Tag Archives: guilty

Sen. Malcolm Smith’s lawyer wants federal corruption trial delayed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

State Senator Malcolm Smith wants his federal corruption trial delayed, as he runs for re-election and awaits a judge’s decision to dismiss some charges, his lawyer said.

He and former Councilmember Dan Halloran will return to court Feb. 28.

The pair and four others were accused last April of conspiring with the city’s Republican Party leaders to allow Smith, a Democrat, to run for mayor as a Republican.

Federal prosecutors said Halloran negotiated payoffs and set up meetings between Smith and the county bosses, allegedly pocketing thousands in the process.

Lawyers for the two say the act is not considered bribery under New York state law.

A judge will soon decide on motions to throw out some of the charges, said Smith’s attorney, Gerald Shargel.

“It’s progressing in the normal course,” Shargel said.

Smith’s lawyer also wants the trial delayed until after this year’s Democratic primary to give the southeast Queens politician a fighting chance at re-election.

The primary is expected to take place in September, while the trial is scheduled to begin in June.

Two challengers, attorneys Clyde Vanel and Munir Avery, have already surfaced to unseat Smith.

“I don’t think that he would otherwise have a fair opportunity to present his position to his constituents,” Shargel said.

The lawyer plans to submit a written request to the court Feb. 7, he said.

Meanwhile, another co-defendant in the massive bribery scandal has pleaded guilty.

Joseph Desmaret, the former Spring Valley deputy mayor, confessed to accepting about $10,500 in cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The 56-year-old pleaded guilty Jan. 29 in White Plains federal court and faces up to 40 years in prison. He is slated for sentencing May 22.

Former Bronx Republican chair Joseph “Jay” Savino pleaded guilty in connection to the case last November.

Other co-defendants, former Queens GOP vice chair Vincent Tabone and Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, say they are innocent.

 

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Husband and wife developers plead guilty to illegally selling Elmhurst condos


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

Two notorious Queens developers pleaded guilty last week to flouting a court order and illegally selling condo units, the attorney general said.

Tommy and Alice Huang were permanently barred from selling co-ops and condos in the state after they cheated Flushing home buyers in 1999.

But on June 19, the Huangs admitted to fraudulently selling 33 units in Elmhurst at the Broadway Tower Condominium.

“This egregious and unscrupulous greed on the part of the Huangs and their blatant disregard for the law and the safety of others must stop,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The controversial builders have been a “scourge” in the borough for more than 20 years, lawmakers said. Their “misconduct” in Queens includes illegal and unsafe construction, environmental crimes and building code violations, Schneiderman said.

Tommy Huang was sentenced to five years’ probation in 1999 for damaging the landmarked interior of RKO Keith’s Theater in Flushing.

He was also denied a variance by Community Board 11 last November to complete the construction of four single-family homes in Bayside.

“Frankly, today’s announcement has been a long time coming and is long overdue,” said State Senator Tony Avella, who called Huang the “poster child” for unscrupulous developers.

Tommy Huang, 59, and Alice Huang, 60, pleaded guilty to securities fraud felonies. The pair must return $4.8 million in illegal profits and penalties to the state and surrender their holdings at the Broadway Tower Condominium, the attorney general said.

They can face up to four years in prison if the debts are not repaid, officials said.

Tommy Huang will be barred from New York construction and real estate industries for at least five years. Both husband and wife remain permanently banned from selling securities in the state.

Their son, Henry Huang, is also prohibited. Schneiderman said he helped his parents circumvent their court order and then covered up their crimes by filing false documents with authorities.

Tommy Huang, who was denied a variance to complete construction on these Bayside homes last year, pleaded guilty to felony charges. (THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan)

 

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Former Queens teacher pleads guilty to rape of student


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News

A Queens middle school teacher charged with statutory rape has pleaded guilty and is expected to be sentenced to six months in jail as part of a plea deal, officials said.

Daniel Reilly, 36, admitted to having sex multiple times at his Forest Hills home with a 14-year-old girl he used to teach, said District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“As a teacher and an adult, the defendant was in a position of power to know better,” Brown said. “Children should be able to remain children.”

Reilly, a former sixth grade English teacher at I.S. 237, pleaded guilty to second-degree rape. He was also charged in April with committing a second-degree criminal sexual act, endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree sexual abuse.

Those charges were dropped as part of a plea deal, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said.

The bargain was also meant to spare the victim from testifying.

Reilly, a married father, will be sentenced on July 22 to six months in jail and 10 years’ probation, according to Brown. He faced up to seven years in prison at the time of his arraignment.

He will also have to give up his teaching license, register on the state’s sex offender registry and take a sex offender reform program.

“This case should serve as a clear and unmistakable warning that law enforcement is prepared under any circumstances to apprehend and prosecute sexual predators who betray and defile youngsters,” Brown said.

The relationship between Reilly and the teen, which began last August, surfaced when her sister found sexually explicit text messages on her phone, the district attorney said.

Reilly, who made close to $62,000 a year, resigned last week from the Flushing school where he worked for six years, a Department of Education spokesperson said.

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 52. Northeast wind 7 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42. North wind 5 to 7 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: LIC Bar: Comedy and Trivia Show

Every Thursday night Stephanie Holmes brings you hilarious and creative trivia. With categories like “name that burger” and audio rounds like “more cowbell” and “name that sha-la-la” you’re sure to have an interesting time. Every show features 3 stand up comedians to entertain you while we add up the points. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Jimmy Meng pleads guilty to federal wire fraud charges

Former Queens Assemblymember Jimmy Meng pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to federal wire fraud charges, according to the FBI. Meng, the father to newly elected Congressmember and current Assemblymember Grace Meng, reportedly entered the plea on November 14 at around 2 p.m. Read more: Queens Courier

Mitt Romney’s sour grapes to top donors

Mitt Romney can’t lay off the “47%.” The losing GOP presidential candidate unloaded a cartful of sour grapes on his top donors Wednesday, saying President Obama won because he handed out “big gifts” to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. Read more: Daily News

FBI found classified information on mistress’s computer, gov’t documents in home: sources

The FBI found a substantial amount of classified information improperly secured on the personal computer of disgraced CIA director Gen. David Petraeus’ mistress, sources said yesterday. The files were discovered on a machine removed from Paula Broadwell’s Charlotte, NC, home as the feds investigated her sordid affair with the military commander whose biography she co-wrote. Read more: NY Post

R.A. Dickey wins NL Cy Young Award

In a lost season, R.A. Dickey was one of the Mets’ few bright spots. Responsible for 20 of the team’s 74 wins, Dickey took home the National League’s Cy Young award, beating a tough field that included last year’s winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals. Read more: Queens Courier

Caribbean diplomats return the favor

Caribbean nations are all too familiar with the wrath of hurricanes and the subsequent relief that flows from the U.S. But in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, high-ranking diplomats from a dozen Caribbean countries have pitched in to return the favor to their adopted city. Read more: Daily News

School’s out for jeans and jeggings

Teen fashion staples like jeans and jeggings aren’t simply banned from one Queens high school — wearing them can get students suspended, The Post has learned. The “business casual” code at Maspeth HS, which serves nearly 500 ninth- and 10th-graders, requires polo or collared shirts and sweaters, and slacks, khakis or corduroys — but strictly forbids the kids from donning jeans, tights, jeggings or even bright-colored pants. Read more: NY Post

Flushing High School principal arrested for possession of meth (UPDATED)


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Melissa Chan

Carl Hudson, principal of Flushing High School, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance after cops say they found a ziplock bag full of methamphetamine and a glass pipe in his car.

The 33-year-old city schools employee was taken into custody on July 17 in front of 141-54 Northern Boulevard — less than half a mile away from the high school —  at 8:35 p.m., according to authorities.

Police said they uncovered one ziplock bag full of meth in a cup holder in the center console of Hudson’s car during a routine traffic stop. Soon after, Hudson gave cops permission to search his trunk, where they then found a glass pipe, according to the district attorney’s office.

Hudson pled guilty to disorderly conduct when he was arraigned last night, the district attorney’s office said. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge, which means his case will be dismissed after a year if he stays out of trouble.

An official at the district attorney’s office said Hudson will not be subjected to a fine and since he pled guilty to a violation, which is a non-criminal offense, he will not have a criminal record.

Hudson, a decade-long city schools employee, was already set to be replaced by Magdalen Radovich at the new Rupert B. Thomas Academy at the Flushing Campus this September if Turnaround plans went through.

He had been serving in an administrative capacity, education officials said, and will continue with administrative duties.

“I was pretty shocked when I found out. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy to get into trouble,” said Flushing High School student David Beranger, 16. “He was a good principal. He’s always showing people what to do. He’s not a laid back person. He’s always trying to enforce a good type of way for the school.”

Hudson, who officials say currently makes $133,834 a year, was appointed principal of Flushing High in March 2011.

Multiple calls made to a number listed as Hudson’s did not go through.

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

6 months for yeshiva perv

A yeshiva student admitted yesterday to inappropriately touching two 8-year-old girls to whom he was giving private religious instruction. Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter sentenced Hillel Selznicek, 25, to six months in prison, calling him a “wolf in sheep’s clothing’’ who “betrayed their trust in the most disgusting way.’’

Read More: New York Post

 

Weiner a jerk before crotchgate, craved media attention: book

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner was behaving like a jerk long before the world got a glimpse of his crotch. A new book offering an inside look at the US House of Representatives depicts Weiner as a desperately ambitious loudmouth who berated his staff and would do or say anything for TV airtime. Weiner “would enter his office in the Rayburn Building screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Why the f–k am I not on MSNBC?!’” journalist Robert Draper wrote in “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the US House of Representatives.” Read More: New York Post

 

Rapper guilty in ’93 slay

Former Bad Boy rapper G. Dep was convicted yesterday of a decades-old murder — a cold-case East Harlem shooting that was solved only when he walked into a station house two years ago and turned himself in, to square himself with God. The 37-year-old father of three now faces the mandatory minimum sentence for murder — 15 years. “I told him to not regret his decision and that God won’t abandon him,” said his lawyer, Anthony Ricco. “Trevell Coleman is a very courageous person,” he added, using the rapper’s given name. Read More: New York Post


Delta Flight With Blown Tire Able To Land Safely At JFK

John F. Kennedy International Airport had a nerve-wracking scene Wednesday as a Delta flight from Paris with a blown tire tried to land. A Delta spokesman says Flight 185 to New York blew the tire while taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. The crew was not sure if the tire was blown when the plane was airborne. The spokesman said air traffic controllers with binoculars were able to see the deflated tire during a fly-by before the landing at JFK. Tire debris was also found on the runway. Read More: NY1

 

NYPD’s Transit Patrol Dogs Now Train In Long Island City

The NYPD’s Transit K9 Unit has moved to Long Island City, Queens from Downtown Brooklyn, and MTA officials say part of the reason is so the new facility can be in the center of the city’s mass transit system. Read More: NY1

 

Sudan diplomat’s wife is shot, wounded by stray bullet in Queens

The wife of a Sudanese diplomat was struck by a stray bullet in Queens while she was with two of her young children, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday. The tots miraculously escaped injury. The violence unfolded as Mawahad Elbahi, 31, was carrying her year-old son and her 3-year-old daughter at her side on 31st Drive in Astoria Tuesday afternoon. They were waiting for her 5-year-old son to be dropped off by his school bus when bullets started to fly. Read More: Daily News

 

Queens kindergarten waiting lists up at zoned schools

The number of incoming Queens kindergartners who were wait-listed to get into their zoned public schools rose this year, according to city data. About 950 of the borough’s prospective kindergartners were on waiting lists. The longest in the borough was at Public School 307 in Corona where 109 were on the list — making it the city’s third-largest wait. The number of new Queens kindergartners waiting for seats is up roughly 7% over last year. Read More: Daily News

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

JFK pilot rants: ‘Say your prayers . . . We’re all going down!’

A veteran JetBlue pilot terrorized a flight from JFK to Las Vegas yesterday and had to be subdued by passengers who tied him up with their own belts as he ranted about al Qaeda and bombs. “Say your prayers . . . We’re all going down!” wild-eyed Capt. Clayton Osbon screamed to frightened travelers, who couldn’t believe the man who had been flying their Airbus A320 had suddenly turned into a raving lunatic. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop sex fiend found guilty

The drunken, off-duty cop who pulled his service weapon on a school teacher in a horrific, random sex attack in upper Manhattan is facing life in prison after a jury found him guilty yesterday of three counts of predatory sexual assault.Michael Pena also was convicted of sexually violating the young woman — a stranger who had been en route to her first day working as a second-grade teacher when the boozed-up cop pulled her into an Inwood back yard and told her he’d shoot her in the face if she screamed or opened her eyes. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Being a dad’ doesn’t have to be so risky

Joba Chamberlain knows there is a lesson to be learned here, but it’s not about changing and trying to play it safe and be something you are not as a person, a pitcher or most importantly, a father. Asked last night the lesson learned from his terrible trampoline accident Thursday, which produced a grotesque right ankle/foot injury as Chamberlain was on an outing with his 5-year-old son Karter, the Yankees right-hander answered: “I will never question being a father.” Read More: New York Post

 

Slain teen’s parents tell Congress: Trayvon was your son, too
The grieving parents of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin took their emotional pleas for justice to Capitol Hill yesterday, earning a dignified round of applause from lawmakers and hundreds of spectators. “Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon was your son,” Martin’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, told a congressional panel, organized by the House Judiciary Committee, on racial profiling and controversial “stand your ground” laws. Read More: New York Post

 

Hit on cop shocked killer

A coldblooded killer told in chilling detail yesterday how he and another mob hit man calmly walked up to an NYPD officer — marked for death because he’d married a Mafia bigwig’s ex-wife — and gunned him down outside his Brooklyn house nearly 15 years ago. “What’s up?” housing cop Ralph Dols asked the two men as they approached him on Aug. 25, 1997, one of the killers, mob rat Dino “Big Dino” Calabro, told rapt jurors in Brooklyn federal court yesterday. Read More: New York Post

‘Window’ mom put up a fight

The brave Queens mother who was thrown out of her apartment window by a pair of thugs valiantly tried to fight off the perps in a bid to protect her children, one of her daughters revealed yesterday. Amalia Vargas was sweeping the steps outside her Hollis home Monday when the two bandits, claiming to be plumbers, pushed her inside her 202nd Street home and pulled her by her hair to her second-floor apartment. Read More: New York Post

Liu’s crapshoot

Embattled Comptroller John Liu told key supporters that he definitely won’t seek re-election next year to remain the city’s chief financial officer, sources said. But Liu kept the door ajar for a long-shot mayoral run, despite a federal probe of his campaign fund-raising operation, which has damaged his political standing. “I’m going big — or I’m going home,” Liu told top allies, according to sources privy to the conversations. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Queens super guilty on terror rap

A former Queens building super faces 75 years in jail after being convicted yesterday of plotting to sell weapons to Hezbollah terrorists. Patrick Nayyar, 48, showed no emotion as jurors found him guilty on all counts after about two hours of deliberations in Manhattan federal court. Court-appointed defense lawyer Sam Talkin said he was “disappointed” with the verdict and said Nayyar would appeal. Read More: New York Post

Person In Police Custody In Connection With Fatal Subway Brawl

Police said Tuesday they have someone in custody in connection with a fight last week at a Brooklyn subway station that left another man dead. By late Tuesday, no arrests had been made, and police had not released the name of the suspect. Joshua Basin, 20, got into a fight with a drunken man on Friday night. The two fought at the L train stop at Bedford Avenue and both men wound up falling on the tracks. Read More: NY1

 

Priest sits beside Tommy Gioeli’s wife Maureen during racketeering and murder trial of Colombo gangsters

The Colombo boss’s family priest appears to have taken a vow of silence. Meet “Father Peter,” possibly the only man of the cloth who clams up when asked his name. Over the past week, he has made on-and-off appearances at the racketeering and murder trial of gangsters Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli and Dino (Little Dino) Saracino. When he attends, Father Peter sits in the front row next to Gioeli’s wife, Maureen, giving jurors a clear view of his black suit and priest collar. Read More: Daily News

Ex-Rutgers student Dharun Ravi found guilty in webcam spy case


| jlane@queenscourier.com

A former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate’s love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in a case that exploded into the headlines when the victim of the snooping committed suicide. Twenty-year-old Dharun Ravi could face 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced. He shook his head slightly after the verdicts were read. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi and that he did it — and told others about it — because of a bias against gays.

Read more on the verdict at NJ.com

Former hospital exec Robert Aquino pleads guilty to bribery


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A current of corruption and conspiracy came crashing down after former Queens hospital executive Robert Aquino pleaded guilty to bribing former State Senator Carl Kruger.

According to the FBI, Aquino — the former CEO of the now defunct Parkway Hospital — confessed on Tuesday, January 3 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

According to the indictment, the complaint and statements made during the plea proceeding in Manhattan federal court, Aquino made Parkway pay $60,000 to Adex Management Inc. — a company Kruger had interests in — when the hospital was slated to close in 2008.

Adex then paid half of that money to Olympian Strategic Development Corp. — a consulting company controlled by Michael Turano, who had a close relationship with Kruger — as alleged in the complaint.

Aquino admitted in court that he understood Kruger would undertake official action in his capacity as a member of the New York State Senate to help keep Parkway open in exchange for making payments to Adex.

“Robert Aquino was all too willing to make sure a bribe was paid to preserve his job as CEO of a hospital,” said Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. “Like others in this case, he chose to fight his battle with money under the table rather than to play by the rules.”

Aquino, 54, of Glen Head, Long Island, faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. He will be sentenced on May 3.

Aquino was initially charged on March 10, 2011, along with seven others, including Kruger, Turano, Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist, Solomon Kalish, the owner of Adex, David Rosen, the former CEO of MediSys Health Network, real estate developer Aaron Malinsky and Assemblymember William Boyland, Jr.

Kruger pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery on December 20, 2011, while Turano pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. Kruger and Turano are scheduled to be sentenced on April 26.

Vigil held for Barbara Sheehan


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Vigil

Howard Beach residents have sent a clear message to Barbara Sheehan – “you are not alone.”

Over 100 people attended a vigil held at Ave Maria Catholic Academy, located at 158-20 101st Street, on Sunday, October 16 to express support for their neighbor. Barbara is currently in prison awaiting sentencing after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree for the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, on the morning of February 18, 2008.

The overwhelming opinion among the crowd was that Barbara and her family had suffered enough at the hands of Raymond and that they deserve to be reunited.

“I don’t think she should be in jail; not at all,” said Christine Otoole, a friend of Barbara’s. “The poor woman was abused for 18 years. It’s very easy for someone to say that she should’ve reported it, but not easy to do when you fear for your life. I’ve never been abused but I can just imagine what the poor woman went through. I’m married to a police officer and he never has his gun out. So why was [Raymond’s] gun out? That guy was obviously a psychopath.”

Deacon Alex Breviario of Our Lady of Grace spoke at the vigil, preaching faith and cooperation.

“Our rule is not to judge, but to support others in their time of need. That’s why we are here tonight for Barbara and her family,” said Breviario.

Barbara, who faced 25 years to life in prison before being found not guilty of murder, could serve between two-and-a-quarter to 15 years behind bars depending on sentencing. Although the usual minimum sentence for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree is three-and-a-half years, Barbara faces a reduced minimum sentence of two-and-a-quarter years due to the domestic abuse she suffered.

The 50-year-old mother of two surrendered to authorities on October 12, but her attorney, Niall MacGiollabhui, says an appeal of the conviction is imminent.

MacGiollabhui has submitted an application to the appellate division to allow Barbara to remain on bail pending her sentencing and the results of the appeal. As of press time, Justice Barry Kron had yet to make a decision regarding bail.

Members of the Sheehan family also attended the vigil and expressed gratitude for the encouragement provided to Barbara.

“I just want to thank everybody for their support during the last three-and-a-half years for what we’ve been going through, since everybody was there for us,” said Michael Henry, Barbara’s father. “We appreciate it and we love every single one of you.”

— Additional reporting by Nargas Karimi