Source: Tracy O. via Flickr

We at Sheepshead Bites are always screaming about the need for more diversity in our local markets, but we didn’t expect it from our black markets.

It looks like local scammers have switched up from their usual rings of medicare, daycare, political, medicare and medicare fraud, and have started pillaging one of the most vulnerable segments of society – by stealing from Holocaust survivor funds.

The FBI and Justice Department have brought charges against a ring of 17 thieves for allegedly stealing about $40 million in stipends, reparations and payouts for survivors of the Nazi Holocaust.

According to reports, insiders responsible for verifying applications to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims were given kickbacks to approve fraudulent paperwork submitted by Russian immigrants.

The Conference is responsible for doling out funds on behalf of the German government to survivors. One of the ringleaders, Semen Domnitser, signed off on more than 4,000 applications in question.

NBC reports:

A home along Brighton West 12th Street [sic] in Brooklyn was a center where fake overseas documents were allegedly produced, officials said.

Investigators said the alleged scam has been running since 1994. When some suspects learned the FBI was investigating, they allegedly offered bribes to witnesses in an attempt to keep them from cooperating.

The FBI said 4,957 bogus claims resulted in $18 million being wrongly taken out of one of the reparation funds. The Claims Conference lost another $24.5 million as a result of 658 other fraud cases, officials said.

Domnitser was the official responsible for overseeing case files and making sure they were in order. His approval was needed before any funds could be released for payment to alleged victims, officials said.

Other caseworkers charged include Valentina Staroseletsky, Polina Berenson, Polina Breyter and Liliya Ukrainsky.

Expect a long report from the Deputy Inspector at tonight’s 61st Precinct Community Council. The command has had one heck of a month.

There have been two public murders – one on Avenue U and one in the Nostrand Houses. There was also that stabbing and beating on Avenue T, which occurred just a day after the last Council meeting.

Then there’s that whole Halloween mess with Gerritsen Beach (here, too!) - luckily they only have good things to report about the rest of the precinct, which was relatively quiet.

The precinct may also face questions about the NYPD SUV that flipped over yesterday, which left many trying to figure out exactly what happened.

And let’s not forget the elephant in the room: quotas. They’re back in the public eye, with the Daily News exposing some memos at the 77th Precinct that quotas are alive and well, and the Governor signing a law that prohibits retaliation against officers who don’t meet their requirements.

So, come one, come all to the 61st Precinct Community Council meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The meeting is hosted by the Bainbridge Center at 3093 Ocean Avenue, between Shore Parkway and Voorhies Avenue (across from Waldbaums).

Courtesy of davidsonscott15 via Flickr

by Eitan Kahan

As a slew of lawsuits fill the docket claiming cops are being forced to meet quotas on arrests and summonses, Governor Paterson signed a tough anti-corruption bill into law, making such activity illegal.

The move was met with shock from NYPD brass and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who expected the bill to be vetoed instead. Prior to the signing, Bloomberg wrote to Paterson, “This legislation could seriously impair the effective management of police personnel and resources throughout the state.”

Apparently, Paterson disagreed.

Ahead of the bill’s passage, the NYPD leadership has been swooning from the most prominent lawsuit, brought by Officer Adrian Schoolcraft. He claimed widespread corruption in the highest reaches of the NYPD, specifically relating to the secret establishment and enforcement of quotas for issuing summonses and arrests.

Continue Reading »

Photo by MatthewChamberlain via Flickr. Taken on Bedford Avenue in Sheepshead Bay.

Cupcake Kings' co-owners, Dennis Roitman (l) and Larry Kopylov (r)

“How many points do you think are in this?” a customer asked.

Lady, the only points that matter here are brownie points.

Cupcake Kings, the decadent sweets shop at 1613 Voorhies Avenue, just off of Sheepshead Bay Road, opened its doors today. With rows of kaleidoscopic cupcakes taunting the tastebuds, it’s certainly no place to be counting Weight Watchers points.

And here’s the best part: to celebrate their opening, owners are giving out free cupcakes today only, from 4 p.m. until their 10 p.m. closing. With at least one person marking the hours left until the giveaway on Facebook, you better arrive sooner rather than later, because owners are expecting an early rush.

Find out more about Cupcake Kings’ opening, and view photos of the purty cupcakes.

After thousands of dollars worth of school books and supplies at P.S. 197 were destroyed two weeks ago, staff, faculty and parents at the school decided to throw a car wash fundraiser this past weekend to replace the materials.

The school, at 1599 East 22nd Street, paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars after a negligent exterminator covered nearly every surface – including children’s desks and books – with poison meant to eradicate bed bugs. The decontamination that followed required tossing out many of the school’s supplies, leaving teachers wondering if the city would be able to replace the items before the school year ended.

Thanks to Janelle F. for the information and photos.

View the photo gallery.

by Ryan Maye Handy

A crowd of Coney Island locals gathered on the boardwalk this Saturday to say goodbye to an old friend.

After 76 years, Ruby’s Bar and Grill, the boardwalk bar known for its vintage photograph-covered walls and classic jukebox, was closing for good.

Every October, Ruby’s Bar and Grill shuts down after the summer season. But this year, when Italian amusement park behemoth Zamperla did not renew the lease, Ruby’s owners opened their beloved bar for one last round.

“Today is not a day of mourning. Today is a day of celebration. Let’s celebrate Ruby’s the way Ruby wanted,” said co-owner Michael Sarrel to a crowd of Ruby’s regulars.

Keep reading and view a photo gallery of the Ruby’s rally.

Tuesday Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Tax laws are certainly confusing. One of most misunderstood parts is the ‘tax bracket.’ To summarize, your ‘tax bracket’ is not the percentage of your income that you pay in tax. If your ‘tax bracket’ is 20 percent, you are not paying 20 percent of your income in taxes. Our tax system is actually a progressive one, where we are taxed at different levels as our income increases.

Learn what the “tax bracket” really means, and why it means you pay less than you think.

From the NY Post:

Two cops were injured when their patrol vehicle overturned when they were broadsided by another vehicle in Sheepshead Bay earlier today.

An NYPD housing bureau sergeant and one police officer were driving in a marked Ford SUV on Nostrand Avenue around 8:30 a.m when a silver Pontiac Bonneville rammed into the driver’s side of the car, witnesses said.

The impact caused the SUV to tip onto the passenger side, pinning the officers inside the wreck.

“I ran over and tried but you couldn’t open the door to get them out,” said Greta Miller, an NYPD crossing guard for PS 52 who saw the accident. “I ran to the school to get help,” she said.

The driver of the Pontiac was issued a summons for failure to yield, and the officers were transported to Lutheran Hospital for minor injuries, the Post reports.

This story has been updated. For the information as it originally appeared, keep reading.

Courtesy of DOT

When we told you on Friday that Department of Transportation contractors will start pile driving in the early morning hours this week, we cautioned not to get too fired up until we heard back about sound mitigation.

It didn’t stop some from getting antsy, though, with commenters bemoaning the loss of sleep due to the thunderous banging that they thought would ring through the blocks around Hubbard Street and Shore Parkway.

Well, good news, everybody: DOT community liaison Teresa Toro got back to us and there will be procedures in place to mitigate sound and vibration levels. They will be using a pneumatic hammer, which they say is the “quietest” kind of pile driving machinery, and there will also be a material placed between the pile and the hammer to dampen sound and vibrations.

Toro noted, however, that there still would be some sound, and that the agency is doing what they can to ensure residents’ expectations of peace.

“Sometimes, though, they just can’t get around it,” Toro said.

She added that they’ve done other pile driving during the day, and they try to complete as much work as possible when the sun is still out. But if a segment of work – such as the specific piles they’ll be working on – require a lane closure, it needs to be done at night.

The pile driving should be completed this week, barring severe weather conditions that may cause delays. The entire project will be done in Fall 2011.