Archive for the tag 'crime'

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CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

Click to enlarge

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CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

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The 61st Precinct Community Council Meeting will meet at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, December 10, at YDE School, 2533 Coney Island Avenue.

The Community Council is comprised of concerned residents and top brass from the 61st Precinct, and offers neighbors an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns about crime and safety issues in the area. The monthly meetings are attended by the commanding officer of the precinct, who will present a report on incidents and trends in the neighborhood, and speak face-to-face with neighbors about specific concerns.

For further information, or if you have questions or comments concerning Community Affairs, call (718) 627-6847.

3027 Avenue V, the address of one of the shell companies affiliated with the alleged scam.

3027 Avenue V, the address of one of the shell companies affiliated with the alleged scam.

Ten people – including three Brooklynites – were arrested and charged for their roles in an alleged $70 million scheme to defraud Medicaid and Medicare by submitting phony claims to the programs through three sham medical clinics, including one based on Avenue V.

The bust was announced December 3, when the suspects were slapped with charges including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, healthcare fraud and money laundering. Three of the suspects – Vadim Zubkov, Nikoloz Chochiev and Jason Brissett – hailed from Brooklyn while the remaining seven were Queens residents.

Prosecutors say that the defendants recruited homeless people and the financially vulnerable who were insured by Medicare or Medicaid, hauling them to the three clinics to undergo unnecessary medical tests. The procedures were administered by unlicensed personnel, and the clinics ultimately billed more than $70 million in fraudulent claims, according to prosecutors, paying kickbacks to the phony patients.

Find out who was arrested, where the clinic was and how the alleged scam operated.

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CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

Shaniesha Forbes. (Source: Facebook)

Shaniesha Forbes. (Source: Facebook)

Christian Ferdinand (Source: Aroostook Sheriff Department via Daily Mail)

Christian Ferdinand (Source: Aroostook Sheriff Department via Daily Mail)

A jury today convicted Christian Ferdinand, 22, of brutally suffocating 14-year-old Shaniesha Forbes to death, stuffing her in a suitcase, and attempting to set her corpse on fire on Gerritsen Beach in 2013.

He was found guilty of second degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He faces 25 years to life in prison when sentenced on January 7 – exactly two years and one day after Forbes’ body was found charred on Gerritsen Beach.

Ferdinand and Forbes met on Facebook and began to pursue a relationship. On the morning of January 4, 2013, the two got into a fight; Forbes confessed she believed she was pregnant, and Ferdinand wanted her to terminate the pregnancy, demanding she “kill it,” according to testimony.

Prosecutors say Ferdinand became enraged, and smothered the petite girl with a pillow at his cousin’s Nostrand Avenue apartment near Avenue M. He reportedly stuffed her in a suitcase and stashed it on his cousin’s rooftop before driving to the end of Gerritsen Avenue, where he set the body on fire.

Forbes was not pregnant, according to a medical examiner’s report.

After killing Forbes, Ferdinand fled to Limestone, Maine, and got a job through Job Corp. When he was arrested in May 2013, he confessed to the crime – and asked for community service, according to the New York Post.

“Do you think I can get some kind of community service?” he asked, according to the Post.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has other ideas.

“The defendant brutally took the life of a 14 year-old girl all because he believed that she was pregnant. We will now seek the maximum at sentencing to ensure that we get justice for the victim,” said Thompson in a statement.

Forbes was a resident of Flatflands, and was a freshman at the Academy for Young Writers in East New York at the time of her death.

1070 Ocean View Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

1070 Ocean View Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

Responding to a 911 call, police arrived to a gruesome scene early this morning: a 59-year-old man was stabbed to death in his apartment on Ocean View Avenue; outside the building, the crumpled body of his 30-year-old stepson was splayed on the pavement with severe trauma; and just a few blocks away, the pregnant sister of the younger man, a 29-year-old woman, was found bleeding from stab wounds to her back, wrist and forehead.

The female victim phoned 911 at approximately 2:30am. The 59-year-old, Voclodymyr Yeushchenko, was pronounced dead by EMS inside his 1070 Ocean View Avenue apartment building, just across the street from elementary school PS 225.

The 30-year-old, Kostyantyn Proskurnyak, who lived in the same apartment, was rushed off to Coney Island Hospital, where he too was pronounced dead.

His sister, the 29-year-old, was picked up by first responders at Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue . She was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, where she is listed in stable condition.

The investigation is ongoing, but cops told the Daily News that they believe Proskurnyak got into a heated argument with his stepfather, Yeushchenko. It escalated until he drew a knife and stabbed him in the neck. Proskurnyak’s sister tried to intervene when she was stabbed in the head, back and wrist.

The sister darted out of the apartment to safety, where she phoned cops, according to the News. The New York Post adds that the woman is pregnant.

As Yeushchenko bled to death, cops believe Proskurnyak went to an upper floor or the roof, where he took his life in a suicidal leap.

The investigation is ongoing, according to police.

Man wanted for robbing gas station at 292 Neptune Avenue. Source: DCPI

Man wanted for robbing gas station at 292 Neptune Avenue. Source: DCPI

Cops are looking for neighbors’ help tracking down the man pictured above, who is accused of robbing the Liberty gas station at 292 Neptune Avenue early Saturday morning.

The suspect strolled up to a station attendant at 12:50am, and motioned as if he had a gun while demanding money. No gun was actually displayed, but the suggestion was enough: the attendant forked over more than $500, police said.

The robber then fled on foot, leaving the attendant unharmed. The 60th Precinct released the image above via Twitter. No other description was given by authorities.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Click to enlarge

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CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

Michael Levitis Marina Levitis Rasputin Brighton Beach Show

Michael and Marina Levitis (Source: James Edstrom)

Michael Levitis, who owned Rasputin restaurant until it was seized by authorities, and who was also a castmember of the failed television show Russian Dolls, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison yesterday for a fraudulent debt collection scheme that preyed on the vulnerable.

Levitis was also ordered to pay restitution of $2.2 million to the victims, and a fine of $15,000. His company, Mission Settlement Agency, was ordered to pay a fine of nearly $4.4 million.

The offices of Mission Settlement Agency at 2713 Coney Island Avenue, (Source: Google Maps)

The Manhattan Beach resident pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and wire fraud conspiracy for his role masterminding a ploy to victimize more than 1,200 struggling people through phony debt collection services, according to United States Attorney Preet Bharara. He previously denied his role in the scheme, and even claimed to be a victim of “rogue employees” – a tale prosecutors didn’t buy.

“Michael Levitis preyed upon people across the country who, like so many Americans, were struggling to pay off their debts after the financial downturn,” said Bharara. “Through Mission Settlement Agency, Levitis lied about quick, guaranteed cures to their serious financial problems in order to trick them out of money they could not afford to lose.  Worse, he created, for many people, a nightmare of spiraling debt and plummeting credit scores that plagues them to this day. With his sentence today, he has been held responsible and punished for his crimes.”

“[Levitis'] crimes here … were directed at desperate people, hundreds of desperate people drowning in debt.”

 

–Judge Paul Gardephe.

Levitis’ defense team previously requested a lighter sentence of just five years, but Judge Paul Gardephe balked at the request for a crime he found “extraordinary” in its cruelty.

“There is something special and extraordinary about the crimes here: the fact that they were directed at desperate people, hundreds of desperate people drowning in debt, trying to find a way out of their problems,” he said during the sentencing. “The determination to extract from these people their last few dollars makes this crime extraordinary.”

Levitis will be under home supervision until he heads to prison in February, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Prosecutors say Mission offered debt settlement services to people struggling to pay off credit card debt, promising to negotiate with the lenders on behalf of clients for a lower settlement amount. From 2009 to May 2013, Levitis, 38, directed Mission’s employees – Denis Kurlyand, Boris Shulman, Manuel Cruz, Felix Lebersekiy and Zakhir Shirinov, all of whom pleaded guilty as well – to make fraudulent claims in the sales pitches to clients.

Such promises included an ability to slash their debts by 45 percent, which never in fact happened. Additionally, the company sent potential clients letters falsely suggesting that the agency was connected to federal government programs.

In the end, Mission collected more than $2.2 million in fees from more than 1,200 customers, and never paid a penny to the customers’ creditors. Instead, he funneled the funds to cover expenses at his beleaguered 2670 Coney Island Avenue restaurant, Rasputin, as well as to make lease payments on two different Mercedes cars and pay the credit card bills of his mother, Eva Levitis.

Prosecutors explicitly said some of the funds went to throw the lavish parties featured in the reality show “in which he starred during the course of the scheme,” meaning Lifetime’s Russian Dolls.

That show debuted on Lifetime in August 2011, despite criticism from the Russian-speaking community that they feared they’d be depicted as “thugs, criminals and outcasts.”

It was canceled after four episodes.

Prior to the show, Levitis already had an uneasy relationship with the law. As critics of the show feared, it did in fact portray a criminal – the same month his involvement in the show became public, Levitis had pleaded guilty of lying to federal investigators in relation to an FBI probe dating back to 2007.

That investigation explored an alleged influence peddling scheme in which Levitis was recorded telling another restaurateur that then-State Senator Carl Kruger would help him with state matters if he held a fundraiser and turned over thousands of dollars for the politician’s campaign.

Kruger is currently in federal prison after being found guilty for accepting at least $1 million in bribes in an unrelated investigation. Levitis at the time was sentenced to three years probation and fined $15,000.

Since the current charges involving Mission Settlement were made public, Levitis has attempted to maintain a profile in the community through a private Facebook page called Russian Insiders. Moderated by Levitis, his mother, and his wife, users have complained of “Putin-style censorship” on the page, in which members are banned for any mention of the multiple Levitis scandals.

Sources have also said he frequently uses the page to disparage Sheepshead Bites as “anti-Russian,” presumably because of this outlet’s extensive reporting on his unscrupulous activities.

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