Crown Heights Man Sentenced to 15 Years to Life in Prison For Sexually Assaulting Two Women in Prospect Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, April 12, 2024

Crown Heights Man Sentenced to 15 Years to Life in Prison

For Sexually Assaulting Two Women in Prospect Park

Defendant Approached the Victims in Separate Afternoon Attacks 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Crown Heights man has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting two women as they were walking through Prospect Park.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I commend the victims in this case for the incredible courage and grace they showed by coming to court and testifying against the defendant. He has now been brought to justice and with today’s lengthy sentence it is ensured that he will not be able to attack any other innocent, vulnerable women.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Carlis Clarke, 28, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Christopher Robles to 15 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of one count of predatory sexual assault, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and one count of second-degree assault on March 18, 2024, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on March 11, 2019, at approximately 4:30 p.m., a 25-year-old woman was walking through Prospect Park when the defendant walked up to her, grabbed her by the hair, pulled her off the path and dragged her into the woods. He then sexually assaulted her, dragged her to a fence, and forced himself on her again.  The defendant and the victim then heard a noise, he became distracted, and she was able to flee.

Furthermore, according to the evidence, on February 23, 2021, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a 33-year-old woman was walking through Prospect Park when the defendant, wearing a ski mask, grabbed the woman by the hair, pulled her into the woods, sat on her, and sexually assaulted her. As the victim fought him off and screamed, a passerby heard her, came to her aid, and chased the defendant away.

The witness called 911 and followed the defendant into the Ebbets Field Houses. He was captured on surveillance video and arrested. His DNA was matched to DNA collected from the scarf of the 2019 victim.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Gwen Barnes and Tatiana Benjamin, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Shooting and Killing Romantic Rival in the Gowanus Houses

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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for

Shooting and Killing Romantic Rival in the Gowanus Houses

Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter in February

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brownsville man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatally shooting a 34-year-old romantic rival during an argument at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in 2020.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s guilty plea and today’s sentence hold him accountable for a senseless act that took the life of an innocent man. In Brooklyn, we are deeply committed to ending this type of violence. I commend the NYPD for swiftly apprehending this defendant so that he could be brought to justice.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Rudolph Riley, 32, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice to 20 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter on February 23, 2024.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on May 26, 2020, at approximately 3:45 p.m., the defendant and his ex-girlfriend were arguing inside her apartment at the Gowanus Houses on Hoyt Street. The defendant had recently dropped off the two-year-old child he shared with his ex. When the woman’s boyfriend, Cory Turner, 34, tried to intervene, the defendant shot him in the arm and chest with a 40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun. Turner was taken to Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The defendant fled the scene, leaving the child at the apartment. He was stopped a short time later on Henry Street by a detective from the 76th Precinct who recognized the defendant’s description from a radio alert. As they were speaking, the defendant dropped an item wrapped in a red bandana from under his arm. The detective picked it up and observed it to be a 40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun. The defendant was arrested at the scene. Ballistic analysis later matched the handgun to the shooting.

The District Attorney thanked Homicide Paralegal Amanda Connolly for her assistance on the case.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Matthew Perry of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, Bureau Chief.

 

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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Announces Disruption of “Pig Butchering” Operation, Shares Tips on Avoiding This Prolific Scam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Announces Disruption of

“Pig Butchering” Operation, Shares Tips on Avoiding This Prolific Scam 

21 Web Domains Seized After Brooklyn Victims Reported Over Five Million Dollars in Losses;

Scammers Gain Victims’ Trust and Convince Them to Make Fake Cryptocurrency Investments

[Note: materials presented at today’s press conference are available here]

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that his Virtual Currency Unit successfully disrupted a pig butchering operation that defrauded people from across the United States out of millions of dollars. Pig butchering refers to the practice of striking an online conversation with an unsuspecting person – through a random text message, a dating site match or by adding them to WhatsApp or another online group – gaining their trust and then steering them towards investing in cryptocurrency through websites and apps that are, in reality, bogus. The investments show tremendous returns but when the victims try to withdraw substantial sums they are blocked from their account and lose their entire investment.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Pig butchering is a growing type of scam that defrauds residents of Brooklyn and the entire country out of billions of dollars every year. My office’s strategy is to disrupt these schemes by seizing and shutting down their online infrastructure, and to educate the public about ways to avoid becoming a victim. Awareness and education are the first and best lines of defense against these prolific scams. Investment returns that seem too good to be true are almost always just that – fake. So, I urge everyone to be very skeptical of anyone who they haven’t met in person and who offers a lucrative investment opportunity in cryptocurrency.”

The District Attorney said that he established the Virtual Currency Unit in the fall of 2023 after hearing many complaints from Brooklyn residents who lost substantial sums to cryptocurrency scams. One was from a 51-year-old woman who, in March 2023, reported to the NYPD that she lost $22,680 after she was added to online chat groups discussing crypto investments. She was advised to download an app from coinformat.com and subsequently made eight deposits, seeing her profits rapidly climbing. Her account grew to a supposed total $387,495 but, when she tried to withdraw her initial investment, she was told she had to pay taxes. When she complained, she was blocked from the chat group and her money was gone.

The investigation revealed that her so-called cryptocurrency investment was moved through multiple crypto addresses in a manner consistent with money laundering. It was ultimately deposited into an account at a foreign cryptocurrency exchange and cashed out by an individual in a region beyond U.S. jurisdiction, possibly China. The investigation revealed additional victims of the same scheme, from California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, who had interreacted with coinformat.com and lost a combined total of $366,665.

An analysis of cryptocurrency transactions and domain registry records, led to the identification of even more victims and a network of about 80 domains linked to this fraudulent cryptocurrency investment scheme. The combined total loss of the identified victims is at least $1,063,846.

Pig butchering is a lucrative and growing global scam. The law enforcement community has learned that the masterminds of the schemes rely on human trafficking victims to help facilitate the scams at compounds that have mainly been identified in regions of Southeast Asia.  The international aspect of the scheme makes it especially challenging for a local prosecutor’s office to prosecute individual bad actors or recover stolen funds. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office took action to disrupt the scheme by seizing coinformat.com and 20 other active associated domains. Three virtual servers hosting those sites have also been seized. Additionally, forensic analysts were able to downland and analyze the cryptocurrency mobile apps advertised on the scam websites. Their analysis showed these were not legitimate apps – they contained malware, capable of covertly collecting usernames and passwords from the user’s phone.

The District Attorney’s Office has received many similar complaints from residents across Brooklyn, with losses totaling over $4 million. In particular, the Chinese and Russian communities in Brooklyn appear to have been targeted by random text message invitations to invest in cryptocurrency and advertisements on social media platforms. Victims come from every precinct in Brooklyn and are of all different ages and backgrounds. Anyone can be a target of this insidious scheme. Accordingly, the office has embarked on a public information campaign to inform residents in those communities and beyond.

The District Attorney shared the following warning signs of someone trying to lure a victim into a cryptocurrency scam:

  • You get a “wrong message” text from a stranger who attempts to start a friendship and talks about how much money they’ve made by investing in cryptocurrency.
  • You are added to a group chat on WhatsApp or Telegram that offers advice on how to invest in cryptocurrency with promises of getting rich quickly.
  • Someone on Facebook brags about how much money they have made in cryptocurrency and tells you they can help you get rich.
  • Someone you’ve never met in-person starts giving you cryptocurrency investment advice and promises returns on investments that seem too good to be true.
  • You are directed to download an app to track your investments from a cryptocurrency website for a company you’ve never heard of before, not from an official mobile app store.
  • The financial advisor or customer support for a cryptocurrency website communicates with you through Telegram or WhatsApp.
  • You are asked to make cryptocurrency investments by giving large amounts of cash to couriers and company representatives in-person.
  • You can make small withdrawals at the start but can’t withdraw any large amounts without having to pay a tax or additional fee.

The District Attorney also shared the following tips on how to protect people from these cryptocurrency scams:

  • Don’t trust cryptocurrency investment opportunities that seem too good to be true.
  • Do not make cryptocurrency investments based on the advice of someone you’ve never met in person.
  • Don’t download investment apps from unverified cryptocurrency investment websites.
  • Don’t install apps that force you to override your phone’s security features.
  • Verify the legitimacy of a company. Ask a friend, family member, or contact the KCDA Command center if you are unsure if something is legitimate.
  • Never allow download programs such as AnyDesk that allows remote access to your computer.
  • Do not pay more money in order to try and recover your investment from a cryptocurrency website.
  • Check whether a cryptocurrency exchange is licensed to operate in New York State by going to https://www.dfs.ny.gov/who_we_supervise or calling the New York State Department of Financial Services hotline at 800-342-3736.

The investigation into this case was handled by Assistant District Attorney Alona Katz, Chief of the Virtual Currency Unit with assistance from Senior Digital Forensic Analyst Mauricio Suarez-Marquez, under the supervision of Chief of the Digital Evidence Lab Unit Jingu Chong. Virtual Currency Analysts Sam Weaver and Lindiwe Mangondo, and Assistant District Attorney Kevin Zhen of the Frauds Bureau, assisted in the investigation. NYPD Detective James Tringali, of the Financial Crimes Taskforce, also assisted in the investigation.

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Five Individuals from Queens Indicted for Conspiracy and Murder of Brooklyn Laundromat Owner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Five Individuals from Queens Indicted for Conspiracy and

 Murder of Brooklyn Laundromat Owner

Victim’s Cousin Allegedly Recruited Friend, Friend’s Stepson and Associates to

Murder and Rob Victim; Four Assailants Ambushed Victim and Shot Him to Death

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that five individuals from Far Rockaway, Queens have been indicted for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, and other charges in connection with the caught-on-camera murder of a laundromat owner in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It is alleged that the victim’s cousin, who had an ongoing dispute with the victim, plotted the assassination with a friend, who recruited his teenage stepson and two of the stepson’s friends to commit the deadly assault.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This was a shocking execution of a local businessman, friend, brother, and beloved father, which is all the more tragic as it was allegedly planned by his own cousin.  A thorough investigation by the NYPD and my office unraveled the conspiracy and solved this horrific crime. We will now seek to hold all the defendants accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Ronnie Butler, 46; Luis Mercado, 48; Zecharyah Slay 16; Shaleek Riddick, 19; and Diante Stinson, 20, all from Far Rockaway, Queens. Butler was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which the defendants are variously charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child, second-degree conspiracy and fourth-degree conspiracy. Riddick and Stinson were arraigned on March 27, 2024. The defendants were ordered held without bail and to return to court on May 9, 2024.

Slay, who faces a top charge of second-degree murder, was arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Craig Walker on March 13, 2024. He was held without bail and ordered to return to court on May 10, 2024. Mercado will be arraigned on April 4, 2024.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on December 1, 2023, just before 6 p.m., Money Perkins, 37, was ambushed by four assailants, all armed with handguns, inside his laundromat, Money P. Clean, located on Clarendon Road in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. A surveillance video from inside the laundromat shows the victim struggling with one of the gunmen, all wearing heavy coats, as he is shot multiple times. One individual, allegedly Butler, is then seen slamming the victim’s head on the floor multiple times and snatching a chain, valued at over $30,000, from his neck.

The investigation relied on digital communications between the defendant as well as a video from Mercado’s residence. It revealed that Butler was Perkins’ cousin and the two had a long-running dispute dating back to when the victim opened his laundromat in 2022. In November 2023, Butler allegedly asked his friend Mercado to help him kill the victim. Mercado allegedly recruited his stepson, who brought along Riddick and Stinson, to help in committing the crime. The three were offered money for their participation, according to the evidence.

Butler, Slay, Riddick and Stinson, all armed with guns, allegedly entered the laundromat, the investigation found. At least three of them fired, striking the victim 13 times in the head, torso and leg. The evidence indicates that Mercado subsequently sold the gold chain.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Matthew Perry, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, Bureau Chief.

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

BMW Driver Who Allegedly Hit Two People While Driving Drunk in Bed-Stuy Indicted for Vehicular Assault

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

BMW Driver Who Allegedly Hit Two People

While Driving Drunk in Bed-Stuy Indicted for Vehicular Assault

Pedestrian and Cyclist Struck in Crosswalk

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Manhattan woman has been arraigned on an indictment in which she is charged with vehicular assault after she allegedly hit two people with her BMW while driving drunk in Bedford-Stuyvesant in November.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant made a terrible decision to allegedly get behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol. Her recklessness, as well as her complete disregard for the safety of our roadways, resulted in injuries to two people. My office is committed to keeping Brooklyn streets safe and we will now seek to hold this defendant accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Crystal DeJesus, 20, of Manhattan Valley, Manhattan. She was arraigned today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Herbert J. Moses on an indictment in which she is charged with two counts of second-degree vehicular assault; excessive speed; two counts of operating a motor vehicle under the influence; second-degree reckless endangerment; and reckless driving. The defendant was ordered to return to court on April 24, 2024.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on November 5, 2023, at approximately 11:50 p.m., the defendant was driving a 2010 BMW 328i westbound on Halsey Street near Tompkins Avenue when she struck a pedestrian and a cyclist in the crosswalk. The pedestrian, a 19-year-old woman, suffered massive head trauma; while the cyclist, a 32-year-old man, suffered injuries to the leg, knee, foot, and shoulder.

Furthermore, according to the investigation, when police officers arrived at the scene, they allegedly observed that the defendant had watery eyes and a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. The defendant was administered a breathalyzer test, which showed the defendant had a blood alcohol level of .12, greater than the legal limit of .08.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Steven Bravo and Christopher Dunne of the District Attorney’s Blue Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Kin Ng, Bureau Chief.

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

Long Island Man Indicted for Allegedly Stealing $305,000 by Charging Bergen Beach Woman for Plumbing Work That Wasn’t Performed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Long Island Man Indicted for Allegedly Stealing $305,000 by

Charging Bergen Beach Woman for Plumbing Work That Wasn’t Performed

 Allegedly Falsely Claimed to be a Licensed Plumber

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Long Island man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing approximately $305,000 from a Brooklyn homeowner by charging for a large-scale plumbing renovation project that he was not qualified to perform.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly carried out a brazen scheme by fraudulently holding himself out as a licensed plumber and taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from a homeowner for work that was not performed. This was a devastating outcome for the victim, and we will now seek to hold the defendant accountable for his criminal actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Amedeo Ali, 46, of Dix Hills, New York. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Kitsis on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on April 10, 2024.

The District Attorney said that on November 5, 2020, the defendant was hired to renovate a two-story house on East 67th Street in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn. The job included significant plumbing work, and the defendant allegedly held himself out to be a licensed plumber who was qualified to do the job.

The defendant allegedly gave the victim a business card with the name of a plumbing business and a master plumber’s license number. In fact, it is alleged, the defendant was not licensed and was using the license number of a legitimate plumber without that person’s knowledge or consent.

The defendant allegedly agreed in a written contract that for $170,000 he would, among other things, re-pipe the kitchen and bathroom, install a new heating system, and do cement work. In the months that followed, the defendant claimed that various issues were coming up and periodically asked the victim for additional payments beyond the agreed upon price.

By November 22, 2021, it is alleged, the victim had paid the defendant a total of $305,000. The first floor was still substantially demolished. The defendant allegedly demanded more money before he would return and finish the job, but the victim refused. Instead, she eventually hired a new company, which asked her for information pertaining to the defendant’s business and licensing.

Finally, it is alleged, after a search of public records, the victim learned the defendant was not a licensed plumber and paid the new company $125,000 to fix what the defendant had done and to properly complete the renovations.

The case was investigated by a Detective Investigator from the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau following a complaint that was made to the District Attorney’s Action Center.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Joseph P. McGurk and Jessica White of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Pamela Murray, Deputy Chief of the Frauds Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Gregory Pavlides, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of Investigations.

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

Brooklyn Woman Indicted for Allegedly Running Over Another Woman Intentionally, Killing Her

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

 

Brooklyn Woman Indicted for Allegedly

Running Over Another Woman Intentionally, Killing Her 

Tried to Strike Her Twice with Car Before Driving Over Victim Who Fell to Ground

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn woman has been arraigned on an indictment charging her with murder for allegedly running over another woman inside a parking lot in East New York, Brooklyn. The incident was captured on surveillance video.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly escalated an argument by cold heartedly and intentionally killing a woman with her car then driving away. This shocking and tragic murder was completely senseless and such violent behavior cannot be tolerated. We will now seek to hold the defendant accountable for her actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Naomi Broomes, 33, of East New York, Brooklyn. She was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice on an indictment in which she is charged with second-degree murder, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting and criminal possession of a weapon. She was ordered held without bail and to return to court on May 17, 2024. The defendant faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on January 11, 2024, just before 7:30 p.m., the defendant parked her car in a parking lot outside 1210 Loring Avenue, which is part of the Louis Pink Houses in East New York. A surveillance video that captured the entire incident showed that a man, which the investigation determined to be her boyfriend, walked away from his car, a 2006 Mercury sedan.

The video then shows a woman, identified as the victim, 24-year-old Shakira Serrano, who used to be romantically involved with the defendant’s boyfriend, approaching the car and starting to argue with its occupant, who’s in the driver’s seat. The boyfriend returned to the scene and tried to separate the two rivals. During the argument, the victim kicked and hit the vehicle.

The evidence shows that the defendant was driving the vehicle and twice attempted to strike the victim with the car but missed. The victim continued to struggle with the man who then shoved her to the ground. At that moment, the defendant allegedly accelerated the car and ran over the victim’s entire body, before driving away and leaving her boyfriend with the lifeless victim.

The victim was taken to Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

The District Attorney thanked Paralegal James Morales of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau for his assistance on the case.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Joseph Mancino, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, Bureau Chief.

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

 

Bronx Man Sentenced to 18 Years to Life in Prison for Shooting Romantic Rival inside Ex-Girlfriend’s Home in Dyker Heights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bronx Man Sentenced to 18 Years to Life in Prison for Shooting Romantic Rival inside Ex-Girlfriend’s Home in Dyker Heights

Fired 16 Times Through Bedroom Door, Striking Victim Once in Head During Home Invasion

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Bronx man has been sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for fatally shooting a romantic rival inside his ex-girlfriend’s home in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. After breaking into the home, the defendant fired 16 times through a bedroom door, striking the victim once in the head, killing him.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant broke into a family’s home in the middle of the night, murdered an innocent man in cold blood and terrorized a mother and her young daughter at gun point. With today’s sentence, he has now been held accountable for his horrifying actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Adam Thomas, 33, of the Bronx. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Warin to 18 years to life in prison. The defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on January 9, 2024.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on December 18, 2021, at approximately 12:16 a.m., the defendant broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home on 83rd Street in Dyker Heights. After climbing in a front window, the defendant, who was wearing a black ski-mask, encountered Justin Moncada, 30, in the hallway. Moncada saw the defendant and ran into a bedroom. The two men fought in the doorway, with Moncada shutting the door behind him. The defendant then fired 16 times through the door with a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun. One of the shots struck Moncada in the head, killing him.

Furthermore, according to the evidence, the defendant then exited through the window while his ex-girlfriend called police. While the woman was on the phone, the defendant returned and pointed the gun at her and a six-year-old daughter she shared with Moncada. He then demanded she turn over her cellphone and purse while screaming, “You chose him! You made me do this!” Police arrived and arrested the defendant as he attempted to climb back out of the window.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Mark Pagliuco, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, and Senior District Attorney Jessica Soares, also of the Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kori Medow, Bureau Chief.

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Teacher Arraigned on Indictment Charging Him With Sexual Abuse of Two Students 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

 

Teacher Arraigned on Indictment Charging Him

With Sexual Abuse of Two Students 

Abuse Allegedly Occurred in Classroom at Intermediate School 218

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 59-year-old math teacher at I.S. 218, located at 370 Fountain Avenue, has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with sexually abusing two students.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The conduct alleged in this indictment marks an incredible betrayal of trust by an educator, and we have no tolerance for this kind of abuse. Our schools must be safe havens for teaching and learning, and we will vigorously seek accountability for this defendant’s allegedly reprehensible actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Gary Simon, 59, of Flushing, Queens. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Tomlinson on an indictment in which he is charged with first- and second-degree sexual abuse, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child. The defendant was ordered to return to court on April 7, 2024. Bail was continued at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between November 15, 2023 and December 15, 2023, a 13-year-old girl was in the defendant’s classroom finishing an assignment when the defendant allegedly wrote “you suck” on a paper she had handed him. When the student asked the defendant why he wrote that he allegedly grabbed her and touched her breasts with his hands.

Furthermore, according to the investigation, on December 7, 2023, a 12-year-old girl was in the defendant’s classroom taking a test when the defendant allegedly hugged the girl and touched her breasts with his hands. The victim told the defendant she was going to report him, according to the investigation, and he allegedly laughed and said, “make sure you spell my name right.”

The first victim reported the alleged abuse to her counselor and the second victim reported the alleged abuse to her gym teacher. The allegations were relayed to the school principal and police were notified. The defendant was arrested on December 28, 2023, following an investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Tatiana Benjamin, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Flatlands Shooting That Killed Gang Rival Sitting in Car with Girlfriend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison

for Flatlands Shooting That Killed Gang Rival Sitting in Car with Girlfriend

At least Nine Shots from Large Caliber Handguns were Fired into Vehicle

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for a shooting that left a 21-year-old man dead. The defendant and his accomplice opened fire into a car parked in Flatlands where the victim was sitting with his girlfriend. The victim managed to push his girlfriend out of the car before collapsing, shielding her from the gunfire.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Anthony Francis was a beloved son, brother, nephew and cousin who was just 21 years old when he was shot and killed in a senseless act of gang violence. The lengthy sentences resulting from his murder underscore my commitment to protecting our communities from dangerous gang rivalries that harm too many young people.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Tarell Herbert, 30, of Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Heidi Cesare to 25 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on November 8, 2023, following a jury trial. His co-defendant, Tristan Murray, 31, of Brooklyn, was sentenced by Justice Cesare to 35 years to life in prison last June. Murray was convicted of second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on May 19, 2023, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on September 2, 2016, just after 7 p.m., Anthony Francis, 21, was wrapping up a visit with his girlfriend in Flatlands, Brooklyn, when they entered his BMW, which was parked on the street. Francis and his girlfriend were seated in the vehicle when the defendant and Murray drove up to the BMW at approximately 7:26 p.m. and opened fire at point-blank range from their passenger side window into the BMW.

The defendants were affiliated with the Folk Nation gang in Flatbush and were looking for rival gang members to shoot at the time of the incident, according to trial testimony. They spotted the victim, a member of the rival Woo gang, based in Canarsie, and one of the defendants yelled “Woo,” which is a way that Woo members greet each other, according to trial testimony. The defendants then opened fire. The victim, who was struck in the chest, pushed his girlfriend out of the car just before he died. Multiple .40 caliber and .45 caliber shell casings were found at the scene and Francis’ BMW was riddled with .40 and .45 caliber bullets.

The case was investigated by NYPD Detective Steven Yatchenya and the NYPD Brooklyn South Homicide Task Force, as well as a Detective Investigator assigned to the District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit.

The District Attorney thanked the Detective Investigators of the Special Investigations Unit, as well as analysts assigned to the DA’s Digital Evidence Lab, for their work on the case. The District Attorney additionally thanked Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau Paralegals Diane Fields-Vernon and Tania Lopez for their assistance.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Ford and Senior Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kiley, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Alfred De Ingeniis, Bureau Chief.

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