Man Sentenced to State Prison for Promoting Prostitution Of Three Teenage Girls in East New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 21, 2018

 

Man Sentenced to State Prison for Promoting Prostitution
Of Three Teenage Girls in East New York

Victims Were Ages 13, 15 and 17

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East New York man was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for promoting three underage girls as prostitutes following his guilty plea last month.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant targeted vulnerable young girls so that he could profit by exploiting them. Today’s sentence holds him accountable for his cruel disregard for the wellbeing of these victims.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Whetsel Wade, 46, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to an indeterminate term of five to 10 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree promoting prostitution last month. He will be required to register as a sex offender upon release from prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between August 2016 and November 2016, Wade promoted the 13-, 15- and 17-year-old girls as prostitutes, posting photos of them on Backpage.com, alongside advertisements for escorts. The defendant would then drive the minors to hotels or private apartments to meet men who paid to have sex with them. The investigation also revealed that in addition to the minor victims, Wade promoted the prostitution of approximately five other women.

On November 14, 2016, police responded to an incident at Wade’s house and found the 17-year-old victim inside the defendant’s basement. The defendant had fled the scene and was arrested two days later.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective David Mills from the Vice Major Case Team, under the supervision of Captain Thomas Milano and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney David Weiss of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Edidin, Chief of the Human Trafficking Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.

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Eighteen Alleged Gang Members and Associates Variously Charged with Conspiring to Commit Murder and Possess Weapons in East Flatbush Rivalries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 21, 2018

 

Eighteen Alleged Gang Members and Associates Variously
Charged with Conspiring to Commit Murder and Possess Weapons in
East Flatbush Rivalries

Defendants Allegedly Opened Fire on Public Streets, in Kings Plaza Shopping Center;
Responsible for Eight Separate Shootings, Including two Murders

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced that 18 alleged members and associates of the East Flatbush- based street gang Martense Beverly Bosses are variously charged in a 41-count indictment with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to possess weapons, and other charges in connection with eight separate shootings, including two murders.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants are dangerously obsessed with committing acts of violence. In this case, we allege, they cavalierly discuss shooting at rivals as if they were keeping score at a basketball game. But this is not a game. There is a trail of dead and injured victims. I remain vigilant in protecting our communities from this type of violence and terror which have no place on the streets of Brooklyn.”

Commissioner O’Neill said, “This case perfectly demonstrates the NYPD’s effectiveness in precisely targeting the real drivers of violence in New York City. These gang members walked the streets of Brooklyn, guns in their hands, acting as though life and death is some kind of game. New Yorkers are safer today because these criminals have been arrested and charged. And, with the help of law enforcement partners like the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, we will continue to relentlessly pursue anyone, anywhere in our city – and dismantle criminal organizations along the way – whenever public safety is threatened.”

The District Attorney said that the defendants were arraigned this week before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justices Dineen Riviezzo and Miriam Cyrulnik and variously held on bail. All of the defendants are charged with second- and fourth-degree conspiracy. They are variously charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, first- and second-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree assault, and first-degree reckless endangerment. If convicted, the defendants face up to 25 years in prison on the top conspiracy count. (See defendant addendum).

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendants are alleged to be members of Martense Beverly Bosses (“MBB”). MBB is alleged to be a subset of a larger criminal street organization known as the “Five-Nine Brims,” which in turn is a subset of the Bloods gang. MBB operated primarily in and around the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

It is alleged that, between June 1, 2016 and June 14, 2018, during the course of the conspiracy, the gang had multiple rivals, including, most notably, an East Flatbush gang known as “Collect Your Guap,” (CYG) which is a subset of Folk Nation, and operated out of the Flatbush Gardens apartment complex, formerly known as the Vandeveer Estates. That feud was escalated by the belief by MBB members that CYG members shot and killed MBB member Tyreke “Trini” Borel on September 5, 2016.

It is alleged that numerous other shootings, including two fatal shootings, occurred during the course of the conspiracy and in recorded conversations MBB members regularly discuss who is “up on the scoreboard,” referring to shootings between the rival gangs. The defendants referred to guns as “ball kicks” and gunshots that missed their targets as “air balls.” Jailed gang members were referred to as “bench warmers.”

It was further part of the conspiracy to keep incarcerated MBB members and associates informed of the activities and events related to the gang, including but not limited to, arrests of members and associates, acts of violence committed by and against MBB members and associates, including beatings and shootings against rivals.

Among the acts of violence charged in the conspiracy are the following:

  • On July 8, 2017, at approximately 5:40 p.m., Quentin Raymond, Jeremy Denaud and Stephon Daly were walking in the Kings Plaza Mall when they spotted rival gang members. They allegedly tried to coax the rivals outside, but were unsuccessful. Minutes later Daly allegedly handed off a gun to Raymond, who aimed and fired but was only able to get off a single round when his gun jammed.
  • On September 16, 2017, at approximately 4:25 a.m., Donaven Frazier was shot and killed, allegedly by Gymanni Carrington as he was exiting Franklin’s Finest Deli in Crown Heights. Frazier was allegedly a Lincoln Fam member and MBB rival.
  • On October 20, 2017, Javed Duncan and several other individuals were walking on Linden Boulevard when Duncan allegedly fired six shots from a .380 caliber pistol at a rival, striking him once in the foot.
  • On April 1, 2018, Kobe Franklyn, Harold Phillips and two others left Phillips’ house and walked into rival gang territory. Franklyn allegedly carried the gun to and from the shooting, while Phillips allegedly shot and killed Jerome Spence, a 26-year-old construction worker.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Sean Feliciano and Detective Veerana Ramayya, of the Gun Violence Suppression Division, under the supervision of Sergeant Richard Young and Lieutenant Richard Zacarese, and the overall supervision of GVSD Commanding Officer, Assistant Chief James Essig.

The case was additionally investigated by Assistant District Attorney Peter Towsky, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, with the assistance of Senior Assistant District Attorneys Thomas Teplitsky, Iris Das, Luis Segura and Laurie Baio.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Peter Towsky, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jonathan R. Sennett, Deputy Bureau Chief of VCE and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

An indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

DEFENDANT ADDENDUM:

  1. Romel Baptiste, 18, Vandeveer Place, Brooklyn.
  2. Gymanni Carrington, 17, Pacific Street, Brooklyn.
  3. Stephon Daly, 19, Avenue D, Brooklyn.
  4. Jeremy Denaud, 17, Brooklyn.
  5. Javed Duncan, 17, Lenox Road, Brooklyn.
  6. Asa Francis, 18, East 58th Street, Brooklyn.
  7. Kobe Franklyn, 16, East 26th Street, Brooklyn.
  8. Kahrone Hyde, 18, Pacific Street, Brooklyn.
  9. Aysia Perez, 19, Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn.
  10. Demitrius Philemon, 20, Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn.
  11. Harold Phillips, 19, New York Avenue, Brooklyn.
  12. Jahmel Phillips, 20, New York Avenue, Brooklyn.
  13. Quentin Raymond, 17, Hart Street, Brooklyn.
  14. John Rodriguez, 21, Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn.
  15. Elijah Roy, 18, East 52nd Street, Brooklyn.
  16. Tyrique Royal, 19, Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn.
  17. Chyanne Tait, 19, Hancock Street, Brooklyn.
  18. Name withheld pending arraignment.

East New York Man Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for Fatally Stabbing His Girlfriend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

 

East New York Man Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for
Fatally Stabbing His Girlfriend

Victim Was Stabbed 12 Times

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 45-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for fatally stabbing his on-again off-again girlfriend multiple times during an argument in 2015.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s callous behavior brought a violent death to a woman for whom he allegedly cared. This senseless act of violence robbed a family of a loving mother and grandmother. The defendant has now been held accountable for his actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Gregory White, 45, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent DelGiudice to 23 years in prison. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in March.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on January 24, 2015, at approximately 9:45 p.m. a neighbor found Victoria Hammond, 58, partially naked in the living room of her basement apartment on W. 37th Street, near Neptune Avenue in Coney Island. The grandmother of four had been stabbed 12 times in the neck, head and torso.

Traces of the defendant’s blood were recovered from a light switch in the apartment after he cut himself during the stabbing. According to the investigation, the victim and the defendant were romantically involved.

The defendant was arrested nine months later, on October 28, 2015, when two New York City police officers attempted to write him a summons for lying across multiple seats on a South-bound A train at the Columbus Circle subway station in Manhattan. The defendant later confessed that he stabbed the victim, but claimed it was self-defense after she lunged at him with a knife.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Ernest Chin, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Bureau Chief.

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Two Brooklyn Men Charged with Assault as a Hate Crime for Alleged Unprovoked Attack on Rabbinical Student

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

 

Two Brooklyn Men Charged with Assault as a Hate Crime for
Alleged Unprovoked Attack on Rabbinical Student

Victim was Walking Home from the Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters in Crown Heights

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two Brooklyn men have been indicted for assault as a hate crime and other charges in connection with an alleged attack against a Jewish rabbinical student who was walking home at night in Crown Heights. The defendants did not take any property or cash, including a charity box the victim was holding, and allegedly stated that they were irritated because he was speaking in Hebrew on the phone – leading to the hate crime charges.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We allege that these defendants decided to assault a man for the sole reason that he looked different than them and spoke a different language. I will never tolerate bias-motivated crimes in Brooklyn, and will investigate and prosecute them vigorously. Our strength is in our diversity.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Darren Morgan, 20, of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, and Justin George, 19, of Brownsville. They were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Murphy on an indictment in which they are charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, third-degree assault and other related offenses. They were ordered to return to court on August 14, 2018. The defendants face up to four years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, just past midnight on May 1, 2018, the victim, a 22-year-old Lubavitch rabbinical student, was walking home from his studies at 770 Eastern Parkway, which is the Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters. He felt that he was being followed and turned the corner at Albany Avenue and President Street, where the two defendants caught up to him, the evidence showed.

The defendants then allegedly punched him and, as he tried to get away, grabbed him, threw him against a car and repeatedly punched him in the face and body. The victim dropped a charity box containing over $200 that he was carrying, but it was left untouched, and the defendants did not demand any money or property, including a cell phone the victim was carrying, according to the evidence. The victim suffered bruising and swelling to his face.

As the assault continued, a police car drove by, prompting the defendants to flee. They were apprehended a short time later after the police were notified. In interviews with the authorities, the defendants allegedly stated they were irritated at the victim because he was talking on a cellphone in another language. Surveillance videos capture the initial interaction between the defendants and victim as well as the assault.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Boykin, of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, with the assistance of Paralegal Angelika Rostkowska, also of the Green Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Klestzick, Bureau Chief.

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

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Announces New Members of His Executive Team

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Announces
New Members of His Executive Team

NYPD Deputy Commissioner, Former Federal Prosecutor and Law Professor, Criminal Justice Reform Advocate and Former Deputy Director at the ACLU Join Veterans of the DA’s Office

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced the hiring of four new members of his executive team. Nancy Hoppock, an Assistant Deputy Commissioner at the NYPD, will serve as Chief Assistant District Attorney. Tali Farhadian Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor and law professor, was appointed General Counsel. Meg Reiss, Executive Director at the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will be the Director of Social Justice. Jill Harris, formerly of the ACLU, the Drug Policy Alliance and the Legal Aid Society, will continue her role as Policy and Strategy Counsel. They join newly-appointed Chief of Staff Maritza Ming, and Joseph Alexis and Renee Gregory – who assume new positions – as the District Attorney’s Executive Team. Together with the entire staff, they will help the DA implement his vision of criminal justice reform.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am committed to keeping Brooklyn safe and strengthening community trust in the criminal justice system – and these new members of my team will help in achieving these goals. They bring a wealth of diverse experience and fresh perspectives from the court room, law enforcement, academia and the advocacy community so I have no doubt that they will serve as great assets for the DA’s Office and for the people of Brooklyn.”

Nancy Hoppock will be joining the Office as Chief Assistant and will be supervising its operations, investigations and case resolutions. She has spent the last several years developing policy and implementing reforms as General Counsel and Assistant Deputy Commissioner at the NYPD’s Risk Management Bureau. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of the NYU Center on the Administration of Criminal Law where, in addition to directing research and technical support on best practices in the criminal justice system, she established and ran a federal clemency project.

Hoppock started her career in 1994 at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted a range of offenses, and later led the criminal divisions at the United States Attorney’s Office for the district of New Jersey and at the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Tali Farhadian Weinstein, most recently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at NYU Law School’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the law school, joined the Office as General Counsel. In this role, she will advise the District Attorney on ethics and professional responsibility, best practices, appeals, conviction review, police accountability and a host of other issues. A graduate of Yale College and Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar, Farhadian Weinstein obtained her J.D. from Yale Law School and then served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2003-04) and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at the Supreme Court of the United States (2004-06).

In 2009, she joined the United States Department of Justice. As Counsel to the Attorney General of the United States, she advised former Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. on a range of issues, and worked closely with senior officials at the White House and executive agencies. She later became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, where she investigated and prosecuted federal crimes, including violent crimes, narcotics trafficking, national security matters, and public corruption. In addition to teaching a course on Criminal Justice Innovation at NYU Law School, Farhadian Weinstein has also taught immigration law and policy at Columbia Law School and worked in private practice.

Meg Reiss, most recently the Executive Director at the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will serve as Director of Social Justice. In this position, she will make sure the Brooklyn DA’s Office is pursuing non-jail dispositions in as many cases as possible, and will be designing and driving a ground-breaking Community Justice Initiative, in which the Office will team up with communities to see that cases are resolved in ways to meet these communities’ needs. She will also lead other implementations of the DA’s Justice 2020 initiatives.

Reiss started her career as a prosecutor in the Brooklyn DA’s Office and later served as Chief Assistant in the Nassau County DA’s Office, where she worked to broaden that office’s role to include crime prevention and criminal justice reform. She also served as a deputy monitor on a team that supervised the Los Angeles Police Department’s compliance with a federal consent decree and was later part of a panel that oversaw London’s Metropolitan Police Service.

Jill Harris joined the Brooklyn DA’s Office last November as Policy and Strategy Counsel and has been serving as the Director of the Justice 2020 Initiative to create an action plan to make the Brooklyn DA’s Office a national model of prosecutorial reform. She has also been advising the District Attorney on drug policy, bail reform and other issues. She brings to her critical assignment over 30 years’ experience in the criminal justice field.

Harris was the Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice, where she concentrated on state-level reforms and on strategies to elect and support progressive prosecutors around the country. Prior to that, she worked for six years at the Drug Policy Alliance as the Managing Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives. A graduate of Harvard University and New York University School of Law, she began her legal career in 1985 as a trial attorney at the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division. She spent 13 years working in its Manhattan, Brooklyn and Eastern District Federal Defender offices, including two years as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Manhattan office.

The District Attorney additionally announced that Maritza Ming, formerly Counsel to the District Attorney who has been part of the Office for over 20 years, has been promoted to Chief of Staff. She is replacing Leroy Frazer Jr., who is retiring after 37 years in public service, the last four in the Brooklyn DA’s Office. Ming will supervise the day-to-day operations of the Office. Renee Gregory will be taking up a new role as Chief Diversity Officer to design, coordinate and implement a number of diversity initiatives to keep the Office’s policies in line with best practices and maintain a diverse work force. Joseph Alexis has been named Executive Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Trial Division. He will supervise the Trial Zones, Homicide and Cold Case Bureaus, as well court operations, and will ensure that the Justice 2020 reforms are communicated to the entire staff and drive all decisions.

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NYPD Officer Indicted for Perjury and Forgery for Allegedly Claiming He Earned Less Than He Did to Lower Child Support Payments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

 

NYPD Officer Indicted for Perjury and Forgery for Allegedly
Claiming He Earned Less Than He Did to Lower Child Support Payments

Allegedly Filed False Payroll Statement to Family Court; Defrauded Child Out of Over $15,000

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a New York City Police Department officer has been indicted for perjury, criminal possession of a forged instrument and related charges for allegedly misrepresenting his salary during Family Court proceedings in 2013. By doing so, the defendant kept over $15,000 in earnings, to which his child was legally entitled.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Perjury and fraud are always wrong, but this case is particularly disturbing because these offenses were allegedly committed by a police officer to deprive his child of needed financial support. I will not tolerate such willful and deliberate deceit of our courts, especially from those who have taken an oath to serve the public.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Police Officer Michael Martinez, 40, an 11-year veteran of the NYPD who is currently assigned, in modified duty, to the Housing Bureau in Manhattan. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 20-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, first-degree perjury, third-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. The defendant was released without bail and ordered to return to court on September 12, 2018. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 8, 2013 and November 21, 2013, during hearings before a Support Magistrate in Brooklyn Family Court, the defendant allegedly filed numerous false payroll statements that indicated he earned less money than he actually earned. During the July hearing, when pointedly asked by the magistrate about the apparent change in his income, the defendant allegedly lied under oath by claiming he was working days instead of nights. In fact, he was still working nights at that time and received additional income for doing so, the investigation found.

It is alleged that the defendant made these false representations to reduce his child support payments. In the period of the magistrate’s order, which relied on these alleged false representations and was in force until the child turned 21 in February 2017, the defendant defrauded the Support Collection Unit and his child out of a total of $15,332.14, according to the investigation.

In July 2017, the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau started investigating other, unrelated allegations against Officer Martinez and became aware of the alleged false filings in Family Court.

The case was investigated by Lieutenant Tony Wong and Sergeant Jermaine Taylor of the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Katherine Zdrojeski and Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, and Mark Feldman, Senior Executive Assistant for Crime Strategies and Investigations.

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

 

Brooklyn Construction Company Pleads Guilty to Failing to Pay Employees More Than $303,000 in Owed Wages

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 18, 2018

 

Brooklyn Construction Company Pleads Guilty to Failing to Pay Employees More Than $303,000 in Owed Wages

Twenty-One Workers Receive Back Pay from The Urban Group

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced that a Brooklyn construction company that was awarded contracts to perform work on schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx has pleaded guilty to grand larceny for underpaying employees and stealing the difference. The defendant made full restitution to the workers, who were presented with checks today by DA Gonzalez and Commissioner Peters.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This company got lucrative city contracts and then shamelessly stole money from its workers. In Brooklyn, we simply will not allow workers to have their hard-earned wages stolen from them. We are committed to protecting the integrity of city contracts and ensuring that prevailing wages are paid.”

Commissioner Peters said, “This story of greed and deception has a happy ending today, with workers finally receiving their rightful prevailing wages for the hard work they performed on this company’s public construction projects. As a result of its crimes, The Urban Group, Ltd. will also lose out on funds: by way of a five-year debarment from any public work contracts or sub-contracts in New York State. DOI is proud to stand with the Brooklyn District Attorney to make these workers whole and together we will continue to pursue construction companies who fail to pay employees their rightful, lawful wages

The District Attorney identified the defendant as The Urban Group, located at 18 Crescent Street, in East New York. The corporation pleaded guilty on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, to one count of second-degree grand larceny. The corporation made full restitution of $303,410.97 and was sentenced to a conditional discharge. The company will be debarred from city contracts for five years.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between 2014 and 2015, Urban’s owner, Gewan “Ken” Bharatlall, had six non-union workers perform construction-related tasks such as demolition, masonry, carpentry, painting and caulking. The workers performed the construction at five School Construction Authority sites, including: Public School 101, 2360 Benson Avenue, Brooklyn; Public School 251K, 1037 East 54th Street, Brooklyn; George W. Wingate High School, 600 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn; Public School 396X, 1930 Andrews Avenue South, Bronx; and Public School 97X, 1375 Mace Avenue, Bronx.

Labor Law and the NYC SCA contracts required the defendant to pay prevailing wages and overtime pay to all employees who worked on the projects. The defendant’s owner, Gewan Bharatlall, falsely certified that the defendant had paid the employees the required prevailing wages and overtime. In reality, the defendant paid the six employees between $10 and $17 per hour without overtime compensation or benefits, instead of the mason tender rate of $62 to $63 per hour. The total underpayment of wages and benefits to the six non-union workers on SCA projects amounted to $232,092.98.

Additionally, the defendant hired 15 non-union day laborers in 2015 to perform construction-related work at various SCA job sites, two of the sites were public schools in Brooklyn and one of the sites was a public school in the Bronx. Although the workers were performing construction-related tasks at the schools, they were only paid the standard rate of $31 to $38 per hour instead of the trade rate of $64 to $72 per hour. A calculation of the difference in pay amounted to an underpayment of $71,317.99 in wages and benefits due to those 15 workers.

The case was investigated by DOI’s Office of the Inspector General for the School Construction Authority, specifically Investigators Leonard Reins and Jose Romero and Deputy Counsel Jason S. Herman, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Nicholas Scicutella, First Deputy Inspector General Gerald McEnroe, Inspector General Felice Sontupe, Associate Commissioner James Flaherty, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Susan Lambiase and First Deputy Commissioner Lesley Brovner.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Vivian Young Joo, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Blank, Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to Five and a Half Years in Prison For Assaulting Homeless Man on Facebook Live

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 15, 2018

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to Five and a Half Years in Prison
For Assaulting Homeless Man on Facebook Live

Tormented Victim and Kicked Him Down Flight of Stairs;
Defendant’s Facebook Account was Being Monitored, Led to Arrest

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 24-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for a wanton attack on a 58-year-old man, parts of which the defendant broadcast on Facebook Live.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This cruel and cowardly assault of a defenseless older man was sickening and shameful. The defendant’s brazen behavior, combined with excellent work by a quick-thinking detective, led to his capture and ensured that justice was done in this case.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Daquan King, 24, of Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Harrington to five and a half years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his guilty plea last month to second-degree assault.

The District Attorney said that on March 24, 2017 at approximately 9:35 p.m., the defendant entered an elevator inside 50 Lincoln Road, in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, where he encountered the victim, a 58-year-old homeless man who used to frequent that residential building. The defendant set out to torment the visibly intoxicated victim for fun, according to the evidence, which includes video surveillance. He took money from the victim’s pocket, tossed it on the floor, closed the elevator door and held it shut for several minutes, trapping the man inside. After he allowed the victim to exit the elevator, the defendant pulled him to the floor, and hit, dragged and kicked him down the stairs as two of the defendant’s friends looked on and laughed.

The defendant followed the victim to the next floor and started recording a Facebook Live video. The video shows the defendant kick the victim from the top of the stairs, causing him to fly through the air and land at the bottom of the 15 steps. He is then seen laughing and callously stepping over the victim, who at that point was bleeding from the head. The defendant continued to record as he exited the building and directed people he encountered to “go to the fifth floor,” remarking that he kicked someone down the stairs and that he is on Facebook Live. He looked at the camera and said, “When I end this video, go and watch the video.”

The video came to the attention of law enforcement. Upon analyzing the video, a detective was able to pinpoint the location of the assault. He responded to the building and observed blood on the fourth floor, where he learned that a man had been transported from the location to Kings County Hospital with head injuries. The detective recognized the victim from the Facebook Live video and located him. The defendant was arrested the next day.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sasha Pemberton, of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Klestzick, Bureau Chief.

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East Flatbush Man Sentenced to 24 Years to Life in Prison for Strangulation Death of His Former Girlfriend, Who Had Order of Protection Against Him

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

 

East Flatbush Man Sentenced to 24 Years to Life in Prison for Strangulation
Death of His Former Girlfriend, Who Had Order of Protection Against Him

Defendant Showed up at Victim’s Workplace; Incident Captured on Surveillance Video

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 34-year-old man has been sentenced to 24 years to life in prison for the strangulation death of his former girlfriend, 25-year-old Deneisha Smith.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Domestic violence remains the cause of too many homicides and my Office is committed to obtaining justice for every victim and to work on prevention by identifying and prosecuting all incidents of intimate partner abuse. In this case, the defendant brutally killed a completely innocent woman and will now spend many years in prison for this heinous act.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Rolanso Lexune, 34, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was sentenced yesterday by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser to 24 years to life in prison following his conviction last month of second-degree murder after a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on October 1, 2016, at approximately 9:30 a.m., the defendant showed up at Bedford Technology, the workplace of Deneisha Smith, his former girlfriend, located at 2184 Bedford Avenue, in Flatbush. The victim buzzed the defendant into the store and the two are seen interacting when the defendant suddenly uses force to push the victim into a backroom out of public view, according to surveillance video. Further video recovered from the backroom shows the defendant arguing with the victim, looking at her cell phone, assaulting the victim, and ultimately strangling her with his hands before leaving the scene.

The victim’s body was discovered three hours later by a co-worker and she was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel. The defendant was arrested at his East Flatbush apartment, where he lived with his wife and children, after being identified on the videotape surveillance. The victim had a full order of protection against the defendant stemming from an earlier incident in which he struck the victim and stole her cell phone.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Vincent Bocchetti, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Sydelle Exantus, also of the DV Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michele Kaminsky, Bureau Chief.

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Sheepshead Bay Man Indicted for Fatally Stabbing Brooklyn Professor Inside Victim’s Basement in Prospect Park South

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 8, 2018

 

Sheepshead Bay Man Indicted for Fatally Stabbing Brooklyn Professor
Inside Victim’s Basement in Prospect Park South

Allegedly Gained Entry and Attacked Homeowner; Found Hiding in Closet

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 29-year-old Brooklyn man has been indicted on charges of first-degree murder for allegedly killing a New School professor inside the victim’s basement in Prospect Park South.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly burglarized a house and, when confronted by the homeowner, brutally stabbed him to death. We intend to vigorously prosecute this shocking and reprehensible murder and obtain justice for the victim’s heartbroken family.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Mirzo Atadzhanov, 29, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on charges of first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree burglary. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court on August 29, 2018. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of the top count with which he is charged.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on May 7, 2018, just before 6 p.m., the victim’s wife placed a 911 call and, when police responded, officers discovered the victim, 66-year-old Jeremy Safran, in the basement of his Prospect Park South home. The victim was stabbed twice in the chest and three times in the stomach. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The defendant was discovered hiding in a closet in the basement. The knife used in the stabbing was subsequently recovered from the trunk of the defendant’s car, according to the evidence. The investigation revealed that, earlier that day, the defendant followed the victim’s 19-year-old daughter to the family’s front door, engaged her in conversation and then left.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Ernest Chin, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Maria Neri, of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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