Brooklyn Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing Over $650,000 From Retired Couple After Representing Them in Real Estate Deal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 13, 2018

 

Brooklyn Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing Over $650,000
From Retired Couple After Representing Them in Real Estate Deal

The Defendant Allegedly Deposited Funds into His Escrow Account,
Didn’t Turn Over All of the Proceeds to Which the Sellers Were Entitled

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 50-year-old East Flatbush man has been indicted on a grand larceny charge for allegedly withholding proceeds from the $1.7 million sale of a Bedford-Stuyvesant building owned by a retired couple.

District Attorney Gonzalez said “This defendant was trusted with funds that he was obligated to give to his clients. Instead, he allegedly betrayed that trust and kept $650,000 of his retired clients’ money. We will now seek to hold him accountable for this alleged theft.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Gerald Douglas, 50, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny. He was ordered held on bail of $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash and to return to court on February 6, 2019. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between August 2016 and March 2017, the defendant represented a couple in the sale of their nine-unit building at 11A Spencer Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The defendant provided legal services through the law firm Douglas & Associates P.C, located at 4517 Avenue D, in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

It is alleged that the defendant represented the victims, a married couple ages 70 and 71 years old, at the closing of the sale of their property on September 12, 2016, at which time he received checks totaling nearly $1.5 million, which, less the down payment, represented the balance owed. It is alleged that the defendant kept the funds, depositing them into his escrow account. He was also in possession of a down payment of $170,000 that he received in August 2016.

At the end of October 2016, the defendant sent the victims a check for $200,000 and a week later wired them $600,000. In March 2017, he gave them another check for $100,000.

Finally, it is alleged, that despite repeated and urgent requests from the victims, the defendant failed to turn over the balance of the funds, less his legal fee and a broker’s fee, which was approximately $650,000.

Anyone who believes they were victimized by this defendant should call the District Attorney’s Office at 718-250-2600.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, with the assistance of Financial Investigator Marina Kuchmar, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Spakanos, Unit Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, under the overall supervision of 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 District Attorney Creates a Dedicated Hate Crimes Bureau

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Creates a Dedicated Hate Crimes Bureau

Bureau Prosecutors Will Investigate Bias-Motivated Crimes with Police to
Bring Enhanced Charges and Launch Outreach Efforts in Vulnerable Communities

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced the creation of a dedicated Hate Crimes Bureau, staffed with senior and experienced prosecutors who will follow investigations from the beginning and enhance charges when appropriate. The Bureau will also be reaching out to vulnerable communities to educate their members about their rights and how to protect themselves from bias-motivated attacks. The Brooklyn DA’s Hate Crimes Unit was previously part of the Civil Rights Bureau.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Protecting everyone in Brooklyn is my highest priority and it is simply unacceptable that members of certain protected groups are fearful to walk the streets of our borough. The creation of a dedicated bureau with more resources and experienced prosecutors will help my Office to offer the most adequate response to the growing problem of bias-motivated crimes. This diverse group of assistant district attorneys will also work with community members to improve trust and cooperation.”

The Hate Crimes Bureau is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting crimes that are motivated, in whole or in substantial part, by a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of the victim, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct. The Brooklyn DA’s Office operates a Hate Crimes Hotline at 718-250-4949.

ADA Kelli Muse, formerly the Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau and Hate Crimes Unit, has been appointed Chief of the Hate Crimes Bureau. Senior ADA Ari Farkas has been named Deputy Chief. He previously served as a grand jury supervisor in the Grey Zone Trial Bureau, which covers parts of Williamsburg, Borough Park and other neighborhoods. The rest of the Bureau’s diverse staff include ADAs Peter Choi, Prabhalya Pulim, Maggie Dunbar and Adrianna Rodriguez.

In an effort to enhance prosecutions whenever appropriate, prosecutors from the Hate Crimes Bureau will assist in investigations by going to crime scenes and interviewing victims and witnesses at early stages of cases, working closely with members of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force. They will also conduct independent investigations. Additionally, they will expand to conduct vigorous outreach, which includes educational sessions and reaching out to communities that are targeted by bias-motivated crimes in order to increase prevention and share information about how we handle such cases.

Recent crime statistics have indicated an uptick in reported hate crimes across New York City, with over half targeting Jewish people. The Brooklyn DA’s Office’s Hate Crimes Unit handled over 70 cases in the past two years with the top targeted groups being LGBTQ individuals (34%), Jews (30%) and African-Americans (14%).

Creating a single point of contact for hate crime charges that will assist the police and communicate with the community is part of DA Gonzalez’s Justice 2020 action plan, which also calls for including a multi-lingual and diverse staff with ongoing culturally-specific training and connections to vulnerable populations. Creating this dedicated Hate Crimes Bureau serves an important foundation that will help in achieving these goals.

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Brooklyn District Attorney Announces Two Events to Allow Individuals to Erase Past Low-Level Marijuana Convictions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 6, 2018

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Announces Two Events to
Allow Individuals to Erase Past Low-Level Marijuana Convictions

Community-Based Opportunities to Consult with Defense Lawyers and File
Motions to Erase Convictions for Cases that are No Longer Being Prosecuted in Brooklyn

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced two community-based sessions next week where individuals who have been previously convicted in Brooklyn for a misdemeanor marijuana possession offense will be able to meet with a defense lawyer at no cost and fill out a motion asking to erase that conviction. The District Attorney’s Office will consent to those motions and will ask a judge to vacate the convictions, representing the first initiative of its kind in New York State.

The program – which is one of the recommendations DA Gonzalez adopted as part of his Justice 2020 Initiative – is in partnership with The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, Brooklyn Law School and the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of Law, and follows DA Gonzalez’s decision to stop prosecuting all but the most egregious cases involving possession and smoking of small amounts of marijuana.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This is a unique and groundbreaking opportunity for folks who are burdened by convictions for conduct we no longer prosecute to clear their record and get a fresh start in time for the new year. I encourage every eligible person to attend one of these events, get much-needed relief and help us make a real impact as we work to correct the policies of the past and begin to heal our communities.”

Dawn Ryan, Attorney-In-Charge of the Brooklyn Trial Office at The Legal Aid Society, said, “A criminal record stemming from a misdemeanor marijuana conviction holds people back in a myriad of ways and can affect a person’s employment, education and immigration status. I therefore urge everyone in Brooklyn with such a conviction to attend one of these sessions, meet with a public defender and receive consultation on erasing it from their record. The Legal Aid Society is proud to be part of this much-needed program.”

Lisa Schreibersdorf, Executive Director of Brooklyn Defender Services, said, “Anyone who has a conviction for marijuana should come to one of the clinics and get legal advice about their eligibility to have that conviction removed from their record. These convictions have wide-reaching impact on many people, including barring access to student loans, reducing employment and housing opportunities and even causing people to lose custody of their children. We will provide assistance on all these matters at the clinics.”

Under the new program, those with a past conviction for misdemeanor marijuana possession (PL 221.15, PL 221.10 or PL 221.05) will meet with a defense lawyer, who will counsel them and will fill out the legal documents. After a review by the DA’s Office, the case will subsequently be called in court, where the DA’s Office will consent to the motion and ask that the conviction be vacated, and the underlying charge dismissed (the Office may oppose motions from individuals with prior convictions for certain violent felonies or sex offenses). Individuals will have the option of waiving their appearance in court if they so choose.

Those seeking to erase their conviction(s) should attend one of these events in person:

  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Office of Assembly Member Tremaine Wright, 1360 Fulton Street, Room 417 in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
  • Saturday, December 15, 2018, 10 a.m. – 12 noon at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue in Flatbush.

Participants are only required to bring a form of identification and, if they have, should also bring any paperwork or information regarding their past conviction(s). Additional events are planned for 2019.

Starting in the spring of 2018, the DA gradually expanded his policy of not prosecuting low-level marijuana possession cases to include cases involving smoking in public, which are charged under the same statutes as possession (PL 221.10 and 221.05). The only individuals currently prosecuted for these offenses are those who pose a threat to public safety (e.g. driving with burning marijuana), create a genuine nuisance (e.g. smoking on public transportation or in a schoolyard where children are exposed to smoke) or are involved in violent criminal activity (i.e. “drivers of crime”).

Following the policy change, the number of marijuana possession cases that were accepted for prosecution this year declined from 349 in January to five in October – a drop of 98.5%. DA Gonzalez has called for the issuance of civil summonses as a response to low-level marijuana use and possession, as opposed to criminal summonses that make up the current response to most low-level marijuana offenses.

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Flatbush Woman Indicted for Allegedly Embezzling Over $125,000 from Small Technology Company That Assists Charter Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

 

Flatbush Woman Indicted for Allegedly Embezzling Over $125,000 from Small Technology Company That Assists Charter Schools

Allegedly Used Money for Car Payments, Luxury Items and Travel Expenses

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 40-year-old Flatbush woman has been indicted on various charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records for allegedly wiring money from her employer’s business accounts to her personal account, as well as making cash withdrawals totaling more than $125,000.

District Attorney Gonzalez said “This defendant allegedly betrayed her employer’s trust by wiring money to herself and spending it on luxury goods and travel. Her alleged actions caused a significant loss to her employer and jeopardized a small business on which many charter schools rely.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Tasmyn Craig, 40, of Flatbush, Brooklyn. She was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which she is charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, 22 counts of third-degree larceny, seven counts of fourth-degree larceny, and 30 counts of falsifying business records. She was released without bail and ordered to return to court on February 6, 2019. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between June 21, 2016, and December 30, 2016, the defendant allegedly made 29 wire transfers to her personal Chase account for more than $115,000 from a Wells Fargo account belonging to her employer, Charter Technology Solutions. CTS was founded in 2010 to assist charter schools with their technological needs. Craig was hired as CTS’ operations and finance manager on October 5, 2015. In that role, Craig had access to the Wells Fargo and Citibank accounts used to pay operational expenses.

The alleged embezzlement was discovered by CTS founder Sachin Gujral in January 2017, when he noticed what appeared to be double entries of payments to vendors, according to the investigation. The defendant allegedly categorized the transactions as business expenditures to vendors doing business with CTS. Gujral reported the embezzlement to the police.

It is also alleged that from April 22, 2016 to January 3, 2017, the defendant stole another $9,500 from CTS’s Citibank business account through automated teller machine withdrawals.

In total, the defendant allegedly embezzled more than $125,000 from CTS. The money was allegedly used to purchase products from Gucci, Tiffany, Akira, and Uggs; to make monthly car payments for a BMW; and for JetBlue airline tickets and Miami hotels, according to the investigation.

The defendant was fired on January 10, 2017.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Joseph DeSantis and Sergeant Johnny Wong of the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Karen P. Turner of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, with assistance from Financial Investigator Marina Kuchmar of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

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

 

Sunset Park Man Indicted for Allegedly Stabbing Interpreter for ACS Social Worker During Home Visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

 

Sunset Park Man Indicted for Allegedly Stabbing Interpreter for
ACS Social Worker During Home Visit

Victim Was Stabbed in the Back with Kitchen Knife

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 61-year-old Sunset Park man was indicted on attempted murder charges for allegedly stabbing a Cantonese interpreter during a home visit. The interpreter was at the home to assist a social worker with the Administration for Children’s Services.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This interpreter and social worker were merely trying to do their jobs and follow up on a neglect report when the defendant allegedly stabbed the victim. Such an unprovoked attack is especially disturbing because it can have a chilling effect on dedicated professionals doing important work to keep our children safe. We’ll now seek to hold the defendant accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Quanyi Feng, 61, of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Murphy on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Bail was continued at $250,000 and the defendant was ordered to return to court on January 16, 2019. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that on November 8, 2018, at approximately 8 p.m., inside of a building located on 52nd Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the defendant allegedly stabbed a 55-year-old Queens woman in the back with a kitchen knife. The victim was an interpreter working with an ACS social worker who was making a home visit following reports that the defendant’s grandchildren had been attending school appearing messy and unkempt, according to the investigation.

As the social worker spoke to the child’s mother, a verbal dispute ensued, according to the investigation, and the defendant then entered the room and began arguing with the Cantonese interpreter. As the social worker and interpreter attempted to leave the apartment and make their way down the stairs to exit the building, the defendant allegedly approached the interpreter from behind and stabbed her in the left side of the lower back.

The social worker called 911 and the defendant was arrested at the scene. The knife allegedly used in the attack was recovered in the kitchen.

The victim was hospitalized and treated for multiple stab wounds that damaged various internal organs, requiring surgery.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Garey A. Pierce of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney James Lin, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District David Klestzick, Bureau Chief.

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

Georgia Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatal Shooting Outside Brooklyn Funeral

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 29, 2018

 

Georgia Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for
Fatal Shooting Outside Brooklyn Funeral

Two People Were Killed and Four Others, Including the Defendant, Were Injured in Shootout

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 43-year-old man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison following his conviction on two counts of murder stemming from a shooting outside of an East Flatbush church where a funeral was being held.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “It is outrageous that a gunfight erupted as mourners were paying their respects to a lost loved one. Two lives were lost, and several other people were injured after the defendant and others fired upon a group of people attending a funeral. With today’s sentence, the defendant has been held accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Fritz Celestine, 43, of Marietta, Georgia. He was sentenced yesterday to 25 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser. The defendant was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on October 11, 2018, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to testimony, on April 27, 2015, at approximately 8:30 p.m., outside the Emmanuel Church of God located at 1365 Flatbush Avenue, the defendant got into an altercation with Sharieff Clayton, who hit the defendant. Celestine and co-defendant Pierre Celestine and another individual who has not been apprehended, pulled out guns and started shooting, according to trial testimony. One person fired back. Clayton and another man, Ronald Murphy, were both shot and killed. Four others were injured by gunfire, including the defendant and three bystanders.

Pierre Celestine is awaiting trial.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Visotzky, of the District Attorney’s Red Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Bedford Stuyvesant Man Indicted on Arson and Burglary as Hate Crimes for Allegedly Setting Fire Inside Yeshiva and Vandalizing Synagogue

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

 

Bedford Stuyvesant Man Indicted on Arson and Burglary as Hate Crimes for Allegedly Setting Fire Inside Yeshiva and Vandalizing Synagogue

Defendant Apprehended After Allegedly Setting Trash Cans on Fire

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 26-year-old man has been named in a 30-count indictment in which he is charged with arson and burglary as hate crimes and other related offenses in connection with two separate incidents in which he allegedly set a fire in a closet of a Williamsburg yeshiva and wrote anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls of a synagogue in Prospect Heights.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These alleged bias-motivated crimes are disheartening and undermine the values that we hold dear in our community. In Brooklyn, people of all faiths, cultures, ethnicities, and races should feel safe. The defendant in this case has now been indicted and I intend to hold him accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as James Polite, 26, of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 30-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree arson as a hate crime, third-degree burglary as a hate crime, second-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime and other related offenses. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court on February 6, 2019. The defendant faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on November 1, 2018, at approximately 6 p.m., the defendant entered 17 Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights, which houses the Union Temple of Brooklyn. It is alleged that he wrote anti-Semitic messages and other graffiti, including “End is now” on the walls of several floors in the building.

The following day, at approximately 2:39 a.m., the defendant was observed on surveillance video entering a yeshiva at 35 Hewes Street in Williamsburg and going into a coat room on the first floor of the building, where he allegedly set a fire. The defendant remained in the room for approximately one minute before leaving the location. Within minutes, the area outside of the coat room began to fill with smoke. Prior to the fire, the defendant was captured on surveillance video entering a gas station and obtaining matches.

The defendant was apprehended on November 2, 2018 after witnesses allegedly saw him setting a trash can on fire near 134 Ross Street in Williamsburg and called 911. The officers who responded later recognized the defendant as the suspect captured on surveillance footage at the earlier crime scenes.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Christopher Eribo, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Joseph P. Alexis, Chief of the Trial Division.

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

 

Flatbush Man Convicted of Assault for Broad Daylight Shooting of Innocent Man Outside of Barclays Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

 

Flatbush Man Convicted of Assault for Broad Daylight
Shooting of Innocent Man Outside of Barclays Center

Victim Was Exiting the Subway When He Was Struck

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 30-year-old Brooklyn man was convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree attempted assault for shooting a 50-year-old man in the ankle outside of the Barclays Center last year.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant fired numerous shots in the middle of the day in a busy area, endangering scores of innocent people. Luckily no one was killed. This verdict underscores our commitment to the safety of the people of Brooklyn.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jonathan Cordoba, 30, of Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was convicted yesterday of one count of first-degree assault and one count of first-degree attempted assault following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht, who set sentencing for December 12, 2018.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on June 14, 2017, at approximately 2:05 p.m., on Flatbush Avenue, near the Barclays Center, the victim, a 50-year-old man who had just exited the subway and was walking to work, heard and saw two people arguing on the street. One of the men was the defendant. The victim saw a gun in the defendant’s hand and began to run. He then heard multiple shots fired, was struck in the foot and fell to the ground.

While on the ground, according to trial testimony, the victim saw the defendant fire additional shots at the person with whom he was arguing; that person was not struck. A witness called 911 and the victim was taken to the hospital and treated for a gunshot wound to the ankle.

The defendant was arrested on June 21, 2017, after he was identified from surveillance video.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Farin Chasin-Fodeman and Yasmine Meyer, of the District Attorney’s Orange Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Janet Gleeson, Bureau Chief.

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Defendant Who Attacked Three Men Near Gay Nightclub Convicted of First-Degree Assault

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 20, 2018

 

Defendant Who Attacked Three Men Near Gay Nightclub
Convicted of First-Degree Assault

Slashed One Victim Inside Restaurant and Attacked Two Others Outside

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 34-year-old Brooklyn man has been convicted of first-degree assault and other charges for slashing one man, menacing another with a weapon and stabbing a third near a gay nightclub in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant viciously assaulted three innocent men for no reason. Such brutal violence cannot be tolerated, and today’s verdict holds him accountable and delivers justice for the victims.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as James Thomas, a.k.a., Mousey Baby, 34, of Prospect Heights. He was convicted today following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, second-degree menacing and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The defendant faces up to 33 years in prison when he’s sentenced on December 12, 2018.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on March 5, 2017, at approximately 4:30 a.m., inside a Crown Fried Chicken restaurant located at 1147 Fulton Street, the defendant, who is a local rapper, shouted at various patrons inside of the restaurant, many of whom had just exited the nearby Langston Club, which is a predominantly gay night club. The defendant slashed the first victim in the face with a knife and then left the restaurant.

The defendant then confronted two other men who had also left Langston Club and were attempting to walk into the same restaurant. He pushed the second victim up against a wall, menaced him with a knife and stabbed the third victim twice in the torso and once in the shoulder when he tried to come to his friend’s aid. Police responded to the scene, but the defendant had already fled the area.

The first stabbing victim was taken to the hospital and received 18 stitches on the left side of his face. The second stabbing victim received three stitches to the torso and was hospitalized overnight.

The defendant turned himself into police at the 79th precinct stationhouse on March 9, 2017, after video surveillance footage from the scene was released to the media.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Andrew Smart of the Hate Crimes Task Force.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney T. Peter Choi, of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Deputy Bureau Chief, under the overall supervision of Executive District Attorney Joseph P. Alexis, Chief of the Trial Division.

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Brooklyn Man Arraigned on Indictments Charging Him With Six Burglaries in Borough Park, Including two Synagogues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

 

Brooklyn Man Arraigned on Indictments Charging Him
With Six Burglaries in Borough Park, Including two Synagogues

Defendant Captured on Video Surveillance at Each Crime Scene

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 50-year-old Brooklyn man was arraigned on two separate indictments for allegedly committing a string of six burglaries in Borough Park in September and October 2018, including breaking into two synagogues and a religious school. 

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant is allegedly a professional burglar whose crime spree violated the sanctity of religious institutions, among other places, from which he stole cash and religious items. We will now seek to hold him accountable.” 

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Charles Cajigas, 50, of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. He was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Miller on two indictments in which he is charged with third-degree burglary, fourth-degree grand larceny, petit larceny, criminal trespass and other charges. He was ordered held on $75,000 bail and to return to court on January 11, 2019.  

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant was charged in connection with the following incidents: 

  • On September 15, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the defendant allegedly burglarized a commercial establishment located at 4520 18 Avenue.
  • On September 25, 2018, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the defendant allegedly burglarized the Kedishas Aharon Synagogue located at 1350 39th Street and stole two silver crowns used in religious services.
  • On September 25, 2018, at approximately 2:20 a.m., the defendant allegedly burglarized a commercial establishment located at 4605 13th Avenue.
  • On October 7, 2018, at approximately 1:22 a.m., the defendant allegedly burglarized Gan Yisroel School, located at 3909 15th Avenue.
  • On October 8, 2018, at approximately 4:20 a.m., the defendant allegedly burglarized the Seret Wiznitz Synagogue, located at 4811 13th Avenue.
  • On October 21, 2018, at approximately 4:25 a.m., the defendant allegedly burglarized a commercial establishment located at 4724 18th Avenue. 

The defendant was arrested on October 23, 2018, after the New York City Police Department’s Facial Recognition Program identified him as a possible suspect. Following his arrest, he allegedly identified himself on video surveillance taken from the crime scenes and told the police where the religious items could be located. 

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Krystyn Tendy, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Bureau Chief.  

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