Tag Archives: Far Rockaway

Rego Park Toys ‘R’ Us employee charged with stealing $56K in merchandise


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A cashier at a Rego Park Toys “R” Us store was caught using a coupon code scheme to score $56,000 in free merchandise, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

The employee, Shontia Jones, 24, of Far Rockaway, is accused of stealing the goods while working at the Toys “R” Us store in the Rego Center mall between June and December of this year.

She would create coupon codes, which are given by customer service representatives to customers who are unsatisfied with a purchases, and use them to buy items on the store’s website, according to the district attorney.

Jones shipped more than $45,000 worth of products to her Far Rockaway home, and an additional $10,000 worth of items were shipped to her sister’s residence, also in Far Rockaway, Brown said.

Some of the products included baby formula, Disney Frozen toys, Xbox games, baby clothes, disposable diapers, Hot Wheels, beverages and board games. Jones still had most of the items in her possession and had given away the rest to family members, rather than sell them.

She was eventually caught when an internal investigation by Toys “R” Us found that an unusual amount of coupon codes had been created at the Rego Park store, according to court records.

Jones was arraigned on Tuesday on charges of grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and falsifying business records. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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Five humongous Queens homes listing under $1M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Multiple Listing Service and PropertyShark

While new apartments in Queens are getting smaller so developers can maximize profits, the borough still has a  treasure trove of spacious gems in older homes that offer prospective owners the best bang for their buck.

For many, size does matter, so here are five single-family homes with enough space for parents, the kids, grandma and maybe even a crazy uncle or two, and each are under $1 million.

59-35 Menahan St., Ridgewood

This property has seven bedrooms and three bathrooms and was originally built in 1920, according to its listing. It sits on a lot of 5,137 square feet, which has a two-car garage and a private driveway. There is a finished basement and a laundry room as well. The broker is Peter Caruso of Caruso & Boughton Realty, and the asking price is $945,000.

 

105-42 133rd St., Richmond Hill

If you thought that last price was low, this Richmond Hill seven-bedroom home is listed for $649,999. This three-story detached colonial home has three bathrooms and a recreational room in the basement, according to the listing. The residence uses about half of its 5,084-square-foot lot space. Raias Khan of Century 21 is the broker of record.

 

168-04 35th Ave., Flushing

Just in case seven bedrooms wasn’t enough, this three-story colonial style single-family Flushing home offers eight bedrooms, and three full bathrooms, according to the listing. Blocks away from the Auburndale LIRR station, the house is located on a corner property and has 3,087 square feet of space. The residence features a finished basement, which includes a laundry room. It also has a one-car garage. The asking price is $958,000. En Ja Chung of Promise Realty is the broker.

 

88-52 195th Pl., Hollis

Those looking for style with a bargain price may have found it with this large single-family home. The three-story Hollis residence features a formal dining room and living room with French pocket doors, according to its listing. It has seven bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms in 3,400 square feet of space. There is also a two-car garage on the property as well. Emmanuel Babayev of Charles Rutenberg Realty is the broker.

 

11-43 Beach 9th St., Far Rockaway

Access to transportation, a huge house, spacious lot and a bargain price — this home may have it all. This three-story residence sits on a nearly 8,000-square-foot lot and has about 3,500 square feet of living space, according to its listing. The asking price is $879,000. It has seven bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private driveway. The broker is Ann Bienstock of Five Towns Miller Realty.

Rockaway property

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Queens doctor busted for insurance fraud


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Title

A Queens doctor who works in Flushing and Far Rockaway allegedly received more than $25,000 in insurance payments for medical services that he never provided.

Dr. Stanley-Sangwook Kim, 41, of Manhasset, Long Island, who maintains a medical practice at 33-34 Parsons Blvd. in Flushing, and is the director of the surgical residency program at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of insurance fraud, grand larceny, petit larceny, possession of stolen property, falsifying business records and scheme to defraud, District Attorney Richard Brown said. If convicted, Kim faces up to seven years in prison.

The doctor is accused of submitting claims of more than $63,000 to six health insurance companies for medical treatments he supposedly administered to 13 patients between May 2012 and September 2013.

Those claims were false, and Kim received $25,060 from the insurance companies, according to Brown.

Twelve of the thirteen patients had been treated by the doctor for ailments other than what had been claimed, prosecutors said. The fraud was revealed when a woman complained to her insurance company that she had been billed for a service that was never performed.

“To a dishonest health care provider, a patient’s medical data is like having access to their credit card – and can be more valuable as most people scrutinize their credit card statements much more closely than they do explanation of benefits printouts,” Brown said. “[These] criminal charges send a clear message to those who attempt to fleece the system for their own personal gain that law enforcement’s fight against insurance fraud is ongoing and that those who cheat will be sought out and prosecuted.”

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MTA bus driver charged after allegedly stabbing wife’s lover in Rockaways


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 5, 4:45 p.m. 

A city bus driver from Richmond Hill has been arrested after he allegedly stabbed his romantic rival in Arverne Tuesday afternoon, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

Ephraim Henry, 30, had completed his route and was driving the empty bus to the depot when he spotted the victim, Oscar Williams.

Williams, 48, was driving a Honda near Beach 67th St. and Beach Channel Drive, when Henry allegedly stopped the bus and began to argue with Williams, who is reportedly involved romantically with Henry’s wife. The two began to fight and Henry stabbed Williams in the arm, Brown said.

Williams survived the incident but had to undergo surgery at a nearby hospital.

Henry was arraigned on Wednesday on charges of assault and criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

The stabbing was within blocks of where several stray bullets hit an MTA bus on Monday night. No one aboard the bus was injured, but a 21-year-old man was hit in the leg. He was taken to the hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

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Stray bullets hit MTA bus in Rockaway shooting


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarLightsHC0708_L_300_C_Y-624x414

Updated 2:53 p.m.

An MTA bus was hit by stray bullets in a shooting that injured a 21-year-old man in Arverne Monday night, according to authorities.

Two bullets went through the driver’s side of the Q22 bus, near Beach Channel Drive and Beach 73rd Street at about 8:20 p.m., police said.

Around 15 to 20 passengers were on the bus at the time of the shooting. No one aboard was hurt.

The 21-year-old man was found on Beach 67th Street with a gunshot wound to his leg and taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition, authorities said.

Police are still looking for the shooter.

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Real estate roundup: Councilman Van Bramer against Sunnyside Yards development, converted factories prosper in LIC


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy of Bing Maps

Van Bramer differs with Community Board Chair over the development of Sunnyside Yards

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said today that he is firmly opposed to building over the Sunnyside Yards. Van Bramer made the statement in response to Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley’s call last Thursday for a study to determine whether it would be feasible to build over a section of the yards, which consists of acres of land covered by railroad tracks.” Read more [LIC Post]

Transformed Factories Prosper in LIC’s Development Boom

“The renowned Scalamandre Silks company once dyed silks for the Kennedy White House and the Hearst Castle where Scott Kushner and his 10 employees now produce videos and reality shows. At the start of this year, after working out of Manhattan for 20 years, Mr. Kushner moved MediaPlace into a section of the bottom floor of the industrial warehouse developer Time Equities has fashioned into today’s Silks Building in Long Island City.” Read more [Commercial Observer]

Far Rockaway Job Fair Brings Sandy Rebuilding Work to Area

“A job fair will look to connect residents with Hurricane Sandy-related rebuilding and resiliency work. The Oct. 15 fair in Far Rockaway is organized by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Recovery Operations, Workforce1 and other city agencies to help get residents hired on rebuilding projects.” Read more [DNAinfo]

Cops save two teen girls, man in waters off Far Rockaway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Four NYPD officers rescued two drowning teenage girls and a man who went into the water to try and save them off of Far Rockaway Tuesday night, police said.

The cops, Sergeant Darryl Knight, Officer Terrence Sloan, Officer Maurice Roper and Officer Michael McCarthy, arrived at the scene near Beach 17th Street around 6:30 p.m. after responding to a 911 call.

The two girls, ages 14 and 15, had been swept out by the current. A 33-year-old man who had gone into the water when he saw the teens were in trouble had also gotten swept away by the current and all three were having trouble staying above the water, authorities said.

All four officers entered the water and were able to pull the girls, who were 50 feet out, and the man, who was 30 feet out, to safety.

The two girls were taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where they were checked out and released, according to police.

The man who was rescued refused medical aid at the scene.

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Storefront counseling center to open in Howard Beach


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The New Horizon Counseling Center is getting ready to open up its newest location on Cross Bay Boulevard.

The center, located at 156-28 Cross Bay Blvd., is set to have its grand opening on Oct. 1, according to Herrick Lipton, the administrative and financial director for the center. A staple in southern Queens for over 20 years, the Howard Beach center will be its third location in the area, with the other two in Far Rockaway and Ozone Park.

“Empowering individuals and strengthening the community is our motto,” Lipton said. “We cover all different types of needs the community might have.”

New Horizon is a nonprofit behavioral health organization, servicing people of all ages and covering every type of behavioral health need. It also hosts programs around the community, including neighborhood events and after-school programs.

Unlike many counseling centers, New Horizon uses a storefront approach because it likes to immerse itself in the neighborhood and be a part of it, Lipton said.

New Horizon will have staff available for walk-ins and have psychiatrists and social workers on site. It will also provide individual, group and psychotherapy counseling.

“Reception has been very good,” Lipton said. “We are here to aid the communities that we are in. ”

To learn more about New Horizon Counseling Center, visit www.nhcc.us.

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More West Nile spraying to target Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYC Health Department

Another round of West Nile spraying is set for parts of Queens this week.

The spraying will take place on Thursday, Sept. 18, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Monday, Sept. 22 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of Arverne, Bays Water, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Hammels and Somerville (Bordered by Jamaica Bay to the north; Cross Bay Parkway to the west; Atlantic Ocean to the south; and Nassau County Boundary to the east).

Parts of Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Saint Albans and Springfield Gardens (Bordered by 119th Avenue to the north; Farmers Boulevard to the west; Merrick Boulevard to the south; and Belt Parkway and Nassau County Line to the east).

map 2

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

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Queens Library struggling from space constraints, report says


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Library

Increasing space for users at Queens Library branches could begin a new chapter in its history, after a new study found most locations are struggling from space constraints.

The news comes days after the library’s CEO Tom Galante was suspended by the board of trustees, following a series of published reports revealing his nearly $400,000 salary, benefits, and erection of a smoking deck outside his office in Central Library, while making employee cuts.

The Center for an Urban Future released Monday the Re-Envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries report, which said 41 of the library’s 62 branches are under 10,000 square feet and struggling to meet the demands of its increasing membership. Queens had the most branches under that size in the five boroughs. Brooklyn came in second with 26 branches.

About 11.2 million people visited Queens Library branches in fiscal year 2014, according to statistics on the library’s website, and there were 929,000 active borrowers. The problem isn’t a need to repair libraries but adjust the layout, according to the report.

“It’s not just that so many New York City libraries are old and in a state of disrepair, many are not configured to meet the needs of today’s users,” the study said. “Designed around their book collections, many devote a majority of their layouts to shelves and rooms for book processing.”

The report specifically identified the Fresh Meadows library branch as one of the more well-attended branches in the city, but only has 8,700 square feet of space. That branch and the Far Rockaway, Lefferts, Rego Park and Sunnyside locations are five of the 10 “highest performing branches citywide” that are in need of more space.

“These well-attended branches would undoubtedly attract significantly more patrons for programs if they had more space for them,” the report said.

But some libraries just don’t have enough seating, such as the Jackson Heights branch, which has more than 375,000 annual visitors, but can only seat 78 people.

In its defense, Interim Queens Library President and CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey said that the library is currently engaging in many projects to expand its branches and meet its vast membership.

“Over the past several years, elected officials in Queens have done a great job of allocating funds to help Queens Library upgrade and maintain its facilities,” Quinn-Carey said. “As the report suggests, there is still so much more that we could be doing for the community if we had the space in which to do it. We look forward to working with public funders to establish a rational, forward-looking capital funding plan that gives libraries the resources they need to plan important capital investments.”

On a positive note, Queens has the newest libraries, according to the report. The borough ranks youngest in age, with the average library at just 47 years old. Manhattan is first with an average age of 84 years old. Also, six of the 15 new libraries in the past 20 years were branches in Queens.

Click here to read the full report.

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Sandy rebuilding summit sees huge turnout


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

An energized crowd of about 1,000 people gathered for a Faith in New York summit at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica on Tuesday to learn about the progress and priorities of Hurricane Sandy rebuilding.

“This is a time for us to remember what was promised,” said the Rev.  Floyd Flake, pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E. and a former Queens congressman. “Our people should not still be suffering the way they are, 21 months after the storm.”

Much of the meeting focused on families in Far Rockaway where suffering from Sandy is still the most prevalent issue, according to residents.  Many people are still suffering from leaking roofs, mold, no heat and no jobs as a result of the storm.

Amy Peterson, director of the Housing Recovery Office under Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other city officials listened to these concerned residents and assured them that things are changing.

“We are committed to working with all of you,” she said. “We are going to eliminate the red tape from Build it Back and everyone who has applied for it will get the support they need.”

Peterson said that since the de Blasio administration came to office, rebuilding is on the rise. But she said the fight is nowhere near over. Her office promised 500 checks to Sandy-affected homeowners by Labor Day. As of this week, 457 checks have gone out. She said that once Labor Day comes and they hit their goal, a new one will be made.

This was welcome news to Sandy survivors like Aracelis and Erik Cabrera who are still displaced from the storm.

“We applied for Build it Back but are still waiting to find out if we will receive the funds we desperately need,” Aracelis said as she wiped  tears from her eyes. “We are glad that Mayor de Blasio is focused on fixing Build it Back so that families like ours can rebuild our lives and our home.”

Peterson said that within the next 60 days she would host a large job fair that will prioritize those people who were affected by the storm. When advocates for rebuilding asked Peterson whether they can have a meeting with de Blasio himself about the recovery effort she chuckled but gave a reassuring answer.

“Well, I don’t know his [de Blasio's] schedule,” she said. “But yes, we will try to work it out.”

Source: Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

 

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26-year-old killed in Far Rockaway motorcycle collision


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A motorcyclist lost his life on July 4 after striking a utility pole in Far Rockaway, police said.

Marcus Joel, 26, of South Ozone Park, was riding his motorcycle on Seagirt Boulevard near Beach 13th Street just after 6 p.m. when the accident occurred, according to authorities.

As he was traveling down the roadway, he hit a curb before crashing into a wooden utility pole, cops said. Joel was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

 

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Suspects steal $4K from Far Rockaway woman after following from Long Island bank: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


A Queens woman lost $4,000 after a group of thieves followed her from a Long Island bank and stole the money from inside her home while she was distracted, police said.

The 38-year-old victim had just left a Bank of America in Lawrence, N.Y. during the afternoon of May 1 when the suspects, two women and two men, started trailing the woman to her Far Rockaway home located around Cedar Hill Road, cops said.

One of the female suspects, then knocked on the woman’s door and told her she dropped some money near her car While the victim and the two female suspects gathered the money from around the vehicle, one of the male suspects went into the her home and took an envelope containing $4,000 from her purse, according to officials.

All four of the suspects then fled in a white Chrysler Pacifica.

Police have released a surveillance photo of one of the female suspects taken at the bank located at 400 Central Ave., and describe her as Hispanic, in her mid-20s and 5 feet 4 inches tall. She was wearing a black North Face jacket and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Free lunches for kids to be distributed at Queens libraries this summer


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY PAULINA TAM

Twenty-two Queens Library locations, in partnership with the city’s Department of Education (DOE), will be distributing free summer meals to children and teens 18 years and under starting June 27 to August 29.

Bagged lunches will be served every Monday through Friday between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. and each will generally include a fresh sandwich, fruit, milk and sometimes a salad, according to library spokeswoman Joanne King.

“The library is an open public space and we want to attract people to come to the library,” King said. “While they’re here they can have free access to other programs. The Queens Library also has a very robust summer reading program and we want to encourage people to get involved with that so they can be better prepared for the academic program in the fall.”

There is no application, qualification or ID necessary to receive a free meal. Children and teens are recommended to arrive early to get lunches, while supplies last. The Queens Library is just one of many agencies collaborating with the DOE, and interested parties could call 311 to get a full list of participating locations.

Listed below are the participating Queens Library locations:

312 Beach 54 St., Arverne

14-01 Astoria Blvd., Astoria

117-11 Sutphin Blvd., Baisley Park

218-13 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights

1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway

41-17 Main St., Flushing

202-05 Hillside Ave., Hollis

89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica

134-26 225th St., Laurelton

98-30 57th Ave., Lefrak City

37-44 21st St., Long Island City

40-20 Broadway (at Steinway Street), Long Island City

92-24 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park

158-21 Jewel Ave., Pomonok (Flushing)

103-34 Lefferts Blvd., Richmond Hill

169-09 137th Ave., Rochdale Village

116-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Park

204-01 Hollis Ave., South Hollis

108-41 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., South Jamaica

43-06 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside

85-41 Forest Pkwy., Woodhaven

54-22 Skillman Ave., Woodside

 

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Four charged with stealing $12.4M meant for special needs preschoolers


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Queens District Attorney’s Office

Four men are accused of not providing the services they promised to preschoolers with special needs after they allegedly stole more than $12 million in government funds meant to help the students.

Those charged are all affiliated with the Island Child Development Center (ICDC), a private nonprofit located in Far Rockaway, which mainly offers services to preschool children in the Orthodox Jewish communities of Far Rockaway, and Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn, according to officials.

The assistant director of ICDC, Rabbi Samuel Hiller, 56, of Far Rockaway; former ICDC executive director Ira Kurman, 52, of Hewlett, N.Y.; Roy Hoffmann, 50, of Woodmere, N.Y., who was hired by ICDC to serve as its independent auditor as required by the state; and Daniel Laniado, 41, of Brooklyn, who was a self-described “investor” in ICDC, are accused of stealing $12.472 million of approximately $27 million in state funds between 2005 and 2012, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

The thefts were uncovered after the state comptroller’s office notified ICDC of a routine audit to be performed in July 2012. When auditors arrived, Kurman had left his position and allegedly took off with his books and records.

The men diverted the money for their own personal use, their relatives, their own business endeavors and to local members of their religious communities, according to officials.

Hiller allegedly diverted around $8 million to several religious schools and camps not affiliated with ICDC.

In addition to criminal charges, the district attorney’s office is seeking the forfeiture of more than $11.472 million in illegally obtained proceeds from those charged. Approximately $1 million has been repaid by two of the schools and camps to which Hiller diverted money and is reflected in that figure, Brown said.

The four were arraigned Tuesday afternoon on a 42-count indictment in which they are variously charged with grand larceny, offering a false instrument for filing, identity theft and falsifying business records. If convicted, they face up to 25 years in prison.

 

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