FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Queens Man Who Allegedly Posed as Attorney and Allegedly Promised Wrongful Conviction Legal Services Indicted for Stealing Money from Desperate Inmates and Their Families
Defendant Allegedly Cheated 18 Inmates and Their Relatives
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Queens man who purported to be an attorney specializing in getting wrongful convictions overturned allegedly preyed on inmates serving lengthy sentences in prisons in New York and across the country, and their families, taking up to $15,000 to file post-conviction motions on their behalf – but instead filed no such motions on 16 cases and filed fraudulent briefs on two others.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This case is especially reprehensible to me because in Brooklyn we have a robust Conviction Review Unit that takes wrongful conviction claims seriously. This defendant allegedly took advantage of that exemplary work by targeting vulnerable victims and exploiting the hope of inmates and their families that they might be released from custody. He has now been exposed as an alleged con man and I urge anyone else who believes they have been victimized by him to contact my office.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Kenneth Moore, 53, of Glendale, Queens. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 75-count indictment in which he is charged with third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, third-degree attempted grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, unauthorized practice of a profession, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, second- and third-degree forgery, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and second-, third- and fourth-degree criminal mischief. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the top count. He was ordered held on bail of $300,000 bond or $150,000 cash and to return to court on May 16, 2018.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between April 1, 2012 and August 31, 2016, the defendant, through a company he created, Waymore Post-Conviction, LLC., engaged in a fraudulent scheme in which he purported to be a licensed attorney specializing in post-conviction review with the capability of filing court documents, requesting new trials, obtaining sentence reductions and offering legal assistance to incarcerated individuals. Moore maintained an office for Waymore at 10 Goodwin Place in Bushwick, Brooklyn from 2011 to 2016.
It is alleged that Moore targeted specific inmates serving lengthy sentences, including up to life in prison, for murder, manslaughter and other serious crimes, sending them certified letters offering to file post-conviction motions on their behalf, and maintained a website, www.waymorepostconviction.com. The inmates were serving time in prisons in New York, North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia and various other states. In one particularly egregious case, it is alleged, an out-of-state Innocence Project organization expressed interest in a New York inmate’s case and the defendant persuaded the inmate and his family to hire him instead.
Moore allegedly told inmates who responded to him that they should have a family member contact him to sign a contract and set up a payment plan. He allegedly took between $5,000 and $15,000 from each inmate’s family, but generally took $10,000. In the contract that was signed, the defendant specifically stated that 80 percent of the contractual balance must be paid before he filed the agreed upon post-conviction motions. It is alleged that once he received the money, he did not file the motions except in two cases where he filed post-conviction motions to set aside verdicts on behalf of inmates using the forged signature of an actual attorney who had no knowledge of the motions being filed.
In some instances, Moore allegedly told family members they would have to hire an expert witness, and had them send the fee for the witness directly to him, funds which he also stole.
Finally, according to the indictment, Moore typically stayed in contact with the inmates and their families while payments were being made to him, but after receiving the agreed upon payment or a substantial payment, and when family members asked about the lack of progress in the case, he stopped returning their calls or having any contact with them, sometimes changing his phone number.
Anyone who believes they were victimized by Moore should call the District Attorney’s Office at 718-250-2600.
The case was investigated by Detective Investigator Jacqueline Klapak and Supervising Detective Investigator Michael Seminara, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of Chief Investigator Joseph Piraino. Supervising Financial Investigator Deborah Wey, Investigative Analyst Janelle Cacopardo and Investigative Paralegal Yulie Landan also investigated the case and paralegals and support staff, Orestes Romero, Petrona Solorzano, Zachary Gitman, Peter Holmes, and Catherine Urbanelli, assisted as well. Also, special thanks to Investigator Tareq Rabadi of the New York State Department of Corrections Intelligence Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Samantha Magnani, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Senior Assistant District Attorney Sara Walshe, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Mark Feldman, Senior Executive Assistant for Crime Strategies and Investigations.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.