following transvaginal implantation, and vaginal scarring.
  • Disclose that risks include that revision surgeries: may be necessary to treat complications, may not resolve complications, and are also associated with a risk of adverse reactions.
Joining Attorney General James in this multistate settlement are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

Attorney General James Announces Sentencing Of Former Hospital Employee For Stealing Over $500,000


  New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the state prison sentence of Wendell Lewis, 32, of Brooklyn, NY, for stealing over $500,000 from two hospital systems: Interfaith Medical Center, a Brooklyn-based not-for-profit community hospital that recently came out of bankruptcy, and New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Earlier today, the Honorable Danny Chun of Brooklyn Supreme Court sentenced Lewis to two-and-one-half years to five years in prison following Lewis’ August 7th guilty pleas to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, and Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class E felony. 

“It is unconscionable that an individual would steal from hospitals that serve such an important and necessary role in the Central Brooklyn community,” said Attorney General James. “My office will continue to hold fraudsters accountable for stealing from institutions serving our most vulnerable citizens because this behavior will never be tolerated.”
The investigation conducted by the Office of the New York Attorney General identified that Lewis — while working in the payroll department of the two hospitals between 2015 and 2018 — engaged in a scheme to fraudulently direct monies from the hospitals to bank accounts he set-up using the personal identification of other persons. In 2012, Lewis was convicted of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree for committing similar conduct when he worked in the payroll department at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, which is also located in Brooklyn. 
Between 2015 and 2018, Lewis allegedly used 14 fraudulent bank accounts in the names of other persons to steal over $500,000 from the hospitals. After the transfer of the stolen monies to Lewis’ controlled bank accounts, Lewis used the debit cards associated with those accounts to withdraw over $546,000 in cash from ATM machines throughout New York City. 
A review of Lewis’ personal bank accounts revealed that he used the stolen monies, in part, to live a lavish lifestyle, including taking multiple trips to the Caribbean; going on shopping sprees at high end stores like Barney’s, Zara, Burberry, and Gucci; and dining at some of New York City’s premier restaurants.
As part of the defendant’s sentence, Lewis forfeited over $129,000 that was seized by the Office of the New York Attorney General and executed a confession judgement for $325,000.
The Office of the New York Attorney General wishes to thank the State Department of Financial Services (DFS) for their assistance with this matter.
“Today, justice was done and although this can never undo the damage inflicted on these communities, we continue to stand ready to assist our hard-working law enforcement partners in holding accountable those who exploit our vulnerable communities or use our financial systems to commit crimes,” added DFS Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell.
The Office of the New York Attorney General also thanks DFS Investigator Albert Flowers for his assistance in the matter.

BRONX MAN AND WOMAN INDICTED FOR KIDNAPPING AND BEATING MAN IN BODEGA BASEMENT


Defendants Allegedly Kept Man Captive for Three Days; Possessed Multiple Weapons

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a man and a woman have been indicted on Kidnapping, Robbery, Assault and additional charges for beating and holding a man hostage in a Bronx bodega. 

  District Attorney Clark said, “The defendants allegedly took part in a series of atrocious acts. They kept a man in a basement against his will in handcuffs for days and inflicted injuries on him, at times with a knife and a heavy object. Luckily the victim was found by NYPD Police Officers who were on patrol in the area.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendants, Orinthia Gifford, 49, and Richard Millwood, 35, both of 4160 Digney Avenue, were arraigned on six counts of first-degree Kidnapping, two counts of second-degree Kidnapping, first-degree Unlawful Imprisonment, three counts of second-degree Assault, two counts of second-degree Robbery, third-degree Robbery, fourthdegree Grand Larceny and six counts of fourth-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. Gifford was arraigned today before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Miriam Best. Millwood was arraigned on October 8, 2019. Bail was continued at $75,000 cash/$75,000 bond for Gifford and $250,000 cash/$250,000 bond for Millwood. The defendants are due back in court on December 11, 2019.

 According to the investigation, on the evening of September 7, 2019 the victim, Ansumana Sesay, 49, was on White Plains Road when Millwood and two unapprehended individuals allegedly put him in a vehicle and took him to a bodega located at 1724 Bussing Avenue, which is owned by Gifford. Once inside Gifford allegedly hit Sesay in the head with an unknown heavy object and ordered the three other men to take the victim to the basement. They allegedly held Sesay against his will in the basement between September 7, 2019 and September 10, 2019. The victim and the defendants are known to each other.

 According to the investigation, on September 10, 2019, police officers were pursuing an individual wanted in an unrelated case and the individual ran into the bodega where Sesay was being held. The officers received consent to enter the store and searched the basement, where they discovered Sesay with visible injuries.

 The defendants allegedly possessed several weapons, including a rifle, a 9-mm firearm, a knife, a machete, an unknown heavy object and a lighter. They also had personal property allegedly stolen from the victim, including his cell phone and cash.

 District Attorney Clark thanked Bronx DA Chief of Detective Investigators Frank Chiara, and Bronx DA Supervising Detective Investigator Rocco Galasso, Bronx DA Senior Investigator John Wall, and Detective Investigator Anai Tamarez. District Attorney Clark also thanked NYPD Detective Valerie Guzman and NYPD Police Officer Austin Hieronymi, both of the 47th Precinct, for their assistance in the investigation.

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

BRONX MAN INDICTED IN STABBING OF WOMAN WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND BADLY DECOMPOSED IN UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS APARTMENT


 Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Bronx man has been indicted for Murder and Manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “The defendant allegedly stabbed the victim, his girlfriend, in the apartment they shared. First responders discovered the victim’s body severely decomposed in the bedroom.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Luis Severino, 49, of 2414 University Avenue, was arraigned today on second-degree Murder and first-degree Manslaughter before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Robert Torres. The defendant was returned to Federal Custody where he is held on an unrelated matter and is due back in court on October 30, 2019.

 According to the investigation, on or about and between June 13, 2019 and July 12, 2019, the defendant caused the death of Cindi Olivo, 32, by stabbing her in the neck. The defendant fled the scene, and the victim’s body was found on July 12, 2019 after neighbors called 911 to report a foul odor on their building floor. 

 The defendant was arrested on October 15, 2019 after an investigation.

 District Attorney Clark thanked NYPD Detective Anthony Velez of the Bronx Homicide Squad and NYPD Detective Anthony Caltabiano of the 52nd Precinct for their assistance in the investigation.

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.