Archive for the tag 'courts'

hockejos

There are at least a dozen cameras between these houses.

John Hockenjos successfully won his freedom after fighting a false arrest in 2011, but he remains mired in a legal battle that threatens to see his property turned over to what he says is an unscrupulous developer. This month, a Queens-based state senator joined the battle, saying Hockenjos is another in a long line of victims of malfeasance and incompetence at the Department of Buildings.

Hockenjos and his wife, Irina, have been fighting with their East 23rd Street neighbors Elen and Argo Paumere since June 2009, when the Paumeres purchased the home next to them with plans for an ambitious overhaul. According to the Hockenjoses, red flags flew fast when they were approached to sign documents turning over a two-foot easement to their new neighbor.

They didn’t sign, and that triggered an all-out war between property owners, according to the Hockenjoses, which includes allegations of physical violence, corruption and even involvement in the false arrest. It has also cost them their jobs, their health, and more than $150,000 in legal fees, they say.

“We’re jobless. We’re money-less. Our health was destroyed tremendously. We lost our reputation,” Irina Hockenjos told Sheepshead Bites. “[The neighbors say] we’re criminals in all kind of ways. We’ve sued them in civil court because they’ve said we’re insane, and that John is a Russian mobster and he walks naked in the street.”

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The aftermath of the 2011 shooting, which happened in front of Tatiana’s Restaurant on the Brighton Beach boardwalk.

Iloune Driver, one of two suspected gunmen behind the 2011 Brighton Beach boardwalk shooting that left 16-year-old Tysha Jones dead, has been found guilty and faces 125 years to life behind bars.

Tysha Jones was a junior at Norman Thomas High School and lived in a Harlem apartment with her mother, Cynthia, her brother and sister, according to friends.

Tysha Jones (via Twitter)

Driver, 21, was convicted yesterday for his role in the June 9, 2011, melee, which broke out after two rival gangbangers from the Bloods and Crips exchanged heated words, then opened fire on a boardwalk crowded with teens and beachgoers on the hottest day of the year.

Driver is a former Crips member, and the New York Post reports that he has nine prior busts for gun, drug and robbery charges. He has been convicted on four counts of assault in addition to the second-degree murder charge. Sentencing will take place next month, and he will face 25 years to life for the count of murder, and 25 years for each assault.

None of the five people struck by bullets were believed to be involved in the incident.

“My baby can rest in peace now,” Tysha Jones’ 51-year-old mother, Cynthia, told the Post.

During the trial, Driver’s attorney argued that video  filmed in the immediate aftermath of the shooting provides evidence that flies in the face of the witnesses’ statements that Driver fired from the beach. The video, he said, shows him on the boardwalk, scrambling for cover.

The jury disagreed.

via Daily News

Irina Shelikhova

The 50-year-old leader of a massive $77 million Medicare fraud ring in Southern Brooklyn was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $36,241,545 to the government on Tuesday, announced United States Attorney Loretta Lynch.

Irina Shelikhova was busted at John F. Kennedy airport in June 2012, where she arrived after living on the lam in the Ukraine for two years. After serving her 15-year sentence, followed by three years of supervised release while excluded from Medicare, Medicaid and all federal health programs, she faces deportation.

The bust was a part of a nationwide sweep that was the biggest Medicare fraud bust in American history. Ninety-four people in total were arrested. One of the top prizes for authorities was the break-up of the Shelikhova ring, in which 13 people have been convicted so far.

“Irina Shelikova used fake doctors and forged documents to defraud Medicare out of millions of dollars of very real money. As the owner and operator of three medical clinics, Shelikova engaged in a brazen scheme of fraudulent billing and kickbacks, going so far as to pay kickbacks to elderly patients in exchange for their Medicare numbers and their silence. She relied upon her web of payoffs, kickbacks, and Russian propaganda to support her criminal scheme, but the truth caught up with her and justice has now been served,” said Lynch in a press release.

Shelikhova owned and operated Bay Medical Care, at 8686 Bay Parkway in Bath Beach, which billed Medicare under three different corporate names – Bay Medical Care, Wellcare Medical, and SZS Medical Care.

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Honoring real survivors at a Holocaust Memorial Park ceremony. Photo by Erica Sherman

The ringleader of a $57.3 million fraud scheme that siphoned money from of a Holocaust reparations fund was sentenced to eight years behind bars yesterday, announced United States Attorney Preet Bharara.

Semen Domnitser played a pivotal role in the scheme, prosecutors say, having worked as a caseworker and program director that processed the fraudulent applications in return for kickbacks. Domnitser gave his seal of approval to ineligible recipients, many of whom were born after World War II and at least one that was not even Jewish.

In addition to eight years in prison, Domnitser was sentenced to three years of supervised release, ordered to forfeit $59,230 and pay restitution in the amount of $57.3 million.

“As the highest ranking insider to participate in this despicable fraud against the Holocaust Claims Conference, Mr. Domnitser played an integral role in the scheme by processing fraudulent applications to the Conference and turning a profit of thousands of dollars for himself,” said Bharara in a press release. “With today’s sentence, he will be held to account for victimizing Holocaust survivors by diverting funds meant to help them to his own pocket and contributing to this $57 million scheme.”

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The aftermath of the 2011 shooting, which happened in front of Tatiana’s Restaurant on the Brighton Beach boardwalk.

The attorney for 21-year-old Iloune Driver, charged with opening fire on the Brighton Beach boardwalk in 2011, leading to the death of a 16-year-old girl and leaving four others wounded, says that video taken moments after the shooting proves his client’s innocence.

The June 9, 2011, shooting happened as a gunman opened fire on the boardwalk crowded with teens and beachgoers, leaving 16-year-old Tysha Jones, and innocent bystander, dead. Four others were also injured, including a patron of Tatiana Restaurant.

Tysha Jones was a junior at Norman Thomas High School and lived in a Harlem apartment with her mother, Cynthia, her brother and sister, according to friends.

Tysha Jones (Source: Twitter)

The incident is believed to have been sparked when two groups of rival gang members from the Bloods and the Crips exchanged heated words, leading one to draw on the others and open fire.

“That’s what it was all about — gang stupidity,” prosecutor Janet Gleeson told the Daily News.

None of the five struck by wayward bullets were believed to be involved in the incident.

Police apprehended Driver at the nearby subway station. He wasn’t initially charged, according to the News, and named other suspects. A witness later later identified Driver as the shooter in a phone tip to police, leading to charges including second-degree murder.

But according to Driver’s defense attorney, Mario Romano, video filmed in the immediate aftermath of the shooting provides evidence that flies in the face of the witnesses’ statements that Driver fired from the beach. The video, he said, shows him on the boardwalk, scrambling for cover.

Just hours after the shooting, cell phone video from numerous sources began appearing online that captured that aftermath.

You can see more video here and here.

According to the Daily News, there is no ballistic evidence or weapon connecting Driver to the shooting. They note that he is an admitted Crip with the words “True Blue” tattooed on his chest.

Source: Gregory Maizous

Coney Island Hospital (Source: Gregory Maizous)

Workers who were contracted to clean up three New York hospitals, including Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) received thousands of dollars in back wages, after their employer initially stiffed them. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Signal Restoration Services, a Michigan-based company, underpaid workers toiling in New York City hospitals post-Sandy.

Signal Restoration Services is said to have paid their 500 employees $12-$15 an hour, compared to the prevailing wage of $16.99 an hour and $25.49 an hour for overtime. The Journal described the terms of the settlement:

The Troy, Mich.-based company that contracted to clean up Bellevue Hospital, Coney Island Hospital and Coler-Goldwater Memorial Hospital in New York City has agreed to pay $466,000 in back wages, $25,000 to the attorney general’s office and $46,000 into an escrow account. The agreement was signed this week.

Good news. Those workers, as well as the staff of Coney Island Hospital in general, had a heck of a job to do after Superstorm Sandy flooded the facility and left Southern Brooklyn’s only major medical center out-of-order. Their work helped get the hospital back online as quick as it did, and they deserve the money they earned.

Source: ragesoss/Flickr

Following the news of Wednesday’s $3.4 million prescription drug bust, the Drug Enforcement Agency and NYPD announced another area bust yesterday afternoon involving 11 members of a drug ring that trafficked in prescription painkillers and cocaine in Sheepshead Bay and Staten Island.

After picking up three suspects earlier this year, and aided by a nine-month wiretap investigation, authorities unraveled a multi-tier prescription drug and cocaine ring that tied together three separate conspiracies across the two boroughs. Among the 11 arrested, five were residents of the Sheepshead Bay area, and one was supplied by the same allegedly crooked doctor picked up in this week’s other big bust.

“This poly drug trafficking confederation operated like a variety store, selling any type of illicit drug they could get their hands on. The joint task force infiltrated their ranks in order to put them out of business,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Crowell.

Keep reading to find out how the ring operated, and who was busted.

A photo from the scene the morning after the attack. (Source: NYDailyNews.com)

The Marine Park man accused of attempting to kill rowdy teenagers hanging out in front of his house last year will face a new trial after a judge called a mistrial when jurors hit a deadlock.

Thomas Dunikowski made headlines in June 2011, when he allegedly opened fire on a group of teens who refused to leave his Stuart Street stoop. Dunikowski, who has an arrest record for domestic incidents, allegedly grabbed his semi-automatic hunting rifle and perched himself at his second floor window, firing down on the teens. He struck two of them, and a fragment hit a resident. None were seriously injured, though all three were hospitalized. According to the New York Post at the time, the kids had been roaming the streets around midnight, knocking over trash cans and vandalizing cars before Dunikowski confronted them.

Dunikowski was initially charged with assault, intent to cause serious injury with a weapon, unlawful use of a loaded firearm, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest.

After the jury deadlocked last month, the judge called a mistrial, and pre-trial hearings began this week, according to a report in the print edition of the Bay News that does not appear online.

Dunikowski will face a new trial on all charges, including attempted murder – which has his attorney, Jay Schwitzman, outraged. According to Schwitzman, the jury had voted unanimously to acquit his client of the attempted murder charge, based on a claim of self-defense, before they failed to reach an agreement on the lesser charges.

Schwitzman added that the judge declared a mistrial before the jury could deliver their verdict on the attempted murder charge in open court, allowing the District Attorney to prosecute the charge again. The paper could not verify Schwitzman’s claims of a unanimous decision.

Dunikowski’s defense against the murder charge was based on a claim that it was self-defense, and that he and his Stuart Street neighbors feared for their lives. They offered panicked calls to 911 from Dunikowski and his neighbors as evidence.

“The people of Stuart Street wre scared for their lives,” Schwitzman told the paper. “These teens were notjust kicking cars and turning over trash cans – they were trashing everything they could find and would not stop, even when the police were being summoned. The teens were out there to harm Mr. Dunokowski and the 911 calls that were made back that up.”

Source: David Reber’s Hammer Photography/Flickr

After an international manhunt that lasted nine months and included several nations, fake IDs, an island-hopping private plane piloted by the suspect, and an expanded indictment that saw the suspect’s largess grow from $4.5 million to $8 million, Arthur Bogoraz, a confessed fraudster, now faces up to seven years in prison.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced yesterday that his office won a felony conviction against Bogoraz after the scammer pleaded guilty to ripping off no-fault insurance companies. The elaborate scheme included Bogoraz, who is not a doctor, setting up numerous fake radiology practices to bill through, and even a collections agency through which he laundered the $8 million.

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Source: Tracy O. via Flickr

The forger of phony papers that allowed a Brighton Beach-based ring of individuals to ripoff more than $57 million from a reparations fund for Holocaust victims was sentenced to serve nearly two years in prison last week.

The New York Post reports:

A weeping Dora Grande bowed her head in shame and let out a whimper after Manhattan federal Judge Thomas Griesa said she deserved a “meaningful penalty” for forging about 300 documents at $100 a pop while working as a translator and notary public in Brooklyn.

In addition to the 21 months prison time — just three months shy of the maximum under her plea deal — Griesa ordered Grande to forfeit the $30,000 she pocketed through the scam, and also pay $75,000 in restitution.

Defense lawyer Glenn Morak argued that Grande, 65, had no idea that her fake birth certificates would be used in a massive scheme to rip off the Manhattan-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

But prosecutor Christopher Frey said Grande “basically turned a blind eye” to her clients’ plans, noting that “the fraud permeated the Brighton Beach community” where she lives.

Authorities busted as many as 19 individuals for their role in the scheme in November 2010. Prosecutors claimed that Brighton Beach residents worked with insiders responsible for verifying applications to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims, doling out kickbacks to approve fraudulent paperwork submitted by Russian immigrants. The scheme went back as far as 1994, authorities alleged.

The Conference is responsible for disbursing funds on behalf of the German government to survivors. One of the ringleaders of the scheme, Semen Domnitser, allegedly signed off on more than 4,000 applications in question. Prosecutors asked recipients to pay back their ill-gotten gains, although did not seek action against them.

The first case against the ring concluded in August 2011, when Polina Anoshina, a 63-year-old Brighton Beach resident accused of plundering the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for $9,000 and roping 30 friends and neighbors into the scam, was sentenced to one year in prison.

Others have since been sentenced as well.

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