Tag Archives: Crime

Ozone Park auto body shop owner charged with tax fraud


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

An Ozone Park auto body repair shop and its owner have been charged with criminal tax fraud and grand larceny for allegedly stealing more than $125,000 in collected taxes that were owed to New York State and local municipalities.

Stephanie Davino, 31, of Howard Beach, and her business, A&W Auto Collision Center Inc., located at 104-11 101st St., have been charged with multiple degrees of criminal tax fraud, grand larceny, scheme to defraud and conspiracy, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

According to the criminal complaint, Davino failed to file a single sales tax return between Jan. 26, 2012, and March 3, 2014. However, her business performed $1.4 million in repairs during that time, collecting payments from GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, Progressive and USAA insurance companies. The total amount of sales tax owed to the city and state from this time totaled to about $125,700 ($61,965 to New York State and $63,735 to local municipalities).

“Sales taxes are meant for the public treasury – not the pockets of business owners. By purposefully defrauding the state and local government out of these funds – that could have been used in the public interest – the money instead allegedly lined the pocketbook of this businesswoman. This kind of tax fraud makes every New Yorker a victim,” Brown said.

Davino has been released on her own recognizance and has been ordered to return to court on Sept. 30.

If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison and her business will be fined $10,000, or double the amount that was illegally gained.

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Jamaica coach pleads guilty to producing, sharing child porn


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

A 43-year-old basketball coach from Jamaica pleaded guilty on Tuesday to taking and sharing pictures of young children involved in sexual acts, prosecutors announced.

Robert Walker, 43, of 164th Street pleaded guilty on Tuesday to first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors before Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt, who said she will sentence the defendant to 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years in prison. Walker will also be required to register as a sex offender.

According to the charges, on April 22, 2014, Walker communicated with a 15-year-old boy via OoVoo, a video chat and instant messaging software. Walker ordered the boy to strip naked, pose during a video link, and send him naked pictures.

An examination of the defendant’s electronic devices also revealed 27 images of children, some as young as 8, performing sexual acts with adult men.

In addition, Walker confessed to conducting workouts with teens under the age of 16, during which he would have them remove their clothes and he would take pictures of them. Three more victims, 14- and 15-year-olds who played on the basketball team Walker coached, were discovered during searches of the defendant’s Facebook and OoVoo accounts. The three had also been manipulated to strip naked and pose during video chats, and on one occasion, in person.

“The defendant has now admitted to taking advantage of his position as a non-affiliated basketball coach to instruct teenage boys to undress and send nude photographs of themselves to him for his sexual gratification,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “The victims will undoubtedly be scarred for life as a result of this man’s manipulative actions.”

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Rockaway pair convicted on murder and kidnapping charges


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Two 29-year-old Queens men have been convicted of second-degree murder and other charges in the brutal April 2012 stabbing death of a man who had begun a relationship with the estranged wife of one of the defendants.

Michael B. Cunningham, 29, of Dickens Street in Far Rockaway, and Damian Husain, also 29, of Beach 64th Street in Arverne, were convicted on July 28 of second-degree murder, second-degree felony murder, first-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Cunningham was additionally convicted of aggravated criminal contempt for violating an order of protection.

Sentencing has been set for Sept. 23. If convicted, both defendants face 25 years to life in prison.

“This was a particularly brutal attack,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “The 27-year-old victim had gashes and puncture wounds all over his body. A jury has spoken and found the two defendants guilty of murder and other charges. A lengthy prison term is more than warranted.”

According to trial testimony, the victim, Albert Robinson, had for six months been in a relationship with a woman who was married to but separated from Cunningham. After Cunningham rammed his car into Robinson’s on Dec. 28, 2011, an order of protection was issued requiring Cunningham to stay away from Robinson. However, Robinson still received a death threat on his cellphone from Cunningham.

On April 4, 2012, the victim left the woman’s house some time after midnight. Video surveillance in the area showed a man exiting the woman’s home and moments later being chased by a person on foot as well as by someone driving a dark-colored car. The men became entangled in a struggle just before moving out of view of the surveillance camera.

Robinson’s body was found some time after 11 a.m. that day off the shoreline of Jamaica Bay. He had been stabbed in multiple places, including his neck and chest, and had multiple punctures in his internal organs, including his lung, diaphragm and an artery. A glove found at the scene tested positive for Robinson’s blood and Husain’s skin cells. Robinson’s blood was also found on the backseat of Cunningham’s car.

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Jamaica man sentenced to 20 years in prison on abduction charges


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

A 35-year-old Queens man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for abducting a Harlem woman who died after a brutal beating by the man and his wife in December 2013.

Malik Wilkerson, of 116th Road in Jamaica, pleaded guilty on July 13 to second-degree kidnapping before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Buchter, who sentenced him to 20 years in prison on July 27. His wife, Devonee Wilkerson, pleaded guilty to the same charge on May 21, 2014, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 5, 2014.

According to the charges, the victim, 38-year-old mother of three Sheryl Outerbridge, had been trying to leave an ongoing sexual relationship she had had for years with the Wilkersons. Outerbridge fled the couple’s apartment on the night of Dec. 2, 2013, only to be found the next day on the train station platform at Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue.

The couple forcibly removed her from the train station and took her back to their home, where they attacked her with a paint roller extension and a glass bottle, burned her with a lit cigarette and punched her repeatedly. Outerbridge died of her wounds the following day after being dropped off at a local Queens hospital.

“[Malik Wilkerson] has shown he is not fit for civilized society and will be locked behind bars—to protect the public and to punish him for this brutal crime,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement Tuesday, July 28.

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104th Precinct closes down two rowdy Ridgewood hot spots


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@NYPD104Pct

Excessive noise, drug use and even episodes of violence led police to shut down two Ridgewood bars earlier this week.

In executing court orders, the 104th Precinct padlocked the Arena Billiards Cafe located at 341 St. Nicholas Ave. and Sabor Y Rumba located at 666 Seneca Ave. for various infractions. The precinct announced the shutdowns on its Twitter account on Monday.

According to sources, the closures were the result of investigations launched through complaints from local residents. Police found that Sabor Y Rumba allegedly sold alcohol illegally to underage patrons and continued to sell booze to overly intoxicated patrons. The establishment also had a history of noise complaints.

The allegations at Arena Billiards were more serious, police sources noted, as the club served as an incubator of criminal activity that eventually spilled onto the streets, such as assaults, robberies, and drug use and possession.

In March, a 21-year-old man was shot to death on Palmetto Street, a few steps away from the Arena Billiards entrance.

The owners of both establishments were ordered to appear in civil court to answer to the various charges against them. They must pay any civil penalties incurred before reopening the establishments, according to police.

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108th Precinct sees large crime decrease after new anti-crime team created


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Scott Bintner

Crime in the 108th Precinct — which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Maspeth — has seen a large decrease after a new team of seasoned officers hit the streets, according to the precinct’s top cop.

Captain John Travaglia, who took over the precinct last November, told The Courier that he has seen a 23 percent decrease in crime in the 28-day period ending on July 19 and a 30 percent decrease in the year to date.

Burglaries, which are the main issue the neighborhoods face, have been down 61 percent in the 28-day period and 26 percent in the year to date.

The police captain credits the decrease in crime to the creation of a second anti-crime team at the precinct which is made up of five seasoned officers.

“I inherited a precinct from Captain Brian Hennessy that I thought was working very, very well. The one thing that I noticed was we were missing an anti-crime team. Most precincts function with two anti-crime teams and we only had one,” Travaglia said.

Travaglia added that after going over the personnel background folders for each of the officers in the new team, he noticed they were being underutilized at the precinct and wanted “to get them back in the game.”

Since being formed in March, the team has worked to solve crimes that have been under the radar as well as more prominent crimes, and has helped take down ongoing crimes in the neighborhoods.

“We have put together, to me, one of the best anti-crime teams in the city of New York,” he said. “They’re just very sharp individuals. And I always say that if I was a criminal in this region right now, I’d be very scared of these men.”

Along with helping bring the crime numbers down, Travaglia said the men who make up the team are humble and are always accepting information from other officers and members of the precinct.

He added that they also train other officers around them and many other officers want to emulate these seasoned cops.

“They’re not giants among men. They’re police officers on a team. They don’t take credit for anything. The team takes credit. They’re phenomenal officers and they’re a big component of our crime reduction,” Travaglia said.

The precinct has seen a slight issue concerning Long Island City’s nightlife. Travaglia said that there have been issues, for example felony assaults, that occur late at night surrounding these establishments.

In order to tackle this issue and stop problems from occurring, Travaglia is looking to get together with the owners and managers of local bars, restaurants and clubs during a nightlife best practices meeting.

“We need cooperation because you don’t want to meet me after the situation has happened. You worked hard to get your liquor license, you’ve worked hard to license your establishment, to build your reputation up,” he said. “I want people to be successful here. People are coming to Long Island City to patronize these establishments at night, to visit here, so I want everyone to have a safe experience and pleasant experience.”

The precinct hopes to hold the first nightlife meeting in August or September at the precinct house, located at 5-47 50th Ave.

In regards to traffic enforcement, Travaglia said that since he took the post at the 108th Precinct there have been no traffic fatalities in the neighborhoods and he helped engineer a team of officers to follow traffic trends.

He added that although he has gotten some backlash on enforcement on bicyclists, he said he hopes the 364 summonses given out in the 28-day period, compared to the 17 in the same period last year, will control the other thousands on the road.

In regards to vehicles, he said there have been 7,000 moving summonses and 2,500 parking summonses given year to date.

“Someone has to make sure everyone is adhering to the rules of the road,” Travaglia said. “It’s something that I found needed to be addressed. We’re here to make sure the roadways are safe for all.”

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Video released of suspect in failed Woodhaven stickup


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps/Inset courtesy of NYPD

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the man caught on video attempting to rob a grocery store in Woodhaven last month.

According to authorities, the crook visited the shop located at 90-11 Jamaica Ave. at 9:30 p.m. on May 24, approached the cashier, displayed a handgun and demanded money.

Upon hearing the demand, the cashier fled into the basement, police said. Seconds later, the gunman exited the store empty-handed.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to the incident; there were no injuries.

The NYPD described the perpetrator as a black male believed to be 40 years old, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, who was last observed wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a black baseball cap.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


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Five teens caught in Middle Village robbery


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

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Five teenagers were taken into custody following a Tuesday night robbery in Middle Village, police reported.

Authorities stated that the two victims were traveling through Juniper Valley Park at approximately 10:25 p.m. when they were approached by the five suspects. One of the perpetrators reportedly displayed a knife and demanded the victims’ cellphones.

During the course of the robbery, the group attacked the teens and removed their iPhones before fleeing from the scene, authorities said.

Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the incident; the victims suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.

Police apprehended the five perpetrators in the area of 69th Street and Metropolitan Avenue shortly after the incident. They were identified as Jonathan Perez 18, from the Bronx; Kenneth Cabrera 18, of Glendale; Justin Santos 19, of Middle Village; a 17-year-old male, of Maspeth; and a 15-year-old male from New Britain, Connecticut.

Each suspect was charged with robbery.

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Crime rates down for the year in the 110th Precinct


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Crime continues to drop across the 110th Precinct, the force’s commanding officer announced at the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) meeting on Monday night.

“We are down 6.2 percent in crime for the year so far,” Deputy Inspector Christopher Manson said. “We have major reductions in robbery, burglary and grand larceny.”

The precinct is currently down eight robberies for the year, from 111 last year to 103 thus far in 2015. Police officers have made 63 robbery arrests this year, Manson noted, leading to the lower crime rates that the precinct is seeing.

Although crime is down overall for the 110th Precinct, vehicle thefts are on the rise. Manson told those in attendance that they have been six more stolen cars this year than at this point last year.

“The other area we are up in is felony assaults. We’ve been fighting that since the beginning of the year; there’s a lot domestic felony assaults,” Manson said. “One of the reasons we think we’re up in domestic assaults, it’s not a bad thing, it’s because we’re doing a lot of outreach. We’re going out on the streets and out into the community and we’re giving out pamphlets and letting people know about domestic violence and how they can report it. So we think more people are reporting it.”

Manson also alerted those in attendance of three recent crimes that turned out to all be connected within the 110th Precinct.

The first two crimes were robberies in which a male, Hispanic suspect drove up to people on the street and robbed them of their cellphones at knife point.

Later that night, police witnessed two men fighting in the street on Queens Boulevard near 74th Street, where one of the men stabbed the other six times with a small knife. That suspect was taken into custody and brought to the stationhouse. The other man was brought to the hospital and will survive his wounds.

“While we were in the stationhouse with this male, our officers in the room began tracking one of the cellphones from the earlier robberies,” Manson added. “We ping it, we get to find out the location, we look down and the location came to the same room we were in. We looked at the property that we were taking from the guy who just stabbed the guy six times and he has both cellphones. So we got him for all three crimes.”

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In Glendale, 104th Precinct looks to improve on crime drop


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Crime numbers continue to plummet in the 104th Precinct, but the command is looking to do even better.

Capt. Mark Wachter, the 104th Precinct’s commanding officer, came to the precinct’s Community Council meeting on Tuesday at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale and reported a 26 percent reduction in overall crime in the past month. This included a significant downturn in domestic violence and felony assaults.

The precinct also experienced a 40 percent decrease in grand larcenies and stolen cars. Wachter credits crime prevention tactics, such as personalized home visits and spreading awareness about scams, with the large reduction.

In an effort to confront quality-of-life concerns, the 104th Precinct also held a successful undercover sting operation last Saturday to combat prostitution along Cypress Avenue and Starr Street on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border. According to Wachter, officers made six arrests and seized one vehicle for illicit activity.

“We put pressure on and basically make it go away,” he said. “We don’t want it to go somewhere else; we want it to go away.”

Despite these victories, burglaries remain an area of particular concern for the command. The Community Council’s Public Safety Committee and P.O. Eddie Collado of the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit delivered a video presentation and discussion on home burglary prevention.

“The burglar is an opportunist,” Collado said. According to police, perpetrators often gain access to homes through unlocked rear windows, doors and fire escapes.

Collado urged residents to secure windows and doors with the proper locks and volunteered to conduct personalized home safety surveys upon appointment. He also asked that residents register their valuable items such as electronics and bicycles with the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit. The items are marked with serial numbers that can potentially help identify and recover them if lost or stolen.

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

P.O. Sean Paul Hynes was honored as Cop of the Month for apprehending a suspect wanted for robbing a Boar’s Head delivery truck driver at gunpoint on April 21 on Woodward Avenue at Woodbine Street in Ridgewood.

According to Wachter, Hynes and his fellow officers from the 104th Precinct’s Anti-Crime Unit were able to track the suspect and his getaway vehicle through the use of undisclosed computer resources. Within minutes of the robbery, Hynes was able to track the vehicle to a specific location in Brooklyn.

A brief foot pursuit ensued, after which the male suspect and his weapon were taken into custody.

“It’s one less gun on the street, but we can never measure how many victims the gun could have taken out,” Wachter said.

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Precincts give crime updates at COMET meeting


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

The 108th Precinct’s commander raised concern over a rash of stolen vehicles and commercial burglaries in the Maspeth/Woodside area during the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) meeting held Monday in Elmhurst.

Captain John Travaglia said the number of cars being stolen in the neighborhoods has escalated, especially the older-model Dodge Caravans. According to Travaglia, at least four of these vehicles have been stolen within the confines of the 108th Precinct in the last 28 days.

“What we see a lot with that is, they’re easy to steal,” Travaglia said. “And then they’re easy to steal other things with because the seats will come out quick and maybe they’ll steal a motorcycle then, and throw the motorcycle in the back of that Dodge Caravan. So we’ve seen that type of activity going on in the precinct.”

The precinct has noticed an increase in commercial burglaries throughout the neighborhoods as well. The one burglary that was reported in the 28-day time frame from the 108th Precinct occurred at 70-32 Queens Blvd., where tools were stolen from off of a construction site.

“Construction sites, houses that are under construction are being burglarized for copper pipes [and] for tools,” Travaglia told those in attendance. “This has become a prevalent problem all over Queens.”

One major highlight for the 108th Precinct is the number of traffic fatalities that have occurred since November, which is zero.

“I can report the 108 Precinct [has] not had a traffic fatality since I’ve been there in November,” Travaglia announced. “It’s been fantastic. Year-to-date, we haven’t had a traffic fatality.”

Detective Thomas Bell from the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit also announced that the precinct is down in overall crime.

“Year-to-date, the 104 is down about 8.6 percent in crime,” Bell said. “We are down pretty much across the board.”

The 104th Precinct has seen two murders this year, compared to three at this time last year. There have been seven rapes compared to eight last year, 57 robberies compared to 62 last year. Felony assaults dropped to 63 this year from 69 last year, burglaries fell by just one, 110 versus 111 from 2014. Grand larcenies dropped from 198 last year to only 181 this year and grand larceny for automobiles dropped from 71 in 2014 to 57 this year.

P.O. David Saponieri from the 110th Precinct Community Affairs Unit also informed COMET about its crime numbers. There have only been six arrests during the 28-day period within COMET’s area of Elmhurst. There were two stolen cars, two grand larcenies and two burglaries.

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DNA helps cops nab Ridgewood car thief


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

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An alleged Ridgewood car thief was brought in by cops last week after DNA testing from items left behind at the scene connected him to the crime, police stated.

The suspect, identified by police as Alfredo Santiago, 41, of Bushwick, reportedly dropped a backpack containing three screwdrivers and personal items taken from the car during the September 2014 robbery.

According to authorities, during the incident, the owner of the vehicle approached his car, which was parked outside of 1856 Troutman St., at approximately 3:40 a.m. on Sept. 28 when he saw Santiago step out of his car and display what appeared to be a firearm.

Police said that Santiago then threatened to shoot the victim before he fled the scene, dropping the backpack containing the screwdrivers that led to his arrest.

Genetic evidence recovered from one of the screwdrivers was tested and found to match Santiago’s DNA profile.

Santiago was arraigned on April 22 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Zaro on first-degree robbery, possession of burglar’s tools and fourth-degree criminal mischief. His bail was set at $30,000, and he is scheduled to return to court on May 6.

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Manhattan woman stole $350K from her Fresh Meadows mom: DA


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

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An Upper East Side woman was arraigned Tuesday on charges of stealing more than $340,000 from her elderly mother, a Fresh Meadows resident, prosecutors announced.

Barbara Schwartz, 62, of East 71 Street in Manhattan allegedly withdrew funds from her mother’s bank account to pay for spa treatments, clothing, alcohol and cab rides from 2010 to 2013.

She was arraigned Tuesday on a four-count indictment charging her with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Schwartz was ordered held on $50,000 bond.

Law enforcement sources said Schwartz came into control of her 91-year-old mother’s finances after the elderly woman suffered a stroke in 2008. Authorities were alerted to the theft by another child of the victim, and an analysis of the suspect’s bank records allegedly indicated that none of the money was used to benefit the ailing woman.

“The defendant’s mother spent a lifetime acquiring the assets needed to make her final years comfortable and free of the stress of financial worry, only to suffer a stroke and have her daughter allegedly steal the money for her own personal use,” Brown said.

Schwartz is scheduled to return to court on June 23.

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Ozone Park man faces serious jail time for sexually abusing two young girls


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

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An Ozone Park man was convicted this week of sexually preying on young children in their home over a four-year period, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced.

Melchor Evangelista, 42, was found guilty of having sexual contact with two preadolescent sisters on five separate occasions in their Ozone Park home in 2009 and 2013.

“A jury has convicted the defendant of being a sexual predator who victimized two young girls and betrayed the trust of their parents who had placed their daughters into his care,” Brown said. “As such, he has proven himself to be a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general. His conviction ensures that he is punished for his crimes.”

According to the trial testimony, Evangelista engaged in a sexual act on three different occasions between June and August of 2009 with a 6-year-old girl whom he knew. He also attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim during the same time frame.

The victim, too afraid to tell anyone of the incidents, waited until December 2013 to confide in her mother. The mother then asked the victim’s younger sister, who was then 10, if anyone had touched her. She admitted that she woke one night in August 2013 to find Evangelista in her bed and that he had touched her private parts.

Jurors convicted Evangelista Monday of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and one count each of first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree attempted sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, after a one-week jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Butcher.

Evangelista, who had been free on $50,000 bail since after his January 2014 arrest, had his bail revoked and was ordered held in custody. Sentencing is set for April 28, and Evangelista faces up to 25 years in prison on each of the criminal sexual act charges, 15 years on the attempted rape charge, seven years on the sexual abuse charge, four years on the attempted sexual abuse charge and one year on the endangerment charge.

The investigation was conducted by the NYPD’s Queens Special Victims Squad at the Queens Child Advocacy Center.

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Pol touts Ridgewood’s successes and the challenges ahead


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan discussed the many assets and issues facing Ridgewood at Thursday night’s swearing-in ceremony of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) officials and board of directors held at the Ridgewood Older Adult Center.

“We have something very special here,” Nolan said. “It’s kind of ironic—lately it seems like the whole world is just finding that out. That’s going to present a whole new set of challenges for Ridgewood.”

In her address to the group, Nolan focused on the many positive aspects and improvements made in Ridgewood over the years, including bus and transit hub upgrades, the efforts and achievements of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), and advances in local healthcare.

Nolan also cited improvements in sanitation, such as Ridgewood’s successful composting program and high recycling rates, as a major asset within the community.

“Ridgewood is the cleanest neighborhood in the city because we made that a priority,” she said. “We thought of it as just keeping our homes clean, but now we see the environmental benefit as well.”

Ridgewood’s growth and development as an environmentally friendly, sustainable community was also celebrated. According to Nolan, the availability of mass transit, as well as the ability to walk to stores and venues within the community, lessened dependence on cars, reducing pollution and improving the local environment.

In addition to improvements, Nolan also addressed the many challenges facing Ridgewood, including mass transit, the loss of manufacturing and an increase in domestic violence, which she referred to as a “hidden problem” in the community. Nolan’s office and the 104th Precinct are trying to combat domestic violence through expanded outreach and communication in the wake of last week’s deadly attack on Grove Street.

An issue of particular concern was the challenges facing senior citizen tenants struggling to hold on to their apartments amid rent hikes in the area. Nolan and RPOCA President Charles Ober discussed introducing legislation that would expand the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) to three- and four-family homes. SCRIE is a property tax rebate offered to landlords with the incentive of reducing the rent of a senior tenant residing in their properties.

In 2014, funding to the SCRIE Program was increased from $29,000 to $50,000. Currently, the exemption is only available to dwellings with six or more units. Nolan vowed to form a council in Albany that would draft legislation expanding eligibility to three- and four-family homes.

“It’s long overdue and I think we could try,” Nolan said.

Nolan swore in the 2015 RPOCA officers, including President Charles Ober, First Vice President Joseph Segreti, Second Vice President John Maier, Third Vice President Domingo Santos, Recording Secretary Maryellen Borello, Financial Secretary Helen Kutch and Sergeant-At-Arms Carlos Ortiz.

The RPOCA board of directors sworn in included Henry Cross, Geoffrey Elkind, Gregory Haufe, John Hertling, Voytek Oktawiec, Jamie Taratoot, Simon Orr, Richard Wessley, Louis Rodriguez and Chairperson Patricia Grayson.

Pastor Thomas Goodhart from Trinity Reformed Church in Ridgewood offered a Benediction at the swearing-in ceremony.

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