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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing Nearly $3.8 Million from Four Clients to Fund Lavish Lifestyle

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Brooklyn Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing

Nearly $3.8 Million from Four Clients to Fund Lavish Lifestyle

Defendant Allegedly Kept Home Sale Proceeds and Estate Funds, Allegedly Spent Funds on Expensive Restaurants, Hotels, a BMW, and a Battery Park City Apartment;

Charged in Similar Scheme in December for Allegedly Stealing Almost $1.5 Million

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Brooklyn lawyer Salvatore Strazzullo has been arraigned on an indictment charging him with stealing close to $3.8 million from four clients he represented in real estate and estate proceedings in connection with five properties in Bensonhurst, Kensington, Dyker Heights, and Borough Park.

The defendant was charged in a separate indictment in December 2023 with stealing approximately $1.5 million from three other clients following the sale of properties in Bensonhurst and Borough Park. That case is still pending.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant is accused of stealing a tremendous amount of money that represents the nest eggs of his victims, senior citizens who trusted him to handle their affairs. Instead, he allegedly violated his ethical duty as an attorney, betrayed their trust and broke the law. We will now seek to hold him accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Salvatore Strazzullo, 51, whose law office is located at 7101 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with one count of first-degree grand larceny, four counts of second-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. The defendant was released without bail and ordered to return to court on May 29, 2024.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant represented an 86-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman on the sale of their family residence on 70th Street in Bensonhurst between August 16, 2023 and March 26, 2024. The defendant allegedly stole the $1,298,035 proceeds of the sale, which were deposited into his escrow account to be given to his clients. He never distributed the funds, it is alleged, and did not respond to calls and emails from his clients.

It is also alleged that the defendant represented a 90-year-old man and an 88-year-old woman in the approximately $1.6 million sale of their family residence on McDonald Avenue in Kensington between April 27, 2022 and March 26, 2024. The proceeds were deposited into the defendant’s escrow account to be distributed to the clients. The clients allegedly received $750,000 from the defendant over a 19-month period after which the payments ceased. The defendant allegedly stole the remaining $933,120 of the proceeds.

Furthermore, it is alleged, that in June 2021 the defendant represented a 54-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman in the sale of two Brooklyn properties, one was their residence on 80th Street in Bensonhurst and one on 70th Street in Dyker Heights was the home of the man’s 86-year-old parents.  The defendant allegedly stole a total of approximately $693,273 from the proceeds of both sales. The defendant allegedly stopped returning phone calls and emails from the clients.

Finally, it is alleged that in May 2023, the defendant represented a 75-year-old man as executor of the estate of his cousin, in the sale of his sole asset, a property located on 59th Street in Borough Park. A portion of the proceeds of the $1.9 million sale, approximately $871,250, were deposited in the defendant’s escrow account to be distributed to the client, but allegedly were not, despite numerous requests.

It is alleged that, between June 9, 2021 and March 26, 2024, the defendant used his escrow account to engage in a Ponzi scheme, using some of the stolen funds from one client to pay money owed to other clients, while living a lavish lifestyle that included $50,000 worth of meals at restaurants including Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, Cipriani and Ponte Vecchio; almost $100,000 for a BMW and a driver; approximately $60,000 for hotels in Paris and Miami; about $406,000 for a $13,000-a-month apartment in Battery Park City; approximately $470,000 in American Express payments and cash withdrawals totaling approximately $970,000.

People who believe they have been victimized by this defendant are encouraged to contact the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Action Center at 718-250-2340 or to send an email to StrazzulloComplaints@brooklynda.org.

Supervising Financial Investigator Susan Ryan, of the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau, and a Detective Investigator assigned to the DA’s Detective Bureau assisted in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Laura Neubauer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove, Deputy Bureau Chief, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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

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.

Defendant Sentenced to up to Seven Years for Operating a Ponzi Scheme, Stealing Almost $1 Million from Nine Victims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Defendant Sentenced to up to Seven Years for Operating a Ponzi Scheme,

Stealing Almost $1 Million from Nine Victims

Defendant Told Victims that She Would Buy Discounted Properties

For Them at a Private Auction, Which Did Not Exist

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a defendant has been sentenced to 3 ½ to 7 years in prison for stealing approximately $959,000 from nine victims in a fraudulent real estate investment scheme in which victims were told their money would be used to purchase discounted Brooklyn properties at a private auction. Instead, no properties were ever purchased, and the defendant reimbursed some money to older investors using money from more recent investors.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “With today’s sentencing this defendant has been brought to justice. The defendant sought to take advantage of Brooklyn’s rising real estate values to steal money from investors. I would caution individuals to carefully consider with whom they invest their savings.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Regine Norman, a.k.a., Regine Ellis, 69. She was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to 3 ½ to 7 years in prison. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $842,000. She pleaded guilty to six counts of second-degree grand larceny and three counts of third-degree grand larceny on January 31, 2024.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between May 2018 and September 2020, the defendant engaged in a real estate fraud scheme in which she told her victims that she had access to buy properties located in Brooklyn and in the surrounding New York area, at a discount, usually by falsely claiming that she was a member of a private real estate auction. She then convinced her victims to wire her money for down payments on the properties.

After obtaining the down payment, the defendant provided her victims with fraudulent contracts of sale, which often included the forged signature of the actual property owner, and never used the funds to purchase any property. Among the properties were more than a dozen located in Brooklyn.

Furthermore, according to the investigation, the Department of State has no record of any business entity called “NY Private Auction Inc.,” the private auction company the defendant claimed to be a member of. The defendant provided her victims little information about the private auction, telling many victims that they could not attend or speak to anyone at the auction because only members had access.

Moreover, the actual owners of the various properties the defendant claimed were being auctioned never put their properties up for sale at auction and never retained the defendant as a broker or agent with the authority to buy or sell their properties.

Over the course of the defendant’s scheme, several victims suspected they had been defrauded and repeatedly demanded the defendant return their money. The defendant, after holding on to victims’ money for an extended period of time, returned the full amount of the stolen funds to four victims using money stolen from more recent victims and paid a portion of the stolen funds to three other victims. The defendant has not returned any funds to seven of the victims.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Chief of the Real Estate Fraud Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove, Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gregory C. Pavlides, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Former Brooklyn Resident Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Attempted Murder and Arson in Connection to Setting Fire to Rabbi’s Home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, March 18, 2024

Former Brooklyn Resident Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Attempted Murder and Arson in Connection to Setting Fire to Rabbi’s Home

Fire Destroyed Victim’s Midwood House as Well as Two Adjacent Properties,
Defendant was Captured on Video Surveillance Setting the Fire

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Pennsylvania resident has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for intentionally setting fire to the home of a Brooklyn rabbi. The fire quickly spread to two adjacent houses, injuring six people, including a six-week-old infant, a firefighter and two police officers.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s actions destroyed the homes of several families and put numerous people in harm’s way. I am thankful that there were no life-threatening injuries. With today’s sentence, this defendant has been brought to justice.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Matthew Karelefsky, 46, of McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo to 25 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of first-degree attempted murder, second-degree arson, six counts of second-degree assault, and two counts of fourth-degree arson on February 7, 2024, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on June 13, 2019, at approximately 3:50 a.m., a rabbi at a local yeshiva and his wife awoke to a fire in their three-story multi-family home at 1492 East 17th Street in Midwood. The fire spread to homes on either side of the property, causing 13 residents to evacuate. Numerous individuals, including a six-week-old infant and two NYPD officers were treated for smoke inhalation. Additionally, one firefighter was treated for bruising suffered while responding to the fire.

Fire Marshals determined the fire at 1492 East 17th Street was intentionally set and that it spread to the adjacent properties. Investigators also determined the fire began underneath the rabbi’s front porch, where K9 dogs identified the smell of an accelerant and fire marshals discovered remnants of a Kingsford charcoal bag, charcoal, a plastic milk carton, empty lighter fluid containers, lighter boxes and several rags believed to have been drenched in lighter fluid.

Video surveillance taken from across the street from the victims’ homes shows the defendant setting the fire. Additionally, video surveillance from a Midwood grocery store captured the day before the incident shows the defendant purchasing Kingsford charcoal and matches.

Police arrested the defendant in Manhattan on June 15, 2019. At the time of his arrest, he was wearing a pink shirt with a white collar—a shirt he was seen wearing walking near the victims’ homes before and after the incident. The defendant has a tattoo on his forearm that reads, “Never let go of the HATRED – KILL Rabbi Max”. He also wrote numerous social media posts expressing his animosity for and intention to harm the victim.

The District Attorney thanked members of the FDNY and the NYPD, specifically New York City Fire Department Marshal Stewart Hines, retired NYPD Detective Andrew Cohen and the NYPD Arson and Explosion Squad, who investigated the case, as well as retired Allegheny County Detective Donald Pasquarelli, who assisted in the case and Police Officers Andrew Webber and Anthony Castrillon and Detective John Hostetter, of the 17th Precinct, who apprehended the defendant.

The District Attorney thanked Discovery Support Director Lisa Santapaul, Discovery Expeditor Casey Goedtel, Paralegal Supervisor Aneudy Mata, Assistant District Attorney Erin Shea, Chief Analyst Alexandra Aber of the District Attorney’s Digital Evidence Lab, Senior DEL Intelligence Analyst Christina Stewart, Mauricio Suarez, DEL Senior Digital Forensics’ Analyst and the DA’s Detective Investigators for the assistance in the case.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Sara Kurtzberg, Chief of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Litigation and Technology (BOLT), and David Kim, Deputy Chief of BOLT.

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Park Slope Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison For Sexually Assaulting Two Teenage Girls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Park Slope Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

For Sexually Assaulting Two Teenage Girls

Assaults Were Captured on Video Surveillance Footage Recovered from Defendant’s Home

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Park Slope man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting two teenage girls in his apartment after giving them drugs. The assaults were captured on video surveillance footage recovered from the defendant’s home.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I remain committed to seeking justice for all victims of sexual violence and to protecting children and teens from predators who are intent on exploiting them. With today’s sentence, this defendant, who preyed on two young girls, offering them drugs and subjecting them to sexual assault, has now been held accountable. Brooklyn is safer with this defendant behind bars.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Christopher Chabrier, 40, of Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Heidi Cesare to 20 years in prison and 20 years‘ postrelease supervision. He must register as a sex offender upon his release from prison. The defendant was convicted of two counts of use of a child in a sexual performance as a sexually motivated felony; third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance; two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon; third-degree rape; third-degree criminal sexual act; second-degree attempted rape; and possession of a sexual performance by a child, among other charges, on February 13, 2024, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on August 30, 2020, the defendant approached the victims, who were 14 and 15 years old, at a park in Carroll Gardens. The defendant gave the victims what he told them was MDMA, Xanax, cocaine, and marijuana. Later, the victims and a friend smoked marijuana inside the defendant’s vehicle. The defendant gave each of the teens $20 before they exited the vehicle.

Furthermore, according to the evidence, on August 31, 2020, the defendant picked up the victims near Carroll Park and drove them to his apartment on Jackson Place in Park Slope. The defendant gave the victims what he told them was MDMA, cocaine, and marijuana. Both victims began to feel dizzy. One of the victims was so affected that she was unable to stand and began to crawl, at which point the defendant subjected both teenagers to various sexual acts, resulting in injuries to one of the victims.

Afterward, the defendant gave the victims $200 and $100, respectively.

One of the victims disclosed the assault to her father who took her to a nearby hospital where she was treated for lacerations and bruising. A sexual assault evidence collection kit was also completed.

The defendant was arrested on September 15, 2020. A search warrant executed at his apartment turned up two loaded firearms; several knives and tasers; boxes of ammunition; and a large quantity of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, Psilocybin, Clonazepam, and Alprazolam, among others. Investigators also recovered video surveillance footage from security cameras throughout the residence that captured the sexual assaults of August 31, 2020.

Paralegals Kenneth Walker and Julia Holman of the Special Victims Bureau assisted in the prosecution.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sapna Kishnani, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Kevin O’Donnell, Deputy Bureau Chief, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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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.

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Shooting a Man outside Red Hook Houses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life

in Prison for Fatally Shooting a Man outside Red Hook Houses

27-Year-Old-Victim Was Expecting Birth of First Child;

Died Three Weeks Later from Gunshot Wound to Head

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 40 years to life in prison following his conviction for shooting a man outside the Red Hook Houses in 2020. The victim died three weeks later from a gunshot wound to the head.

        District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The life of Elvin Fernandez, a young man expecting the birth of his first child, was cruelly and senselessly cut short when the defendant shot and killed him in cold blood. My heart goes out to Mr. Fernandez’s family and friends, who hopefully find a measure of solace with today’s lengthy sentence.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as David Gorham, 32, of Red Hook, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Raymond L. Rodriguez to 40 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 December 6, 2023, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on June 1, 2020, at approximately 5:50 p.m., outside the Red Hook Houses at 484 Columbia Street, the defendant saw Elvin Fernandez, 27, ride past in the backseat of a car. The defendant then proceeded to wait inside a nearby candy store while the victim and the victim’s pregnant girlfriend exited the vehicle.  The defendant walked over, reached into a bag and pulled out a handgun. He fired once, striking the victim in the head. The defendant then went into a nearby building, changed his clothing, and fled the area. Police arrested him on June 18, 2020.

The victim was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Brooklyn Methodist where he remained in critical condition before dying of his wounds on June 24, 2020.

Investigators later determined that a friend of the defendant had been feuding with the victim’s girlfriend.

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

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Chelsea Toder, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Michael McGee Jr., of the District Attorney’s Blue Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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