Tag Archives: Long Island

St. Albans dad, two children killed in fiery accident on Long Island


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Updated July 14, 12:35 p.m.

A St. Albans family was shattered early on Sunday morning after a father and two children were killed in a two-car crash involving an alleged drunk driver on a Long Island roadway, authorities reported.

The New York State Police said that Ancio Ostane along with his two children, Andy and Sephora Ostane, died in the fiery accident on the Southern State Parkway in Bay Shore on July 12. Wife and mother Lucnie Bouaz-Ostane managed to escape from the wreckage with minor injuries.

According to the New York State Police, the accident occurred on the westbound lanes of the parkway near Exit 41 (Bay Shore Road) at about 1:30 a.m. Reportedly, the Ostane family was riding in a 2005 Toyota heading home from a family party in Central Islip.

A short distance after the exit, police said, a 2008 BMW operated by O’Neil Sharpe of Rockville Centre slammed into the rear of the Toyota, causing the Toyota to burst into flames. Bouaz-Ostane, who was riding in the front passenger seat, was able to get out, but Ancio Ostane and their children were reportedly trapped in their seats.

Sharpe allegedly did not stop and fled from the location following the crash, police said.

State police and paramedics rushed to the scene. Ancio Ostane along with Andy and Sephora, ages 8 and 4, respectively, were pronounced dead. Bouaz-Ostane was treated and released at South Side Hospital.

Detectives picked up Sharpe at his Rockville Centre residence later on Sunday and charged him with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.

Reportedly, a second individual — identified as Demetri Stewart, 23, of Cambria Heights — was also arrested for allegedly assisting Sharpe in fleeing after the accident.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Reporter from LIC writes book on inside look at New York’s ongoing gang war


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Steve Pfost

Street gangs have been fighting against each other for years in New York, and now one Long Island City author is sharing an inside look at the ongoing war between these gangs in his new book.

Kevin Deutsch, a crime reporter for Newsday for the past three years, is the author behind “The Triangle: A Year on the Ground with New York’s Bloods and Crips,” which tells of the war between the two street gangs, centered around a Long Island intersection.

Deutsch first encountered members of the Bloods and Crips as a crime reporter for the NY Daily News and would see them battle it out in court rooms. He became interested in the subculture of the gangs and later learned from a source about the gang war going on between the two groups.

After taking a drive out to Hempstead, Long Island, he encountered what he called “an open-air, thriving drug market” where the two gangs fought over the territory.

Once Deutsch became a reporter Newsday, one of his first stories was on the ongoing war at the Linden Triangle, which later inspired the name of his book.

“I had never really thought much about doing a book until I encountered the story on the gangs,” Deutsch said.

After writing the article for Newsday, Deutsch had so much information left over that he felt he needed to tell the full story. That’s when he decided to put together the book.

Courtesy of Kevin Deutsch

Courtesy of Kevin Deutsch

“The story needed to be told,” he said. “I felt it was a story that no one had told before of young men living lives so far removed from what most of us understand American lives to be.”

The book, which took Deutsch a year of on-site reporting in 2012 and was released last December, follows members of the two gangs, anti-violence activists who would go on prayer marches to try to stop the violence, and police.

As he created one of the first inside accounts of this ongoing gang war, Deutsch had to build relationships with gang members from both sides in order to truly understand everything behind the conflict.

“I had to spend a lot of time assuring them that I had no skin in this game. I was not rooting for anyone. I was an objective observer here to chronicle their lives,” he said.

During his interaction with gang members, he learned how these young men lived in a world surrounded by death, drugs and rape, feeling that this was the only option for them.

“It’s easy to get into a gang but it’s so hard to get out, and most of the guys get out in a box or they get out in a cell,” Deutsch said. “It’s so engraved in the atmosphere of these neighborhoods that it’s a cycle impossible to break.”

Although Deutsch built relationships with a large number of members from both sides of the gangs, he added that there were others who questioned his motives and what he was doing.

In one instance one gang member, who had been high on drugs, got paranoid and believed Deutsch was an undercover cop. This led the young man to take out a gun and point it at Deutsch’s face. Another gang member had to talk the other down to put the gun away, and the gun-wielding member later apologized to Kevin.

Although he was face-to-face with danger, Deutsch said that that moment served as an eye-opening experience to the threat and lifestyle the gang members have to face each day.

“They could tell me all day what it is like, but until I had that gun to my face I didn’t really understand what these kids’ lives are really like,” he said. “I just got a little taste of what they go through every day.”

Through his research for the book, Deutsch said that in 2012 about 56 people were shot in Long Island and the five boroughs in gang-related incidents. He added that in Queens, there is a large Bloods and Crips presence in the Rockaways.

At the end of the year of investigating and after putting the book together, Deutsch handed out copies of the book to members of both gangs. Some responses were really positive, because they felt their stories were finally being told, while others were upset because they felt the other side was being portrayed better.

However, Deutsch said he tried to be as objective as possible when writing the book and tried to cover the gang war just like a war correspondent would.

“They were glad that their story was finally told because they felt America was ignoring them,” he said. “They felt that they were living in a war zone right here in America and no one cared about them.”

Deutsch added that he hopes the book also helps readers understand that gang violence is occurring throughout the nation and is prevalent to in so many communities, even if they don’t necessarily see it.

“The Triangle: A Year on the Ground with New York’s Bloods and Crips” is available at bookstores and through Amazon.

Deutsch will be doing a reading of the book at The Astoria Bookshop, located at 31-29 31st St., on June 4 at 7 p.m.

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Long Island man dies after being struck by car near JFK Airport


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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A Long Island man who was hit by a minivan on North Conduit Avenue near JFK Airport earlier this month has died, police said Tuesday.

The 2011 Toyota Sienna was heading westbound on North Conduit Avenue just before midnight on Feb. 4 when it struck Marco Orellana near Cranston Street. After hitting Orellana, the driver then rear-ended an unoccupied, parked SUV with a trailer attached.

Orellana, a 48-year-old Bellmore resident, was taken to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition, but succumbed to his injuries on Feb. 11.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Arrest made in 2012 Queens murder of Long Island man


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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An arrest has been made more than two years after the shooting death of a 22-year-old Long Island man in Jamaica, police said.

Christian Euton was gunned down at 156th Street and 111th Avenue just after 11 p.m. on June 13, 2012, cops said.

The Valley Stream resident and LaGuardia Community College student had gotten out of his car to check for damage after running over a pothole when he was shot, relatives and police told Newsday at the time. His brother, who was in the car, told family that he saw two groups arguing nearby. One man in the group opened fire, and his brother was struck twice in the torso.

Lamell Ford, 33, of Jamaica, has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in Euton’s death, police said.

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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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Queens teen found shot to death in Long Island


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Suffolk County Police Department

A Queens teenager was discovered fatally shot in a Long Island park Friday afternoon, police said.

The body of Jonathan A. Graff, 17, was found by a man who was walking his dog in Spur Drive Park in Bay Shore at about 4:15 p.m., according to authorities.

He had been shot in the head, reports said.

Graff, who lived in Kew Gardens, was last seen Thursday in Jamaica near the Long Island Rail Road station, according to Newsday.

Police are investigating his death as a homicide.

Graff’s body was taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, and authorities are reportedly awaiting the results to determine how many times he was shot.

Anyone with information on the incident or who may have seen Graff before the shooting is asked to call Suffolk County Police detectives at 631-852-6392 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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First Miss Queens Pageant to be held in Long Island City


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Next year Miss America might be from Queens.

For the first time, the borough will have an official Miss America preliminary competition, called the Miss Queens Pageant, held on Oct. 12 at RESOBOX located at 41-26 27th St. in Long Island City.

The inaugural event, presented by the Miss Queens Scholarship Organization, is open to women, between 17 and 24 years old, who live, work or go to college in Queens and Long Island. The winner of the pageant will go on to compete for the title of Miss New York in spring 2015.

The pageant is divided into talent, interview, onstage and swimsuit/fitness portions. Potential contestants still have until Sept. 30 to sign up for the pageant.

“It’s something that the community really wanted,” said Shekinah Monee, executive director of the Miss Queens Scholarship Organization. “To have a borough that never had their own pageant, it was important to bring that to them, to let them have that sense of pride as well.”

Through the pageant, the newly formed Miss Queens Scholarship Organization will award scholarships to the women for undergraduate and graduate school, a tradition first started by the Miss America Organization, according to Monee.

As part of qualifying as a contestant, each young woman must raise at least $100 for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which are dedicated to raising funds and awareness to help enhance medical facilities and health care for sick and injured children.

Tickets for the Miss Queens Pageant are $15 prior to the show and $18 at the door.

For more information visit www.missqueensorg.wix.com/missqueensorg.

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Queens man rented out homes he didn’t own on Craigslist: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Nassau County Police Department

A Queens man pocketed more than $5,000 after he rented out two Long Island residences on Craigslist without the owners’ permission, police said.

Terrell Hill, 31, of Jamaica, posted an ad on Craigslist, pretending to be the homeowner of a Valley Stream residence, and rented the place to two women, authorities said. He charged the pair $1,500 as a down payment, but when the rightful homeowner came to check on the residence on Wednesday and found the women, the cops were called.

The same day, Hill went to the home to collect more money from the renters and was arrested.

Police said they later discovered Hill also rented another unoccupied residence, a home in Elmont, to a woman on Aug. 1. Again, he pretended to be the homeowner, and collected $3,800 from the renter.

Hill has been charged with grand larceny and burglary.

Anyone who believes they may have also been victimized by Hill should call 516-573-6453.

 

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Howard Beach man sold 12 stolen vehicles for scrap metal: DA


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A Howard Beach man was busted for allegedly selling a dozen stolen vehicles to Long Island scrap yards and pocketing thousands of dollars in return.

“As the price of scrap metal increases, thieves are growing more aggressive and taking advantage of a quirk in the law which allows them to dispose of vehicles eight years or older without proof of title, District Attorney Richard Brown said. “They simply show their driver’s license at the scrap yard, fill out a DMV form stating that they are the delivery agent or the vehicle’s owner and leave with cash in their pocket – and their victims without a ride.”

John M. Brew, 35, is accused of pawning off 12 vehicles to Universal Scrap Processes and Gershow Recycling facilities on Long Island between February 4 and April 7 of this year.

He was allegedly paid $600 to $750 per vehicle, which would each then be crushed.

Brew was able to sell the vehicles by showing a DMV form signed by him that listed himself as the vehicle owner, along with a New York State driver’s license, Brown said. He sometimes would also trick the scrap yards into thinking he had the vehicle’s key by allegedly saying the ignition was broken and placing a fake key in the ignition.

The stolen vehicles Brew sold included two Dodge Caravans, model years 1993 and 1995, and 10 Ford Econoline Vans with the model years, ranging from 1998 through 2006, according to the district attorney.

Brew was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Friday on charges of grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, falsifying business records and unauthorized use of a vehicle, prosecutors said. He faces faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

 

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Ex-bookkeeper busted for embezzling $485K from Queens special needs school


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A woman has been charged for embezzling from the Springfield Gardens special needs school where she worked as a bookkeeper for more than a decade, District Attorney Richard Brown said Thursday.

Donna Joyce, a 58-year-old Long Island resident, is accused of stealing more than $485,000 from the Martin De Porres School, which moved to Elmont, Long Island in 2012.

Joyce worked as a bookkeeper at Martin De Porres from 2001 to 2012, and, as part of her job, issued and signed checks, and made entries in the school’s business records, according to Brown.

After discovering financial irregularities in the school’s finance office, Martin De Porres Executive Director Edward Dana said he fired Joyce and notified authorities.

“We also acted quickly to replace the entire financial staff and implement strict new financial controls. Moving forward, we have full confidence in the integrity of our new system,” he said.

From January 2007 to August 2012, Joyce used funds meant for school expenses to pay personal expenses, such as her credit card accounts, the district attorney said. She allegedly embezzled the money by making false entries in the school’s business records to make it seem like the checks were being issued for school expenses.

“As a nonprofit organization, the Martin De Porres School relies heavily on government aid and private donations to provide tuition-free education to scores of children from grade two through grade eleven,” Brown said. “In an atmosphere of such giving, it is disheartening to see someone, such as the defendant, allegedly use her position of fiscal responsibility to siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars in school funds for her own personal use.”

Joyce is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records, according to prosecutors. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Becoming partly cloudy after some morning light rain. Fog early. High 66. Winds SW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy skies. Low 41. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: New York Meets Istanbul – An Exhibition of Charcoal Drawings

Meliksah Soyturk’s “New York Meets Istanbul” is an exhibition which brings the above words to life…. transporting us, through the Artist’s eye, through time and space, to another Continent. Through his work, he is bringing together two of the most wonderful cities in the world and two vastly different, yet undeniably similar cultures. At Flushing Town Hall through Sunday, April 13. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens cab driver arrested in West Hempstead hit and run

A cab driver from Queens is under arrest and facing charges in connection with a hit and run on Long Island. Read more: ABC New York

Sen. Smith’s fraud and bribery trial set for June

A federal judge on Monday ordered state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s fraud and bribery trial to begin June 2, quietly rejecting the powerful Queens Democrat’s bid to push the date back a few months so he could smoothly seek re-election. Read more: New York Post

EXCLUSIVE: Average woman in the city earns 82 cents for man’s dollar, controller study shows

It’s still a man’s world — even in progressive New York City. Read more: New York Daily News

City Council plans 10 percent raise in its budget

Belt-tightening is out and free spending is in at the City Council, which plans to increase its own budget by more than 10 percent in a single year — six times the rate of inflation. Read more: New York Post

NTSB: Engineer in fatal Metro-North derailment has ‘severe obstructive sleep apnea’

Federal investigators have found that the engineer at the controls of the Metro-North train that derailed and left four people dead and dozens more injured has a serious sleep disorder. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Cops seek information in 2010 Jamaica murder of customs officer


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Police are renewing calls for help in solving the 2010 murder of an off-duty U.S. customs officer who was fatally shot in Jamaica.

Maurice Gordon, 33, had just returned home from a Long Island nightclub in the early morning of June 21, 2010 when he was killed, officials said.

The Elmont, Long Island resident was standing with another person near 118th Avenue, reportedly in front of his mother’s home, when a black SUV pulled up, cops said.

Three men inside the car then allegedly began to shoot at the pair. Gordon, who had his service weapon on him, exchanged gunfire with the shooters, and the suspects fled in an unknown direction, police said.

Gordon was shot once on the right side of his chest and was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later, according to authorities.

Following the murder, cops released a sketch of one of the alleged shooters. He is described as black, 28 to 32 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, with a thin build and black hair.

There is a $22,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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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Queens-born Oheka Castle owner shot by masked gunman: reports


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Gary Melius was shot in the head by a masked gunman in the parking lot of his lavish Long Island castle Monday afternoon, according to published reports.

The 69-year-old, who was born in Jackson Heights, was undergoing surgery at a local hospital as of the late afternoon, the New York Times reported.

Police said the gunman is still at large and the shooting does not appear to be random, according to reports.

Melius, who made his money in real estate, lives on the Huntington property, called Oheka Castle, but utilizes it as a high-end hotel and events facility, the Times said.

A generous donor to both the Democratic and Republican parties, Melius also likes to use the castle as a “hangout” for political brokers, according to reports.

 

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Missing Queens woman’s body washes up on Gilgo Beach


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The body of a Queens woman who went missing in March washed ashore a Long Island beach Monday night, police said.

Natasha Jugo, 31, of Queens Village, vanished March 16. Cops found her personal belongings and 2009 Toyota Prius abandoned one day later on Gilgo Beach.

Her body washed up on the beach on June 24, a Suffolk County police spokesperson said.

The case is said to have no ties to the 2010-2011 suspected Gilgo Beach serial killings.

 

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NYC area prepares for major snow storm


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

For the first time this winter, the city is getting ready for a potentially powerful snow storm.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the flakes should start falling early Friday morning and the bad weather will continue through Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the NWS  issued a winter storm watch for all of New York City and other parts of the tri-state area, but by the afternoon had changed it to a blizzard warning with 10 to 14 inches of snow expected.

In addition to snow, the storm will bring powerful winds at 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph, and a mixture of rain and sleet, particularly on Friday, making for slippery conditions and possible power outages.

There is also a coastal flooding watch for western Long Island Sound and the Twin Forks of Long Island, said the NWS.

At a briefing on the city’s storm preparations this morning Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the forecasts may be exaggerating the amount of snow, but you never know.

Bracing for the worst case scenario, the city is ready with more than 250,000 tons of salt, 350 salt spreaders and plows for 1,800 sanitation trucks, said the mayor.

City residents can track the progress of the Department of Sanitation‘s clearing operations for their specific street online.

Con Ed also said it is preparing for the storm and any outages it may cause.

To report any outages and downed power lines, or to check service restoration status, customers can visit  www.coned.com/ReportOutage or call -800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

 

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