Saturday, December 12, 2020

VACCINE: MAYOR DE BLASIO OUTLINES EQUITY PLAN AND LAUNCHES COMMAND CENTER


With equity at the forefront, new Vaccine Command Center will coordinate distribution and outreach citywide 

 Mayor de Blasio and the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity outlined the City’s Vaccine Equity Plan and launched the vaccine command center. Through targeted outreach and a network of trusted community messengers, the City will ensure equitable vaccine distribution to the 27 hardest-hit neighborhoods identified by the Task Force. The City will also stand up a dedicated Vaccine Command Center, led by Deputy Mayor Hartzog and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dave Chokshi, to coordinate vaccine distribution across the city.  Through the Center, the City will track critical metrics on vaccine coverage, with a priority focus on the 27 neighborhoods. 

“A vaccine must be distributed equally to be effective," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “COVID-19 has exposed our city's most painful disparities, and we are addressing those inequities head-on and making a vaccine available for all New Yorkers."

 

"As our City navigates the path to recovery, the families and communities that have been negatively and disproportionately affected must be in the forefront of our efforts to distribute the vaccine.” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “When we established the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, we set out to identify immediate and long term solutions to help heal and strengthen these communities. With a vaccine on the horizon, it’s time for all of us to engage deeply and rebuild even stronger.”

 

The City will use NYCHA space—including NYC Health + Hospitals clinics—to vaccinate priority populations, following the successful partnership model the City established with NYCHA for COVID-19 testing. Through a broader outreach effort, the City will work with NYCHA residents, community partners, and faith leaders to spread accurate and trustworthy information about the vaccine and improve the distribution process. 

 

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will also host virtual conversations with residents in the 27 neighborhoods and community leaders to share information on vaccine planning and provide opportunities for community members to raise questions and concerns. Community partners will have access to a training model, allowing them to serve as trusted messengers and hold webinars and community conversations on the City’s vaccine plan information and updates

 

The Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity will also establish a subcommittee to focus on vaccine distribution in the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods and engage their robust network of over 200 community organizations to ensure effective outreach. Their work will inform the City’s Vaccine Equity Principles, a set of commitments to ensure the vaccine is accessible to priority populations, with the obligation to continually solicit feedback from hardest-hit neighborhoods throughout the distribution process.

 

Headquartered at 253 Broadway, the Vaccine Command Center—a joint initiative between DOHMH, NYC Health + Hospitals, The Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity Task Force, the Mayor's Office for Community and Faith Partnerships, Public Engagement Unit, and other agencies—will provide real-time troubleshooting and rapid response across public and private providers, including urgent cares, private pharmacies, hospitals, and community vaccination sites. To build trust in a safe and effective vaccine, the Command Center will deploy Test & Trace Corps members and DOHMH outreach teams citywide.  These teams will coordinate with elected officials and community leaders on neighborhood vaccination drives. They will also support the Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity and NYCHA to publicize official, science-based messaging.

 

The City is expected to receive 465,000 doses of the vaccine by the beginning of January. In accordance with State and CDC guidelines, the initial expected doses will be given to nursing homes and health care personnel performing high-risk activities. The first shipments of the vaccine will be sent to hospitals, who have the capacity for ultracold storage, which is required for the Pfizer vaccine. Other healthcare personnel will receive the vaccine next. 

Taskforce Appoints Melanie Hartzog as Co-Chair

Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog will now serve as a Co-Chair to the Taskforce on Racial Equity & Inclusion. In her role, Hartzog is responsible for City’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the City’s social services continue to support every New Yorker, especially those experiencing homelessness. 

“Our City’s recovery depends on us addressing the disparities from COVID-19” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog. “Equity is at the heart of our vaccination plan, which is why we continue to do everything we can to maximize trust and ensure access to communities hardest hit by the pandemic.”

 

“For decades, racist policies and unjust practices have left communities of color and low-income neighborhoods with limited resources and opportunities, which makes equity crucial to the response,” said First Deputy Health Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer Dr. Torian Easterling. “We are partnering with more than 200 community organizations to earn the trust of the community—something that history has stripped of too many government entities.”


The Bronx Democratic Party - Will you volunteer for DELETED?

 

EDITOR'S NOTE:

We received this from the Bronx Democratic Party to help a candidate in the 12th City Council District Special Election called for December 22nd by Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

The Chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party State Senator Jamaal Bailey has some gall asking us to support his candidate when the media, or at least this member of the media will be impartial in the 12th City Council Special Election.

It is in the Bronx Democratic Party by-laws September 30, 2020 Article III Executive Committee, Section 3-2.7 Removal - any member of the Executive Committee may be removed from such office pursuant to the provisions of Election Law of the State of New York. A district leader is a member of the Executive Committee of the Bronx Democratic Party.

We are waiting for the Senator Jamaal Bailey as the Bronx Democratic County Leader to remove District Leader Marcos Sierra for breaking two New York State Election Laws Title IV S 401-5, and Title IV S 402-3 on Election Day, and what an officer of the Bronx Democratic Party executive cabinet called a racially charged statement by candidate for City Council Marcos Sierra on his official City Council Facebook page below.  

đź“·Author
Marcos A. Sierra - Candidate for City Council D11
So you feel either of those contests can better benefit
from an older white cis male running to represent a
majority minority district huh?Robert Press.

The email from the Bronx Democratic Party.

Good evening,

Early voting in the 12th Council District starts 
tomorrow, and DELETED needs our help. If you 
are available to volunteer for a few hours this 
Saturday or Sunday, please email DELETED or 
call DELETED.

Remember, TOGETHER we can do great things!

Sincerely,
The Bronx Democratic Party
Bronx Democratic Party | 1534 Boone Avenue BRONX, NY 10460

Michael Beltzer - Raise a Seltzer for Idiot Beltzer!


EDITOR'S NOTE:We have deleted any reference or link to any donation for this candidate, but we wanted it to be known that just like Marcos Sierra this idiot who also has no chance of winning thinks he can make fun of another ethnic group in the Bronx.

 

Dear Friends,

What do you know about The Bronx? Who is it named after? What area was whites only? Join us on Thursday the 17 for a fun trivia night hosted by The Bronx's own Roman "The FunnyLatino" Suarez. 

Yours in Service,

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - DECEMBER 11, 2020

 

5,321 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,007 Patients in the ICU; 546 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 4.98%

87 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have said from day one, for us, to properly combat this virus, it requires a constant calibration. We want as much economic activity as possible, but also respect public health and the cost of the virus. Some states have had these dramatic opens and closes, full open, full close, full open, full close. I think that's highly disruptive and it's not the best way to go through this," Governor Cuomo said. "Our approach has been different, where we've always been following the data and the metrics and we have more data than any other state. We also want to be the most efficient, most effective state in the United States in terms of vaccinations. Last night, the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force unanimously approved the FDA's decision to go forward with the vaccine. Obviously there was no delay whatsoever in the timing, and New Yorkers will have more confidence. Now it's time for the federal government to step up, do its job, and make the changes necessary for ensuring its vaccine distribution plan is fair for everyone - no matter their race or economic standing. If the Trump Administration doesn't make the changes necessary, I believe that it is illegal, and we'll pursue that course, because we don't want, what will prove to be one of the most massive governmental undertakings in history, to get off to a bad start."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 212,672
  • Positive Test Results - 10,595
  • Positivity - 4.98 %
  • Patient Hospitalization - 5,321 (+157)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 764
  • Hospital Counties - 55
  • Number ICU - 1,007 (+13)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 546 (+7)
  • Total Discharges - 90,152 (+552)
  • Deaths - 87
  • Total Deaths - 27,587

Morris Park Christmas Tree Lighting

 

People were gathered on the corner of Morris Park Avenue and Tomlinson Avenue to see the lighting of the Morris Park Christmas Tree. This year was different from past years where the sidewalk was overflowing with people, and the chorus from one of the local schools would be singing Christmas Carols, this was the year of CoronaVirus where people were told not to gather in large groups, and to socially distance themselves while wearing face masks. 

The pandemic however could not stop the lighting of the Morris Park Christmas Tree at Loreto Park. On hand were Councilman Mark Gjonaj, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez, District Leader Irene Estrada, and Community Board 11 Chair and President of the Morris Park Community Association Al D'Angelo, along with enough community people who would not miss the lighting of the Morris Park Christmas Tree.

Also on hand was the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas, this year with a virus, but Santa showed up to take care of the mean old Grinch, and light the Christmas tree.

Above - Community Board 11 Chair and President of the Morris Park Community Association Al D'Angelo with his wife Chris are with Councilman Mark Gjonaj.

Below - Estrella with her children Linda and Ariana pose with Santa Claus in front of the lit Morris Park Christmas Tree. 





Above - Santa stands with one of his Reindeer (Farah), and Camelia Tepelus the Executive Director of the Morris Park BID.

Below - Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez with her District Leader Irene Estrada standing in front of the Grinch and Santa.





A group photo with Santa, the Grinch, Councilman Mark Gjonaj, District Leader Irene Estrada, Camelia Tepelus of the Morris Park BID, and some of the children on hand. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Mondays with Michael - **School Reopening Call with Superintendents and Other Special Guests!**

 

We Suggest that you view this and call in to soon to be former Assemblyman Michael Blake and his roundtable of Bronx public school educators.

You may want to ask them why Bronx public school students are performing below 70% while public school student in the other four borough are performing over 80%.
 
That was before the Pandemic, the gap has become bigger.


**REMINDER!**

Monday, December 14, 2020 @ 6PM


To join us, visit the Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/95478393745


Please contact Assembly Member Blake's office at 

718-538-3829 or email us at help79districtbx@gmail.com 

to RSVP or to raise any questions or concerns.

Morris Park Menorah Lighting

 

In Jewish religion the day begins at sundown, so Thursday night was the first day of Chanukah with Loreto Park as the site to light the Morris Park Menorah. Rabbi Saabia Pewzner was joined by Councilman Mark Gjonaj, New York State Assembly members Michael Benedetto and Nathalia Fernandez, Female District Leader Irene Estrada, Steve Glosser of the Bronx Jewish Community Council, and members of the Morris Park community. 

Rabbi Pewzner showed a video of Chanukah around the world and then spoke about the holiday here. Councilman Gjonaj, Assemblyman Benedetto, Assemblywoman Fernandez, and District Leader Estrada all spoke, and then it was on to light the middle and ninth candle that is used to light the other candles one more each day of the holiday. Only one other candle to signify the first night of Chanukah was lit. Assemblywoman Fernandez lit the middle candle, and Rabbi Pewzner lit the end candle for day one of Chanukah. Each night another candle is lit until the eight day when all eight candles plus the middle candle are lit. 



Above - Rabbi Pewzner explains the holiday of Chanukah as Councilman Mark Gjonaj stands next to him.

Below - Assemblyman Michael Benedetto whose district Loreto Park is located in says a few words about Chanukah , and what the holiday means to him.





Above - District Leader Irene Estrada a member of the 49th Precinct Clergy Coalition speaks about the holiday called the Festival of Lights.

Below - Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez goes up the ladder to light the middle candle of the Menorah.



Above - Rabbi Pewzner lights the end candle only for the first day of Chanukah. 
Below - A group photo with Rabbi Pewzner's children in the front
row, (L - R) Rabbi Pewzner's wife, Assemblywoman Fernandez, District Leader Estrada, Councilman Gjonaj, Steve Glosser of the BJCC, Rabbi Pewzner, and Assemblyman Benedetto in front of the menorah with just the middle and right candles lit on the first day of Chanukah. 



Thursday, December 10, 2020

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Additional Distribution Of More Than $488 Million To Victims Of Madoff Ponzi Scheme

 

Payments Are the Sixth Distribution in a Series of Payments That Together Will Constitute the Largest Payment of Forfeited Funds in the History of the Department of Justice’s Victim Compensation Program

 Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Attorney General Bill Barr, Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that the Madoff Victim Fund established by the Department of Justice began its sixth distribution to victims of funds forfeited to the United States Government in connection with the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“BLMIS”) fraud scheme.  The distribution will include approximately $488 million in additional funds, bringing the total distributed to date to almost $3.2 billion.  The funds will be sent to nearly 37,000 victims worldwide, the sixth payment to victims that will bring their total recovery from all sources of compensation to 80.05% of their losses.  The Madoff Victim Fund will ultimately return to victims more than $4 billion in assets that have been recovered as compensation for losses suffered by the collapse of BLMIS, following the largest fraud in history.  Another $5 billion in assets recovered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office are being separately paid to Madoff victims through the BLMIS Customer Fund administered by the Securities Investor Protection Act Trustee.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “This Office continues its efforts to seek justice for victims of history’s largest Ponzi scheme.  Today’s additional payments of more than $488 million by this Office and the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section represent the sixth in a series of distributions that will leave victims with compensation for more than 80 percent of their losses.  That is an extraordinary level of recovery for a Ponzi scheme—but our work is not yet finished, and the Office’s tireless commitment to compensating the victims who suffered as a result of Madoff’s heinous crimes continues.”

Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt said:  “With the $488 million distributed today, the department has now returned almost $3.2 billion to Madoff’s victims, allowing them to recover more than 80 percent of what they lost.  This exceptional work – and there is more to come – has been made possible by the department’s steadfast commitment to the pursuit of the proceeds of fraud through civil forfeiture.”  

Since the early 1970s, BERNARD L. MADOFF (“MADOFF”) used his position as Chairman of BLMIS, the investment advisory business he founded, to steal billions from his clients. On March 12, 2009, MADOFF pled guilty to 11 federal felonies, admitting that he had turned his wealth management business into the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, benefitting himself, his family, and select members of his inner circle. On June 29, 2009, United States District Judge Denny Chin sentenced MADOFF to 150 years in prison for running the largest fraudulent scheme in history. Judge Chin ordered MADOFF to forfeit $170,799,000,000 as part of MADOFF’s sentence.   

The Madoff Victim Fund is funded through recoveries by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in various criminal and civil forfeiture actions, and is overseen by Richard Breeden, the former Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, in his capacity as Special Master appointed by the Department of Justice to assist in connection with the victim remission proceedings.

Of the approximately $4.05 billion that will be made available to victims through the Madoff Victim Fund, approximately $2.2 billion was collected as part of the civil forfeiture recovery from the estate of deceased MADOFF investor Jeffry Picower. An additional $1.7 billion was collected as part of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. for MADOFF-related Bank Secrecy Act violations. Additional funds were collected through criminal and civil forfeiture actions against MADOFF and his co-conspirators, and certain MADOFF investors.

Ms. Strauss praised the work of the FBI and the Madoff Victim Fund, and thanked the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division for their assistance.

For more information about the Madoff Victim Fund, compensation to victims of BLMIS, eligibility criteria, and payment information, please visit www.madoffvictimfund.com.

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - DECEMBER 10, 2020

 

5,164 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

994 Patients in the ICU; 539 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 5.15%

92 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"As we continue to see the number COVID-19 cases surge across the nation, it is beyond critical that we ensure hospitals, and hospital systems as a whole, have developed additional capacity and are prepared to work cooperatively with each other to prevent any one facility from becoming overwhelmed. With this work already underway through the state's Surge and Flex program, we also continue to fight to ensure the vaccine's distribution is as fair and equitable as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine will undoubtedly go down as one of the most massive governmental operations in history, yet the federal distribution plan remains misguided and completely overlooks underserved communities. If this distribution of the vaccine is to truly be successful, the federal government must improve its plan immediately and ensure black, brown, and low income communities are not left behind. The time is now to make these corrections, we simply cannot wait any longer."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 197,406
  • Positive Test Results - 10,178
  • Positivity - 5.15%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 5,164 (+171)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 765
  • Hospital Counties - 55
  • Number ICU - 994 (+42)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 539 (+18)
  • Total Discharges - 89,600 (+511)
  • Deaths - 92
  • Total Deaths - 27,498

“Diamond Enterprise” Members And Associates Indicted For Racketeering, Gambling, Extortion, Fraud, Money Laundering, And Obstruction Offenses

 

Enterprise Members and Co-Defendants Charged with an Array of Crimes Including Extortion and Fraud on the Federal Paycheck Protection Program

 Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Dermot Shea, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Eastern Region Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA-OIG”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging 16 defendants in counts including racketeering, gambling, extortion, fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice offenses.  Of the 16 defendants, ABDURAMAN ISENI, a/k/a “Diamond,” ERVIN MAKISHTI, a/k/a “Vinny,” SOKOL GJONI, MIRALEM LJULJANOVIC, and JETMIR SULAJ, are associated with a racketeering enterprise referred to in the Indictment as the “Diamond Enterprise,” a criminal group overseen by ISENI, and are charged in United States v. Iseniet al. (the “Indictment”), which has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Carter.  

Eleven additional defendants are charged in the Indictment with various offenses, many relating to the operations of the overarching Diamond Enterprise, including extortion, operation of illegal gambling establishments, money laundering, bank fraud, fraud on the federal Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), and obstruction of justice. Specifically:

  • ISENI, MAKISHTI, GJONI, LJULJANOVIC, SULAJ, ELDI MAKISHTI, ENRI DIMO, a/k/a “Eni,” DARREN DANZIERI, AMIR BECOVIC, and RAFAEL JACOBS are charged with conspiring to operate illegal gambling businesses, including live poker, electronic poker machines, and gambling on sporting events.
  • ISENI, MAKISHTI, GJONI, LJULJANOVIC, ISLAM LAMCE, a/k/a “Bachi,” BRAJAN TOLA, GAZMEND LITA, and SMAIL DJOKIC, a/k/a “Ismail Gjoka” are charged with conspiring to transmit wagering information by wire communication facility to assist in the placing of bets and wagers on sporting events. 
  • ISENI and BESIM KUKAJ are charged with conspiring to commit extortion and interstate threats, extortion, and interstate threats in connection with ISENI’s call to a victim threatening physical violence.
  • KUKAJ is charged with bank fraud conspiracy, as part of a scheme to obtain Government-guaranteed loans from banks via the fraud on the Paycheck Protection Program, a law intended to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • ISENI is charged with money laundering funds that were represented to be the proceeds of a scheme to fraudulently obtain Paycheck Protection Program funds.
  • MELSA SKRAPALLIU is charged with obstruction of justice for false statements made to a federal law enforcement officer in order to interfere with an investigation of ISENI.
  • ISENI and SKRAPALLIU are charged with bank fraud conspiracy and making false statements to a bank. 

ISENI, ERVIN MAKISHTI, GJONI, LJULJANOVIC, SULAJ, ELDI MAKISHTI, DIMO, DANZIERI, JACOBS, TOLA, DJOKIC, KUKAJ, and SKRAPALLIU were taken into federal custody today and will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn of the Southern District of New York.  LITA, LAMCE, and BECOVIC remain at large.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Abduraman Iseni and his co-defendants allegedly operated a network of underground gambling establishments, and laundered the proceeds of that activity, to prop up a criminal enterprise under Iseni’s control.  Going well beyond that racketeering activity, Iseni and others allegedly engaged in a variety of crimes, including extortion through violent threats, obstruction of justice, fraud on legitimate financial institutions, and fraud on the critical Paycheck Protection Program.  They now face the possibility of serious time in prison for their alleged crimes.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “The organization we’ve disrupted with our enforcement action today is a textbook example of an organized-crime group.  As we allege, the crimes these men committed ran the gamut from running illegal gambling operations to making extortionate threats to defrauding the government of PPP benefits intended for honest Americans suffering economic harm during the pandemic.  While these men did all they could to avoid making an honest living, the outstanding work done by the FBI’s New York Balkan Organized Crime team ensures they won’t be able to avoid facing justice.”

SBA-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite said: “The Paycheck Protection Program was developed to aide small businesses during these challenging times. Our Office will relentlessly pursue organized criminal enterprises that seek to exploit SBA’s vital economic programs. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said: “The web of alleged crimes unveiled by this federal indictment victimized everyday New Yorkers, undercut a federal aid program and eroded the fabric of life in the city. I commend our NYPD detective and federal partners for their sustained work in this important case.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and statements made during Court proceedings:

As alleged, the Diamond Enterprise was an organized criminal group operating under the direction of ISENI, who had substantial influence in the criminal underworld.  The Diamond Enterprise operated through groups of individuals, often with overlapping members or associates, dedicated to particular criminal tasks, particularly operation of illegal gambling parlors, sports gambling by wire, and money laundering, among others.  For their roles in leading and managing the Diamond Enterprise’s criminal activities, ABDURAMAN ISENI, a/k/a “Diamond,” ERVIN MAKISHTI, a/k/a “Vinny,” SOKOL GJONI, MIRALEM LJULJANOVIC, and JETMIR SULAJ are charged in Count One of the Indictment with racketeering conspiracy.  The Diamond Enterprise thrived in part on the revenues generated by a network of illegal gambling parlors – “Sports CafĂ©,” “Friendly CafĂ©,” and “Oasis CafĂ©” – located throughout Brooklyn, that hosted underground poker games and hosted illegal sports books. Some of these revenues, in turn, were laundered through a series of bank accounts in an effort to conceal and facilitate the Enterprise’s continued operations.

            In addition to the Enterprise’s operations, ISENI allegedly engaged in a series of additional crimes ranging from extortion through threats of violence, to money laundering, to fraud on the PPP.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of hundreds of billions of dollars in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the SBA’s PPP.  As alleged, defendant KUKAJ engaged in a fraud to obtain PPP loan funds, which ISENI then attempted to launder through bank accounts designed to conceal the source and ownership of those fraudulently obtained funds.       

A chart containing the names, charges, and maximum penalties for each of the defendants is set forth below.  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 would be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding work of FBI New York’s Balkans and Middle East Organized Crime Squad, as well as the FBI’s Newark Office, the New York City Police Department, the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, the Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, the New York State Liquor Authority, and United States Customs and Border Protection for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.  

The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel L. Raymond and David R. Felton are in charge of the case.

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

Count

Defendants

Max. Penalty

Count One: Racketeering Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 1962(d))

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

Ervin Makishti,

   a/k/a “Vinny,”

Sokol Gjoni,

Miralem Ljuljanovic,

Jetmir Sulaj,

20 years’ imprisonment

Count Two: Conspiracy to Operate Illegal Gambling Businesses (18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1955)

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

Ervin Makishti,

   a/k/a “Vinny,”

Sokol Gjoni,

Miralem Ljuljanovic,

Jetmir Sulaj,

Eldi Makishti,

ENRI DIMO,

   a/k/a “Eni,”

Darren Danzieri,

AMIR BECOVIC,

RAFAEL JACOBS

5 years’ imprisonment

Count Three: Conspiracy to Transmit Wagering Information (18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1084)

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

Ervin Makishti,

   a/k/a “Vinny,”

Sokol Gjoni,

Miralem Ljuljanovic,

Islam Lamce,

   a/k/a “Bachi,”

BRAJAN TOLA,

Gazmend Lita,

SMAIL DJOKIC,

   a/k/a “Ismail Gjoka,”

5 years’ imprisonment

Count Four: Conspiracy to Commit Extortion and Interstate Threats (18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 875)

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

BESIM KUKAJ

5 years’ imprisonment

Count Five: Extortion (18 U.S.C. § 875(b))

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

BESIM KUKAJ

20 years’ imprisonment

Count Six: Interstate Threats (18 U.S.C. § 875(c))

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

BESIM KUKAJ

5 years’ imprisonment

Count Seven: Bank Fraud Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 1349)

Besim Kukaj

30 years’ imprisonment

Count Eight: Money Laundering (18 U.S.C. § 1956)

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

20 years’ imprisonment

Count Nine: Obstruction of Justice (18 U.S.C. § 1512(c))

MELSA SKRAPALLIU

20 years’ imprisonment

Count Ten: Bank Fraud Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 1349)

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

MELSA SKRAPALLIU

30 years’ imprisonment

Count Eleven: False Statements to a Bank (18 U.S.C. § 1014)

Abduraman Iseni,

   a/k/a “Diamond,”

MELSA SKRAPALLIU

30 years’ imprisonment

 

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