Seven Defendants, including National Grid Employees, Charged with Enterprise Corruption for Operating Shadow Utility Company that Illegally Installed Gas Meters in Violation of Safety Protocols

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

January 12, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Seven Defendants, including National Grid Employees, Charged with
Enterprise Corruption for Operating Shadow Utility Company that Illegally Installed Gas
Meters in Violation of Safety Protocols

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced the indictment of a former National Grid employee who infiltrated the public utility and corrupted a number of its employees. He and other defendants are charged with enterprise corruption and related offenses for operating a shadow utility company that violated New York City Department of Buildings and National Grid regulations and procedures, installing illegal gas meters across Brooklyn for landlords willing to pay $1,300 to $2,500 per meter. A total of 37 defendants, including seven former National Grid employees, have been charged in connection with the enterprise.

The Acting District Attorney identified Weldon “Al” Findlay, 47, of Snyder Avenue, Brooklyn, as the alleged mastermind and leader of the enterprise. Findlay, who worked for National Grid until 2010, and six other defendants are charged with enterprise corruption, which carries up to 25 years in prison. The other 30 defendants charged in connection with the case include landlords, property managers, and contractors who arranged for, installed, or received illegal gas service.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the enterprise consisted of a pattern of criminal activity in connection with the illegal installation of gas meters in exchange for cash at 33 residential properties across Brooklyn, including Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Heights, Bushwick, Crown Heights, Midwood, and Borough Park, in addition to homes in parts of Queens. Findlay is alleged to have formed the enterprise, and to have directed its criminal activities throughout the period covered by the indictment, namely January 12, 2016 to June 30, 2016.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We simply will not allow the lucrative real estate market in Brooklyn to feed criminal activity and potentially endanger lives. These defendants showed contempt for rules and regulations specifically put into place to protect public safety. And they did this with callous disregard on a regular basis. We will continue to protect Brooklyn residents by pursuing criminal prosecutions of landlords and others who put profits ahead of safeguards.”

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

Read the full press release here.

 

Manhattan Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Killing Acquaintance in Williamsburg

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

January 9, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Manhattan Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for
Killing Acquaintance in Williamsburg

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 59-year-old man from upper Manhattan was sentenced to 20 years in state prison for fatally stabbing another man in 2011. After a verbal argument, the defendant went to a store, purchased two kitchen knives, returned to the scene of the dispute, and stabbed the victim in the thigh, leaving him bleeding to death.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on the night of April 29, 2011, at the corner of South 9th Street and Roebling Street in Williamsburg, the defendant, Ramon Escobar, of Inwood, Manhattan, and the victim, David Fernandez, 46, got into an argument after the defendant accused the victim of making inappropriate contact with Escobar’s girlfriend. The defendant was heard saying “I am going to kill him” before being ushered away from the scene; his girlfriend headed into a nearby subway station.

The defendant walked to the Crazy Loco 99 Cent store at 281 Broadway and bought two 8-inch kitchen knives, the evidence showed. He then returned to the scene and began a struggle with Fernandez, during which he stabbed him in the left thigh, causing profuse and fatal bleeding.

The defendant was arrested in April 2015, after an eyewitness came forward, and was connected to the crime through DNA, surveillance videos and other evidence.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The victim was a loving father, just one week from walking his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. He had the great misfortune to encounter this defendant, who stabbed him to death after a meaningless argument. The defendant’s taking of human life over something so trivial is unconscionable, and we are all well served by the lengthy sentence imposed today.”

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Read the full press release here.

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Murder of Williamsburg Landlord During Botched Robbery and Kidnapping

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

December 21, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Murder of Williamsburg Landlord
During Botched Robbery and Kidnapping

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced a new indictment in the 2014 abduction and murder of Williamsburg landlord Menachem Stark. A 38-year-old Brooklyn man has been indicted for murder and kidnapping, while he and two co-defendants have also been indicted for conspiracy.

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Erskin Felix, 38, and his brother, Kendall Felix, 28, both of Crown Heights, Brooklyn; and cousin Irvine Henry, 35, also of Crown Heights. A jury has already convicted Kendel Felix, Erskin’s cousin, of first-degree kidnapping and second-degree murder in the case. He is awaiting sentencing and faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, cousins Erskin and Kendel Felix accosted Stark on the street as he left his office on Rutledge Street in Williamsburg on the night of January 2, 2014. After he fought unsuccessfully to escape, Stark was forced into a waiting vehicle and driven away from the location. Kendall and Henry allegedly joined their relatives. At some point, apparently while being restrained, Stark died of asphyxia.

According to the investigation, Erskin Felix, who was in the construction trade with Kendel Felix and Irvine Henry, had done work for Stark. Erskin Felix allegedly planned to extort money from Stark and enlisted Kendel Felix to help kidnap him, forming a conspiracy which also involved both Kendall Felix and Irvine Henry.

Upon discovering that Stark was dead, the four relatives allegedly returned to Rutledge Street, intending to dispose of Stark’s body. Upon arrival, Erskin and Irvine Henry got out of the vehicle, only to find the crime scene already flooded with police. As alleged, Erskin then directed Kendel and Kendall to go elsewhere to dispose of the body. They drove to Nassau County, threw the body in a dumpster and set it on fire.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This indictment is the latest step in our journey toward justice for Menachem Stark, his seven children and the rest of the family his killers took him from. The tireless work of NYPD investigators and prosecutors from my Office will ensure that all involved in this grievous crime are held to answer for their despicable acts. ”

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

 

Read the full press release here.

 

Thirty-Five Alleged Gang Members and Associates Charged with Financial Crimes, Burglaries, Weapons Possession and Drug Dealing Following Year-Long Investigation

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

December 13, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Thirty-Five Alleged Gang Members and Associates Charged with
Financial Crimes, Burglaries, Weapons Possession and Drug Dealing
Following Year-Long Investigation

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced that 35 alleged members of street gangs and crews have been charged in 15 indictments with narcotics distribution, weapons possession, burglaries, forgery and identity theft.

The charges are the result of a long-term investigation that relied on electronic surveillance and exposed a multitude of criminal activities, from violent street crime to sophisticated credit card fraud.

The Acting District Attorney said the investigation started in the fall of 2015 and focused on gang-related gun violence, narcotics sales, robberies and other criminal activities in Brownsville, Brooklyn, by individuals associated with the Hoodstarz street gang and affiliated crews, including Folk Nation and the 823 Crips. The investigation relied primarily on electronic surveillance, including monitoring of Facebook conversations and cell phone communications.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “By targeting known gang members responsible for violence in our streets, we have exposed and interrupted a number of interconnected criminal enterprises, from drug dealing to credit card forgeries. As alleged, the defendants targeted not only their neighbors – who they attacked and robbed in their homes and on the street – but also strangers who they’d never met, stealing their identities to line their own pockets. It is no longer enough to target the perpetrators of violent acts; public safety also requires us to pursue the criminals whose fraudulent financial schemes support violent gangs and their members. Our strategic approach will continue until we have incapacitated the drivers of violence in our communities and financial schemers who make everyone a victim.”

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

Read the full press release here.

 

Brooklyn Prosecutor Awarded Prestigious Thomas E. Dewey Medal By New York City Bar Association

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

December 7, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Brooklyn Prosecutor Awarded Prestigious Thomas E. Dewey Medal
By New York City Bar Association

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, Chief of the Trial Division, was awarded the Thomas E. Dewey Medal by the New York City Bar Association last night at a medal presentation in midtown Manhattan.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am very pleased to announce that Joseph Alexis is a recipient of the 2016 Thomas E. Dewey Medal. Joe embodies the ideals that Thomas E. Dewey himself valued so highly in a prosecutor – integrity, fearlessness, fairness and excellence.”

Assistant District Attorney Alexis, who has been with the office for more than 25 years, has prosecuted some of the most challenging cases that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has handled. His trials have ranged from the successful prosecution of former Police Officer Peter Liang for the shooting death of Akai Gurley to that of Supreme Court Justice Gerald Garson for accepting bribes. In his previous position, as Chief of the Red Zone Trial Bureau, which encompasses East New York, Cypress Hills, Canarsie and other areas, he worked diligently to repair the frayed relationship between the community and law enforcement.

Alexis was promoted to Chief of the Trial Division this month. He now oversees the work of the Office’s five trial zone bureaus, as well as some of the specialized trial bureaus.

The Thomas E. Dewey Medal is an annual award that goes to outstanding assistant district attorneys in each of the District Attorney’s Offices in New York City and the Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York.

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Long Island Man Indicted for Murder of L&B Spumoni Gardens Owner during Botched Robbery

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

December 5, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Long Island Man Indicted for Murder of
L&B Spumoni Gardens Owner during Botched Robbery

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 40-year-old man has been indicted for murder and other charges for the shooting death of the owner of L&B Spumoni Gardens Italian Restaurant, who was ambushed outside his home in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. The victim was carrying $15,000 in cash in a plastic bag when he was killed.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, in the evening on June 30, 2016, the victim, Louis Barbati, 61, left his restaurant, L&B Spumoni Gardens, in Gravesend, carrying a plastic bag containing $15,000 in cash. About 20 minutes later, he arrived at his home, parked his car at the side of the house and got out holding the bag.

The defendant, Andres (“Andy”) Fernandez, 40, of Melville, Long Island, then allegedly walked across the street and shot the victim several times, killing him. The defendant ran, without taking the money, got into a car and fled.

About an hour earlier, the defendant, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, had walked to the victim’s home in Dyker Heights and waited, the evidence shows. He also had been present at L&B Restaurant earlier that day, according to the investigation. The defendant was arrested last month by federal authorities.

The Acting District Attorney thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for their assistance in the investigation.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We allege that this defendant was lying in wait outside the victim’s home, then ambushed and shot him to death in cold blood. This was a calculated and senseless murder of a beloved business man and I intend to prosecute this crime to the fullest extent of the law.”

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

 

Read the full press release here.

 

Defendant Sentenced to up to 15 Years in Prison for Stealing $500,000 Bedford-Stuyvesant Brownstone by Forging Judge’s Signature

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

December 1, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Defendant Sentenced to up to 15 Years in Prison for Stealing $500,000
Bedford-Stuyvesant Brownstone by Forging Judge’s Signature

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez yesterday announced that a 54-year-old man was sentenced to 7 ½ to 15 years in state prison for stealing a brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant by forging a judge’s signature to claim possession of the building, which he then sold.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according trial testimony, on January 6, 2015, the defendant, Joseph McCray, 54, of Niagara Falls, NY, filed a fraudulent court order purportedly signed by Brooklyn Civil Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Lewis, which effectively granted him ownership of 119 McDonough Street. Four months later, using the forged order, the defendant sold the building for $500,000, from which he received two checks totaling almost $250,000 (the rest of the funds were used to pay for outstanding liens on the property).

The forgery and sale followed more than a decade of legal actions by the defendant to assert ownership of the building, where he was a holdover tenant, but never paid rent. He had been evicted in September 2002, but continued to reside in the building — at various points in the ensuing years presenting himself as the landlord, collecting rent and filing fraudulent papers in Civil Court.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This significant prison sentence should serve as a warning to anyone who tries to take advantage of Brooklyn’s booming real estate market by conducting criminal schemes, like the brazen forgeries and theft in this case. Our Real Estate Fraud Unit is here to protect homeowners from scammers and I am committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting these crimes.”

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Read the full press release here.

 

Crown Heights Man Sentenced to 55 Years to Life in Prison For Shooting at Two Victims during Gun-Point Robberies

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

November 30, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Crown Heights Man Sentenced to 55 Years to Life in Prison
For Shooting at Two Victims during Gun-Point Robberies

 

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 34-year-old Crown Heights man was sentenced to 55 years to life in prison for firing his gun during the commission of two armed robberies in his neighborhood. He fired at one fleeing victim who had given him money and seriously wounded a second victim by shooting her when she did not have any cash.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, in the early morning on February 11, 2015, the defendant, Jovan Frederick, 34, of Crown Heights, approached a 37-year-old man at the corner of Maple Street and Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights, brandished a gun and demanded money. The victim dropped about $200 to the ground and ran. The defendant then fired at the fleeing victim but missed.

The evidence further showed that in the early morning on February 13, 2015, a 19-year-old woman was retrieving the mail at her residence on Maple Street in Crown Heights when the defendant brandished his gun and demanded money. The victim repeatedly told him that she does not have any money on her and the defendant then shot her multiple times at close range, striking her in the abdomen. The victim spent approximately four months in the hospital, underwent multiple medical procedures and continues to live with a tracheotomy.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant displayed a callous disregard for human life by robbing and shooting innocent victims. With today’s sentence a clearly dangerous and violent felon will spend many years behind bars where he won’t be able to hurt or terrorize innocent people.”

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Read the full press release here.

 

Landlords Plead Guilty to Defrauding Rent Regulated Tenants by Unlawfully Evicting Them from Buildings in Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

November 30, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Landlords Plead Guilty to Defrauding
Rent Regulated Tenants by Unlawfully Evicting Them from
Buildings in Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced that two Brooklyn landlords have pleaded guilty to scheme to defraud and unlawful eviction for forcing or attempting to force rent-stabilized tenants out of their homes by destroying their apartments and making them uninhabitable in order to collect significantly higher market-rate rents.

An investigation by Governor Cuomo’s Tenant Protection Unit, the Brooklyn DA’s Office and City agencies found evidence of hazardous construction intended to harass tenants in many of the approximately ten buildings owned and managed by the defendants in Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.

The Acting District Attorney said that the defendants, Joel Israel, 35, and his brother, Amrom (aka Aaron) Israel, 38, both of Borough Park, Brooklyn, and their corporations, JBI Management Inc., Linden Ventures LLC, 324 Central Realty LLC, Salmor Realty 2, LLC and Salmor Realty LLC pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of first-degree scheme to defraud and various counts of unlawful eviction

The defendants entered into a plea agreement in which they will receive five years’ probation; each be required to perform 500 hours of community service; and to make restitution of approximately $248,000 to be shared among eight tenants who were harassed while they variously lived at the following locations: 98 Linden Street in Bushwick, 324 Central Avenue in Bushwick, 300 Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint, 15 Humboldt Street in Williamsburg and 386 Woodbine Street in Bushwick.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Landlords across Brooklyn should be put on notice by today’s felony guilty pleas that illegal actions they may take to harass and intimidate tenants in rent regulated apartments will not go unpunished. Anyone trying to cash in on soaring market rents by breaking the law and abusing tenants will face serious consequences. I promise to continue to vigorously prosecute building owners who brazenly flout the law as they try to illegally evict protected tenants.”

Tenants who live in rent-regulated apartments and believe they are being harassed should contact the TPU at (718) 739-6400 or TPUinfo@nyshcr.org. For more information about the Governor’s Tenant Protection Unit go to:www.nyshcr.org/TPU.

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 Read the full press release here.

 

Brownsville Father Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years For Shaking 7-Week Old Daughter, Causing Her Death

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

November 23, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Brownsville Father Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years
For Shaking 7-Week Old Daughter, Causing Her Death

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez yesterday announced that Eryk Ford, 24, of Brownsville, has been sentenced to four to 12 years in prison following his manslaughter conviction for violently shaking and throwing his infant daughter, causing her death.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the defendant’s own admissions, on January 15, 2012 at approximately 5:50 a.m., the defendant’s 7-week-old daughter, Aniyah Ford, was crying in the living room of the defendant’s apartment when he picked up the child and violently shook her. The defendant then threw the child into her car seat, which was on the floor. The child’s body went limp and she eventually stopped breathing, according to the investigation.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant failed in his responsibility as a parent which was to protect his child from harm. He must now spend time behind bars knowing that he caused his daughter’s death and robbed her of a future. This case should once again serve as a reminder that never, under any circumstances, should a child be shaken.”

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Read the full press release here.