Monday, February 28, 2022

Consumer Alert: Division of Consumer Protection Urges New Yorkers to be Aware of Brushing Scams



Beware of Receiving Packages you Did Not Order   

No, These Deliveries Are Not Free Gifts, But a Way to Use Your Identity for Financial Gain

Protect Your Personal Information as Some Online Sellers Are Pitching Products to Get False Reviews

 The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) today warned about a scam that is becoming popular all over the country in which consumers receive a package they didn’t order in the mail. This practice, also known as a brushing scam, targets a recipient and turns them into a “verified buyer” upon delivery for the purpose of writing fake positive online reviews of merchandise in the recipient’s name. These fake reviews fraudulently boost or inflate the products’ ratings and sales numbers, which scammers hope results in an increase of actual sales, and they also compromise your personal information with this illicit practice.

“Online shopping and frequent deliveries offer scammers the opportunity to use your personal information for unscrupulous purposes,” said Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “Receiving packages you did not order at your front steps does not mean it is your lucky day, but most likely, it is coming from someone using your personal information for their financial gain. Don’t fall for the brushing scams that are using you as a bait to boost their online ratings with fake information.”

How the Scam Works

A person receives a package(s) containing items which were not ordered or requested by the recipient. While the package may be addressed to the recipient, there is no return address, or the return address could be that of a retailer. The sender of the item is usually an international, third-party seller who has found the recipient’s address online.

Successful delivery of the item then turns the recipient into a verified buyer on online marketplaces. The scammer uses the verified buyer’s information to then post a false positive review of a product online and boost the 5-star ratings of the product, encouraging legitimate shoppers that the product advertised has received more positive ratings than it has. Since the merchandise actually received is another product that is cheaper to ship, the scammers perceive this as a profitable pay-off.

As internet shopping has become very popular in recent years, most e-commerce sites rate sellers by multiple criteria and display these seller ratings to customers. It is also a known fact that a good rating can boost sales, and sellers know how important a good review can push ratings for their products. Oftentimes, the number of items sold is usually an important factor in that rating. To give some credibility to reviews, often these brushing scams are aimed to justify a fake review online.

To avoid being victims of brushing scams, the Division of Consumer Protection offers the following tips:

  1. You don’t have to pay for it. Federal law may allow recipients to keep items they received but did not order. Recipients are under no obligation to pay for unsolicited merchandise and can consider it a gift. If you don’t want the item, you can donate it or simply dispose of it and do not have to return it.
  2. Report it. If the item received is organic (seeds, plants or food), report it to the USDA. Unsolicited seeds or plants should not be planted as they may be invasive plants, noxious weeds or carry diseases that could cause damage to economically important crops. Seeds may be sent to the address below for destruction. Please ensure the seed package is sealed tightly and mail the seeds, the original packaging, your contact information, and any additional details, to:

Office of the State Plant Health Director of New York

c/o Christopher Zaloga

500 New Karner Road

Albany, New York 12205

If the item is an unknown liquid or substance, contact the local authorities.

  1. Notify the retailer. If the package received is from a third-party retailer like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, or WISH report it to them and ask them to remove any reviews under your name.
  2. Monitor your accounts. Your personal information may have been compromised. Often scammers obtain personal information through nefarious means and with ill-intentions and use it for several scams and other illicit activities in the future. Examine your online shopping accounts and credit card bills for signs of unusual activity and check your credit report. Consumers can currently obtain free credit reports weekly through April 20, 2022. Request yours at
  3. Change your password. If you have an account with the retailer identified on the package, change your account password with the retailer.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist, and empower the State’s consumers. For more consumer protection information, call the DCP Helpline at 800-697-1220, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm or visit the DCP website at The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at

Devon Archer Sentenced To A Year And A Day In Prison For The Fraudulent Issuance And Sale Of More Than $60 Million Of Tribal Bonds


 Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DEVON ARCHER was sentenced today by the Honorable Ronnie Abrams to a year and a day in prison for defrauding a Native American tribal entity and various investment advisory clients of tens of millions of dollars in connection with the issuance of bonds by the tribal entity and the subsequent sale of those bonds through fraudulent and deceptive means.   

As established by the evidence at trial:

From March 2014 through April 2016, ARCHER, Bevan Cooney, John Galanis, Jason Galanis, Gary Hirst, Michelle Morton, Hugh Dunkerley, and others engaged in a fraudulent scheme that involved (a) causing the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation (“WLCC”), a Native American tribal entity, to issue a series of bonds (the “Tribal Bonds”) through lies and misrepresentations; (b) deceptively causing clients of asset management firms controlled by Hirst, Morton, and others to purchase the Tribal Bonds, which the clients were then unable to redeem or sell because the bonds were illiquid and lacked a ready secondary market; and (c) misappropriating the proceeds resulting from those bond sales.

The WLCC was convinced to issue the Tribal Bonds through false and fraudulent representations by John Galanis.  Simultaneously, Jason Galanis, with the backing of ARCHER and others, worked to acquire Hughes Capital Management (“Hughes”), a registered investment adviser.  Morton and Hirst were installed as Hughes’ Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer, respectively.  Within weeks of taking control of Hughes, Morton and Hirst placed the entire $28 million first series of Tribal Bonds with Hughes clients but failed to disclose material facts about the Tribal Bonds, including the fact that the Tribal Bonds fell outside of the investment parameters set forth in the investment advisory contracts of certain Hughes clients.  In addition, Hughes’ clients were not told about substantial conflicts of interest with respect to the issuance and placement of the Tribal Bonds before the Tribal Bonds were purchased on these clients’ behalf. 

The defendants and their co-conspirators then misappropriated the proceeds of first Tribal Bond issuance.  Specifically, although the Tribal Bonds were supposed to be invested in an annuity, Dunkerley, at the direction of Jason Galanis, transferred significant amounts of the bond proceeds to support the defendants’ business and personal interests.  John Galanis, for example, secretly received $2.35 million in proceeds of the first bond issuance, which he spent on a variety of personal expenses and luxury items, including cars, jewelry, and hotel expenses.  Similarly, Jason Galanis used a portion of the proceeds of the first Tribal Bond issuance to finance the purchase of a $10 million luxury apartment in Tribeca, which, with ARCHER’s consent, he purchased in ARCHER’s name.

In addition, after John Galanis induced the WLCC to issue a second round of Tribal Bonds, ARCHER and others used $20 million of bond proceeds from the first issuance to buy the entirety of the second issuance.  As a result of the use of recycled proceeds to purchase additional issuances of Tribal Bonds, the face amount of Tribal Bonds outstanding increased and the amount of interest payable by the WLCC increased, but the actual bond proceeds available for investment on behalf of the WLCC did not increase.  In order to deposit the bonds at a bank, ARCHER misrepresented the source of the money used to purchase the bonds, falsely claiming that he had obtained it through real estate sales. The bonds purchased by ARCHER and others were then used to meet net capital requirements at two broker dealers in which ARCHER and others had interests.  In addition, millions of dollars in bond proceeds from the first and second issuances were used finance the acquisition of companies which the defendants and their co-conspirators acquired as part of a strategy to build a financial services conglomerate, which ARCHER expected to control.

In the spring of 2015, John Galanis induced the WLCC to issue an additional $16 million worth of Tribal Bonds.  Simultaneously, Jason Galanis, and others purchased a second investment adviser, Atlantic Asset Management (“Atlantic”), and installed Morton as the Chief Executive Officer.  Within days of obtaining control of Atlantic, Morton placed the entirety of the $16 million Tribal Bond issuance with an Atlantic client, without the client’s consent and without disclosing the fact that the Tribal Bonds were outside the client’s investment parameters and that numerous conflicts of interest existed.  The proceeds of the $16 million issuance were again not invested in an annuity as promised, but instead were diverted to, among other things, finance the defendants’ acquisition of another company in furtherance of their plan to build a financial services conglomerate, and make payments to one of the broker dealers in which ARCHER and others had interests.

In addition to the prison term, ARCHER, 47, was sentenced to a year of supervised release.  ARCHER was also ordered to forfeit $15,700,513 and to make restitution in the amount of $43,427,436.

Jason Galanis, who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, and investment adviser fraud, was sentenced to a term of 173 months in prison on August 11, 2017.  Gary Hirst, who pled guilty to securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, and conspiracy to commit investment adviser fraud, was sentenced to 84 months in prison on September 7, 2018.  John Galanis, who was convicted after trial of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, was sentenced to 120 months in prison on March 8, 2019. Bevan Cooney, who was convicted after trial of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on July 31, 2019. Michelle Morton, who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and investment adviser fraud, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on November 18, 2020.  Hugh Dunkerley, who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, two counts of securities fraud, bankruptcy fraud and falsification of records with the intent to obstruct a government investigation, is also awaiting sentencing. 

Mr. Williams praised the work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Attorney General James Takes Action to Protect Consumers from Unexpectedly High Energy Bills


Numerous Con Edison Customers Reported Sharp and Unexpected Increases on Their Utility Bills

AG James Requests Explanation from Con Edison Over High Energy Bills

 New York Attorney General Letitia James took action to protect consumers from unexpectedly high energy bills from Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison). In a letter to Con Edison, Attorney General James requested an explanation for the unexpected spike in utility bills last month that affected thousands of New Yorkers primarily in New York City and Westchester County. Many New York City consumers filed complaints with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) saying that their Con Edison bills for January 2022 were significantly higher than they were in the prior billing cycle, with some consumers reporting bills that were as much as three times greater even though their consumption remained the same.

“Hardworking New Yorkers shouldn’t have to make sacrifices to keep the lights on or to stay warm during the coldest months of the winter,” said Attorney General James. “My office is calling on Con Edison to explain the unexpected increases in last month’s bills that affected thousands of New Yorkers. We are also demanding that the company communicate rate increases early on so New Yorkers know what to expect when they open their energy bill. Utility companies have a responsibility to make sure consumers’ bills are fair and accurate, and my office is determined to hold them to that standard.”

Con Edison supplies energy for millions of New Yorkers. In some cases reported to OAG, the total amount due on some bills was two or even three times higher than in the previous billing cycle. One customer saw their bill jump from around $200 in December to more than $400 in January. Consumers have stated that the sudden change on their bills could not be explained by increased energy use alone. Consumers have also stated that they received no advance warning from Con Edison about the rate increase. For many consumers, this rate increase is so large that they may have difficulty meeting their monthly expenses. One consumer wrote, “We are a working family with an infant living in an affordable housing lottery unit, we are struggling to pay childcare, how are families expected to cope with price fluctuations like this?!?!”

Attorney General James has asked Con Edison to explain the sudden and unannounced increase in rates; to commit to providing consumers advance notice of such increases; and to remind consumers of affordability solutions available to them, including deferred payment agreements and/or bill assistance programs.

“Anyone who opened their sky-high utility bill last month knows that the current system is failing New Yorkers,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “It’s completely unacceptable that New Yorkers are paying significantly more for power while Con Edison brings in surplus profits. Particularly as Con Edison continues to push for rate hikes, we must investigate how to protect New Yorkers from these unreasonable spikes, and l thank Attorney General James for working to get answers and accountability. As we look to the future, we must also transition away from fossil fuel dependence and toward renewable energy.”

“Every Bronxite and New Yorker has a right to affordable basic amenities and access to keeping their lights on no matter what their zip code is,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Con Edison’s sudden price increases are unacceptable and have caused an unexpected expense to thousands of our most vulnerable residents, leaving them wondering how they will be able to make ends meet. I join Attorney General James in demanding the transparency that we deserve. Con Edison must clearly and effectively communicate rate increases early on. Withholding information from New Yorkers is unacceptable.”

If you are having trouble paying your gas or electric bill, you can reach out to your utility provider to see what kind of assistance you might be eligible for. Con Edison customers can learn about their options on Con Edison’s website.

New Yorkers can also submit a complaint on the OAG's website or call (800) 771-7755 to have a complaint form sent via mail. 

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating Covid-19 - FEBRUARY 28, 2022

 Clinical specimen testing for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Wadsworth Laboratory

1,144 Cases Yesterday - 99 Percent Drop from January 7 Peak (90,132)

Lowest Hospitalizations Since November 12

19 Covid-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

 Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating COVID-19.  

"As we move on to a new phase in the fight against this virus, it is important that we do not let up on the hard work that got us here," Governor Hochul said. "We must stay vigilant and double down on the tools we know are effective. Get your vaccine if you haven't yet, your booster if you have, and make sure your children and loved ones get theirs as well."   

Today's data is summarized briefly below:  

  • Test Results Reported - 69,522
  • Total Positive - 1,144
  • Percent Positive - 1.65%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 1.91%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 1,874 (-37)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 156
  • Patients in ICU - 336 (-6)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 187 (-4)
  • Total Discharges - 285,754 (+182)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 19
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 54,705

The Health Electronic Response Data System is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only.

  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 69,231

This daily COVID-19 provisional death certificate data reported by NYS DOH and NYC to the CDC includes those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings.  

  • Total vaccine doses administered - 36,797,501
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 5,983
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 77,171
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 91.6%  
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 82.8%  
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 95.0%  
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 85.6%  
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 12-17 with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 81.6%  
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 12-17 with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 71.5%  
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 81.0%  
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 73.0%  
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 88.9%  
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 75.5%   



Mayor Announces New Commitment to Connect Every Young Person on Probation With a Credible Messenger Mentor

 Today, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the reappointment of Ana M. Bermúdez, Esq. as commissioner of the Department of Probation (DOP) and the appointment of Deanna Logan, Esq. as director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ). 

“The prerequisite to prosperity is safety and justice —and the two go hand in hand,” said Mayor Adams. “If we are going to make our city safer and more just for all New Yorkers, we need to lead with evidence-based policies and upstream solutions. Commissioner Bermúdez and Deanna Logan are proven reformers who share my vision for the criminal justice system, and I look forward to working with them to ‘Get Stuff Done.’”


“Mayor Adams has put forward a bold agenda to make our city safer and more just, and he is assembling a stellar team to carry out that mission and deliver for all New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks. “Commissioner Bermúdez and Director Logan will be critical partners in that effort, building on their impressive records of using community-based solutions to reduce recidivism and help people leaving the justice system lead more productive, fulfilling lives. I look forward to working with both of them to fulfill the mayor’s vision, and congratulate them on their appointments.”


In her role as commissioner, Bermúdez will continue to lead the department and oversee the critical work of New York City probation officers, who are instrumental in providing resources and support to help people exit the justice system and thrive. Before becoming commissioner in 2014, she served as deputy commissioner for juvenile operations at DOP.


Bermúdez will also build on what is already working to further advance public safety and community justice, including DOP’s evidence-based credible messenger mentoring programs and DOP’s Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON), a unique and trusted resource that provides a range of services to people on probation and other community members in seven New York City communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the justice system for decades.


As director of MOCJ, Logan will work tirelessly to deliver on Mayor Adams’ vision of a city that invests in the entire ecosystem of public safety. Under her leadership, the city will look to expand the work and reach of the Crisis Management System, deploying more violence interrupter organizations to areas experiencing high rates of gun violence. MOCJ will also advance programs and policies aimed at reorienting the criminal justice system around a more holistic and rehabilitative model.


“I am honored to be given the opportunity to continue working with the tremendously dedicated probation officers who serve this city — the agents of change of the justice system,” said DOP Commissioner Bermúdez. “Our idea of public safety is that the greatest power to shape someone’s future is found in the very communities in which they live, and neighbors, helping each other, become powerful allies of our officers in the important work of this department. I look forward to broadening and deepening this work alongside Mayor Adams and the rest of my public safety colleagues as we ensure that New York is safe for all those who live, work, play in, and visit our vibrant city.”


“I am humbled and excited at the honor to lead the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice during such a critical time,” said MOCJ Director Logan. “My career is dedicated to fighting for justice and accountability for everyone. I share deeply Mayor Adams’ urgency in confronting the public safety challenges we face as New Yorkers. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our justice system partners to find equitable, innovative, and resourceful solutions to keep all our communities safe.”


Mayor Adams also announced the city’s new commitment to connect every young person on probation aged 21 and under with a credible messenger mentor — someone with experience in the justice system who is committed to preventing others from following in their footsteps. This work will build on and expand DOP’s success with probation officers working in partnership with credible messenger mentors, which has had a transformative impact and significantly improved outcomes for young people on probation.


Further amplifying this important work, the Credible Messenger Justice Center — an interdisciplinary national training and research center co-founded by the Department of Probation under Bermúdez’s leadership — also released new research on transformative mentoring today. A Gathering Movement” highlights the work of jurisdictions from across the country that have participated in DOP credible messenger program learning immersions in New York City and are actively building community-based mentoring programs as part of their own efforts to similarly prevent crime and further advance community justice. 

“Congratulations to Ana Bermúdez on her reappointment as commissioner of the Department of Probation and Deanna Logan on her appointment as director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “At a time in which public safety is a number one concern for our residents, it is imperative that we have partners at City Hall that have the experience necessary to tackle these issues with a strong focus on equity, fairness, justice, and rehabilitation. I look forward to working collaboratively with the mayor, Commissioner Bermúdez, Director Logan, our credible messengers, and local leaders to identify the underlying issues in our communities that cause young adults to be justice involved and to find creative ways to empower and support our borough.”

About Ana M. Bermúdez, Esq.

Ana M. Bermúdez is the New York City Department of Probation’s first openly LGBTQ+, first Latina, and second woman to serve as commissioner. Commissioner Bermúdez began her professional career representing children in family court cases at the Legal Aid Society. For 30 years, she has been a tireless advocate for teenagers and young adults involved in the justice system through the development of strengths-based interventions, the application of restorative and youth development practices, and the designing of programs that ensure readiness for a successful future.


Under Commissioner Bermúdez’s leadership, the Department of Probation has been at the forefront of innovations in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, working together with the communities that most people on probation call home through the NeONs, and establishing impactful and novel public-private ventures, such as the award-winning NeON Arts and the NeON Nutrition Kitchens. Through the latter initiative, DOP’s NeON Nutrition kitchens have provided food for more than 500,000 New Yorkers.


Prior to her appointment as commissioner in March 2014, she served as DOP’s deputy commissioner for juvenile operations for four years, during which she led reform initiatives to infuse greater racial equity and evidence-based practices into the juvenile justice system.


Before joining DOP in 2010, she was the director of juvenile justice programs at the Children’s Aid Society and Case Management at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services’ (CASES) Court Employment Project, an alternative-to-incarceration program for adolescent convicted of felonies. At CASES, Bermúdez held progressively responsible positions: director of training and technical assistance; co-director of Community Prep High School, a transitional school for court-involved students; and deputy director for court services and case management.


Bermúdez is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School.


Bermúdez will report to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks.


About Deanna Logan, Esq.

Deanna Logan, Esq. serves as director of MOCJ. She previously served as acting director.


Deanna Logan joined MOCJ in July 2019, most recently serving as general counsel and deputy director of crime strategies. Prior to that, she spent three years at the Office of the Bronx District Attorney as a bureau chief. She worked with DA Darcel Clark to design, establish, and supervise the Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau. Prior to her work in the Bronx, Logan served as assistant commissioner at DOC, where she worked to reform and strengthen internal discipline. The first eight years of Logan’s career were spent in public service as an assistant district attorney in the Office of the New York County District Attorney. There, she investigated and prosecuted felony cases involving narcotics violations, domestic violence, sexual assaults, and child abuse. After leaving the Office of the New York County District Attorney, she joined The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as a litigator addressing misconduct issues. She eventually became the managing director of rule development at NYSE, responsible for enforcing the rules that govern the markets and impact the industry while representing NYSE before the Securities and Exchange Commission. After NYSE, she spent a short time at Barclays Capital Market Makers, working as the director of compliance on the trading floor. Logan returned to public service when she joined DOC.


Logan holds a B.A. in political science from Boston University and earned her J.D. at New York University School of Law.


Logan will report to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks.




"We know that the path forward in pandemic management requires risk assessment, and the gradual removal of some measures as we work to find a new normalcy that works for New Yorkers. The decisions to lift safety measures that have helped to protect New Yorkers amid new waves and new variants need to be guided by the science, not the calendar.

"Given my continued concerns about removing masking requirements in schools before properly assessing any increase in spread following the winter recess, I am relieved the mayor is taking time to account for this risk before following the governor in changing policy, and urge him to provide clarity, transparency, and clear communication on what standards determine a shift. It is also critical that any change comes alongside addressing problematic, pervasive issues with ventilation in schools. I have additional concerns related to the disparities in vaccination rates and school funding across different communities within our city, and the city must address these issues to ensure that all students in all neighborhoods are kept safe.

"It would be unnecessary and unwise to rapidly remove vaccine screening requirements in restaurants and other venues across the city simultaneously. Removing multiple layers of protection at once by eliminating mask and vaccine requirements now compounds the complications and risks, especially with existing vaccine discrepancies. It is important to assess the impacts of each new measure before rushing to the next. 

"It is true that New Yorkers have stepped up and kept one another safe by getting vaccinated – at the same time, the Key2NYC screenings have had great benefit in limiting the spread of COVID in our city, and in helping New Yorkers feel safe and comfortable patronizing our businesses as we move forward in economic recovery. Moving away from these vital protections that helped us get to this point, too quickly, all at once, risks a repeat of some of the mistakes our city and state have made in the last two years.

"I urge New Yorkers to continue to do what we know works to protect one another, and New York’s executives to move forward only in a way that ensures we don’t end up going backward."

Brooklyn Man And Yonkers Woman Charged With Production, Receipt And Distribution Of Child Pornography


 Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Miriam E. Rocah, Westchester County District Attorney, Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and John Mueller, the Commissioner of the Yonkers Police Department (“YPD”), announced today that JONATHAN RIVERA and DILICIA AGUIRRE-ORELLANA were charged with production and receipt and distribution of child pornography.  AGUIRRE-ORELLANA was also charged with possession of child pornography. 

RIVERA was arrested on or about February 26 in Manhattan, and will be presented today in federal court in White Plains.  AGUIRRE-ORELLANA was arrested on or about February 22 in Yonkers, presented on local charges on or about February 23, and detained; she will be presented on the federal charges at a later date.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “Allegedly at the behest of Jonathan Rivera, Dilicia Aguirre-Orellana is accused of one of the most heinous acts imaginable – the sexual assault of prepubescent children – including the sexual abuse and video recording of her four-year-old son. The harm that child sex abuse can inflict on the most innocent of victims is something no child should bear. We believe there may be more victims of these alleged crimes, and implore anyone who may have information helpful to law enforcement to please call 1-800-CALL-FBI.”

FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said:  “The level of depravity alleged in the charges filed today against Mr. Rivera are nearly unfathomable.  The FBI and our partners remain committed to bringing to justice all those who would seek to harm our society’s most vulnerable members.  We are asking anyone with information about Mr. Rivera or his alleged activity to contact us at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or online at”

Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah said:  “Crimes committed against children, especially ones perpetrated by a parent or caretaker, are deeply disturbing and those who prey upon and sexually exploit children will be aggressively prosecuted. As alleged in this case, Dilicia Aguirre-Orellana sexually violated and exploited her own child in unspeakable ways. This case shows how law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels can work together to protect the most vulnerable victims. My office is proud to have partnered with the Yonkers Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on this remarkable collaborative effort which put an end to the alleged abuse of a young victim, and will help any other potential victims come forward.”  

YPD Commissioner John Mueller said: “It is at the core of every law enforcement officer to protect the vulnerable and innocent, most of all children. We must hold these alleged criminals accountable to the maximum extent of the law for the abuse they inflicted on the smallest members of our society; the Yonkers Police will always continue to put victims first. I am grateful for the sustained multi-agency collaboration on the County, State, and Federal levels that ensures safe communities in Westchester and the City of Yonkers, and applaud the efforts of the investigators and attorneys who worked this case.”

 According to the Complaint[1] filed on February 28, 2022, in White Plains federal court:

In or about December 2021, RIVERA communicated online with AGUIRRE-ORELLANA and persuaded AGUIRRE-ORELLANA to make videos of herself performing sex acts on her four-year-old child (“Victim-1”).  At RIVERA’s direction, AGUIRRE-ORELLANA made videos of herself touching Victim’s genitals and herself performing oral sex on Victim-1, and sent them to RIVERA over a social media messaging application.   In conversations with law enforcement, RIVERA stated that he engaged in similar conversations with other women online.  RIVERA may have used various social media platforms to communicate with victims, including WhatsApp, Badoo, Telegram, and Facebook.  The usernames of some of RIVERA’s various accounts include:







On or about February 23, 2022, AGUIRRE-ORELLANA was charged in Westchester County with sexual abuse in the first degree and criminal sexual act in the first degree.  The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office will be prosecuting these charges.

Anyone who may have encountered JONATHAN RIVERA (or someone who may have been using the social media usernames identified above), is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

RIVERA, 33, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of production of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, and one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.  The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

AGUIRRE-ORELLANA, 22, of Yonkers, New York, is charged with one count of production of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, and one count of possession of child pornography involving images of a minor who had not yet attained the age of 12, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the efforts of the FBI Westchester Safe Streets Task Force which includes Special Agents and Task Force Officers from the FBI, US Probation, New York State Police, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Westchester County PD, Westchester County DA's Office, Putnam County Sheriff's Office, Rockland County DA's Office, the NYPD and the Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Peekskill, Greenburgh, New Rochelle, White Plains, Clarkstown and Ramapo Police Departments.  This investigation is ongoing.

 This case began as an investigation in the YPD Special Victim’s Unit, working jointly with the Special Prosecutions Division Child Abuse Bureau of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, including Bureau Chief Christine Hatfield and Acting Deputy Bureau Chief Owein Levin.  The federal prosecution is being handled by the White Plains Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Simon is in charge of the prosecution.  

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

Former NYC Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. - Most Progressive Leaders Did Not Endorse Eric Adams


You should know that during the last Democratic Primary for New York City Mayor, most Liberal and Progressive groups were not supporting Eric Adams when he won the elections.
You Should Know that all the Progressives and Liberals in this City were openly against Adams because he did not favor their movement for defunding the police, the new bail reform, early release of prisoners, and tying the hands of the judges which prevents them from using their discretion on sentencing.
The Progressives and Liberals were all too happy to endorse, and finance other candidates such as Maya Wiley, Kathryn Garcia, Andrew Yang, Scott Stringer, and Diane Morales.  It’s important that you know that it was the Hispanics led by Ruben Diaz Jr., and Ydanis Rodriguez, who at the start of the campaign, from the beginning endorsed and threw their support behind Eric Adams. 
Leaders such as Adriano Espaillat and others, publicly endorsed Scott Stringer against Eric Adams. When Stringer was accused of "Sexual Harassment" those leaders who were backing him, had no other alternative than to remove their endorsement from Stringer. Then, at the last minute, as a last resort they backed Eric Adams. 
It is important for you to know that now it seems like the Progressives have suffered some memory loss. Or have conveniently forgotten that it was the Hispanics and African Americans, who through their support and early endorsements gave Eric Adams the victory.  They have forgotten that, if it had been for them, Adams would not have won the primary and therefore the Mayoralty of the City of New York.
These Liberal/Progressives think that the Mayor is beholden to them, so much so that they are making demands of him. They are demanding that the Mayor fire two Hispanic Ministers and an African American Minister, who worked, supported and were always in favor of Eric Adams and his policies especially when it related to the high crime rate in the city, while they had turned their backs on him when it counted.
Eric Adams publicly said and promised that he would serve as a mayor for all New Yorkers equally.  He always said that he was against crime and discrimination. He said that he would not allow himself to be manipulated by any special interest groups.
Rev. Eric Salgado, a Puerto Rican, Rev. Fernando Cabrera, a Dominican and Rev. Gilford Monroe, an African American, have been appointed to serve in the Adams Administration.  This is a public demonstration that proves that our Mayor, Eric Adams, recruits the best, the most diverse and that he really meant what he said. When he said during the campaign, that he will be a Mayor for all New Yorkers; a Mayor for all the people, by the people and for the people to quote President Lincoln.    
Our New York City Mayor Eric Adams has demonstrated that he possesses a high degree of tolerance and that he is in pursuit of unifying the very diverse city he was elected to lead.  Mayor Adams recognizes that what makes New York City great is its diversity with varying nationalities, religions, beliefs, and ethnic groups.  I take my hat off to you Mr. Mayor. 

Thank you, for standing firm and setting an example of leadership. You have shown leadership that is not easy, but greatly needed, in this city.  It’s about time! This is how a Successful City is made!
I am Rev. Ruben Diaz and this is "What You Should Know.

Statement From City Comptroller Brad Lander on Russian Holdings in NYC Pension Systems


“New York City is home to one of the world’s largest populations of Ukrainians, and our hearts are with the people of Ukraine, the many Russians who are bravely protesting this war, and with Ukrainian Americans watching in horror from our shores.

“Russia’s aggression in Ukraine merits the swift global action we’ve already begun to see to cut President Putin and the oligarchs who enable him off from the global financial system. We are watching developments in Ukraine with great concern and following responses by fellow institutional investors closely.

“The NYC pension system is comprised of five distinct pension plans, with governance of each plan comprised of both labor and NYC elected official representatives. All decisions, including potential divestment of Russian assets, are made separately by each of the five pension plan boards.

“The White House is beginning the process of identifying the assets of sanctioned individuals and companies that support and enable Putin’s actions. Following an analysis of the funds’ holdings against that list and legal review, I plan to bring specific assets to the trustees of the five boards of the New York City Retirement Systems to consider for divestment.

“Russia’s actions remind us that one of the best ways to curtail the power of authoritarian petrostate leaders is to reduce our global reliance on the oil and gas industry. To that end, I am proud to reaffirm that the decisions of three of the five NYC pension funds to divest from fossil fuels, including top Russian oil companies, were wise actions to advance a healthier and safer planet.”

Governor Hochul Signs Executive Order Directing State Agencies and Authorities to Divest Public Funds from Russia

 Governor Hochul signs Executive Order No. 14 in the Red Room.

Governor Kathy Hochul today directed all New York State agencies and authorities to review and divest public funds from Russia following Russia's unjustified and unprovoked attack on the sovereign nation of Ukraine. New York State is home to the largest Ukrainian population in the United States, remains engaged with the Biden administration and is prepared to support refugees of the crisis and welcome them to the state.

"Russia has chosen to attack democracy and we will stand with Ukraine as we condemn these atrocities," Governor Hochul said. "Our state will not permit its own investment activity, whether directly or indirectly, to aid Russia as it commits these human rights violations. New York is home to the largest population of Ukrainians in the United States - they are our family and an attack on them is an attack on us all. We will make our statements and values known and show solidarity with Ukraine as we rebuke this assault on democracy."

Read Executive Order 14 Here


Mayor Adams Closes Out Black History Month With Focus on Giving BIPOC Entrepreneurs More Opportunities in Rebuilding NYC’s Economy 

 Surrounded by those from underrepresented communities in the business world, New York City Mayor Eric Adams today rang the opening bell at The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). On the final day of Black History Month, Mayor Adams highlighted efforts underway to provide more opportunities to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), as well as women, as New York seeks to rebuild the economy and recover from COVID-19.

“Ringing this iconic opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange is not only how New York’s economy opens up every morning, but how the worldwide economy opens for business every day,” said Mayor Adams. “After two years of struggle, now is the time to accelerate our city’s economic recovery and show that we can build an inclusive economy that allows us all to rise together. It is an honor to ring this bell on the final day of Black History Month and highlight how Black New Yorkers are crucial to New York City’s recovery. Black New Yorkers, as well as other communities of color, are crucial to our economy, which is why we will do everything in our power to help provide opportunities for all New Yorkers.”


“We are excited to welcome Mayor Eric Adams to the NYSE today as we celebrate New York City’s return to work,” said Sharon Bowen, chair, The New York Stock Exchange. “We look forward to working with Mayor Adams as he fights to strengthen the city’s economy and create a healthier place that delivers for New Yorkers across the five boroughs.”


“As an institution thriving in Lower Manhattan for 230 years, thanks to the work ethic, ingenuity, and resilience of the region’s people, it is vital to New York’s continued leadership as a global financial capital to provide a safe and well-run city in which to return to work,” said Lynn Martin, president, The New York Stock Exchange. “We applaud Mayor Eric Adams for getting to work immediately on these important issues since his first hours in office and appreciate his open door approach to views from the city’s business community. We welcome him with open arms today to ring our opening bell as another day of trading begins, continuing a long and great tradition of world leaders and New York City mayors before him.” 

“Every day we are working towards an inclusive economic recovery for all New Yorkers. As we emerge from the scourge of the pandemic, we will grow New York City's thriving tech sector by finding ways for more New Yorkers to benefit from its opportunities,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. "Under the leadership of Mayor Adams, New York City is forging a clear path for underrepresented innovators and entrepreneurs to be successful in our city."


“Sharon Bowen’s groundbreaking leadership as the first Black woman to chair the NYSE should make us all proud,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “Her exemplary career and expertise have uniquely prepared her for this moment. As a Black woman leader, I am particularly proud to join her and Mayor Adams as we close Black History Month and declare that we are steadfast in our commitment to advancing economic opportunities for Black and Brown people in the City of New York.”


Joining Mayor Adams to ring today’s opening bell at NYSE was Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright, NYSE Chair Sharon Bowen, and NYSE President Lynn Martin.


Also joining Mayor Adams on the podium to ring the opening bell were representatives of a number of companies chosen last week to participate in New York City Economic Development Corporation’s inaugural cohort of the Founder Fellowship program. This initiative will provide urban tech startup founders from underrepresented backgrounds — BIPOC, as well as women — with the resources to build and scale their companies in New York City. The fellows will benefit from access to an 84,000 square foot space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, its vast member community and extended global network, and on-site product realization resources.


The fellows standing with Mayor Adams today were:

  • Joy Fan, re/tell
  • Samori Harris, Farm to Flame Energy Inc.
  • Brittany Kendrick, Hydronomy Inc
  • Jelynne Morse, The Drivers Cooperative
  • Atif Qadir, REDIST
  • Shelly Xu, SXD