Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania man busted at JFK with loaded gun, metal knuckles


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of TSA

A Pennsylvania man is facing some serious prison time after he was caught at John F. Kennedy International Airport trying to board a plane with a loaded handgun and a martial arts weapon.

Richard Forti, 55 of Annville, in Central Pennsylvania, was passing through security on his way to Los Angeles Wednesday morning when he was busted with the weapons, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and District Attorney Richard Brown.

As he passed through airport security, Forti removed his vest and placed it in a bin to go on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed. It was at that point that a TSA officer saw the .32 caliber gun, which was loaded with five rounds, in the pocket of the vest, the TSA said. Forti also allegedly had a cat eye-knuckles martial arts weapon with him that showed up on the TSA x-ray machine.

Port Authority police then confiscated the weapons and arrested Forti, the TSA said.

At the time of his arrest, Forti allegedly told police “The vest is mine and I put the gun in there for protection.  Those are my knuckles.  I put them in my vest,” according to Brown.

“It is beyond comprehension why intelligent people would think that it is okay to board an airplane with a loaded gun on their person,” Brown said.

Forti is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on numerous charges of criminal possession of a weapon, prosecutors said.  If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

 

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Middle Village scout troop needs members


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Charles Krzewski

The St. Margaret’s Boy Scout Troop 119 of Middle Village was once a bustling group filled with dozens of youngsters eager to learn about the outdoors.

But membership in the nearly 70-year-old troop has declined after years of competing for attention with computers, video games and now, mobile devices.

About two decades ago there were more than 35 members, but now with just 14 scouts, the group is seeking new members to teach the importance of nature and charity.

“Outdoor skills are very important,” said Charles Krzewski, the troop committee chair. “If they don’t learn this stuff they’re never going to have an appreciation for the outdoors. And you don’t want people going out to wreck it.”

The boy scout troop teaches boys from ages 10 to 18 how to start fires and build camps. They go on hiking and camping trips upstate and in New Jersey, Staten Island and Pennsylvania.

The troop also teaches the boys sports such as basketball, dodgeball, skiing, fishing, rafting, canoeing and rock climbing, among others.

But, in addition to the fun, the scouting group focuses on charity. They paint over graffiti and do community clean-up. Recently, the scouts also collected pies, snacks, canned food and turkeys, and donated them to local disadvantaged families for Thanksgiving.

Following the holidays, the scouts will collect food to donate to St. Margaret’s Roman Catholic Church in Middle Village, which will give it to people in need.

“Today’s kids are all concerned about self,” Krzewski said. “We want to have a good time, but we stress ‘you must give back.’ It lets them know that there is more out there than just themselves.”

Krzewski asks parents interested in signing their children up for the Scout Troop 119 to contact him at 718-894-4099.

 

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Resorts World revenue up while neighboring casinos down


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Cha-ching.

Revenue and money played at Resorts World Casino New York City is on the rise compared to a year ago, while neighboring gaming zones are seeing a drop.

In January and February 2013, the Racino had an 11-percent tax revenue increase and a 25-percent increase in amount played from the same time last year — the first full year Resorts World has been able to produce in its now 15 months of business. The combined months had $2.4 billion played, leading to $116 million in total revenue.

In return, the Racino sent almost $80 million back to the state — as always, earmarked for education and the racing industry.

The spike in numbers also comes as a surprise with a shorter February this year, as 2012 was a leap year with a 29-day month.

“Resorts World Casino New York City’s model has continued to maximize gaming revenue for New York State in a manner that has not been replicated by any other facility in the nation in our nearly year and a half of operation,” said president Michael Speller in a statement. “2013 is shaping up to be another record setting year, and we are proud to contribute this astonishing amount of revenue towards the education of New York’s students.” Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s slot revenue hot streak might be over. For February, revenue for the state’s 11 casinos was down more than 9 percent from last year — something Resorts World proponents say is in part thanks to New York gamblers staying home to bet.

Last February, there were only 10 operating casinos in the Keystone State — Valley Forge Casino Resort opened last March — and those, compared to last year, are down a combined 11.5 percent.

The success at Resorts World has proponents again saying the Racino should have full gaming, if voters approve an amendment for it this November.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said the upswing for Resorts World is just another component for the Racino to get full gaming – should voters approve a state amendment for it this November.

“New records set by Resorts World is further example that Genting is the right partner and Aqueduct is the right location for a larger facility and full, enhanced gaming,” he said. “We’ve got to give them the tools to continue to be successful.”

 

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Shadows are no-shows, groundhogs predict early spring


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Twitter/@ChrisCQuinn

Spring is coming early if the city’s most famous marmot has predicted correctly.

Groundhog Chuck in Staten Island and Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania did not see their shadows this morning.

City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn celebrated at the city’s Groundhog Day festivities in Staten Island after the tiny rodent predicted the end of winter.

Shadows were not the only shy ones Saturday morning. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was also absent.

Queens residents among those busted in prostitution, money laundering ring


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Eleven Queens residents were indicted — and two human trafficking victims in Manhattan were saved — after authorities busted a $7 million prostitution-based money laundering ring that spanned the tri-state area, the attorney general said.

A 16-month joint agency investigation led to the 180-count indictment of advertising corporation Somad Enterprises, Inc. and 19 individuals, who allegedly engaged in enterprise corruption and a variety of crimes, including money laundering, falsifying business records, narcotics sales and prostitution, the attorney general said.

“This investigation led to the arrests of multiple individuals who were part of a criminal enterprise that made millions of dollars by profiting off the exploitation of women,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “The message we are sending is clear. These crimes will not be tolerated in the state of New York.”

Manhattan-based Somad Enterprises is accused of being a front for the large prostitution and narcotics distribution ring, according to the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the NYPD.

The company, which authorities say allegedly posed as a legitimate business, “profited handsomely” in excess of $3 million by working with prostitution businesses to promote sex services through online, print and cable television sources.

Three “johns,” including a former guidance counselor and dean at Scarsdale High School, have already been arrested, the attorney general said.

Five of the 11 arrested Queens individuals — who each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted — hail from Flushing, authorities said. The others are from Forest Hills, Bayside, Whitestone, Oakland Gardens, Fresh Meadows and Jamaica.

The two trafficking victims have been brought to a safe haven, said the attorney general.

Calls to Somad Enterprises went unreturned as of press time.

 

Racino robber faces 25 years


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Resorts World

Prosecutors did their own snatch and grab.

The suspect nabbed for robbing Resorts World Casino New York City in late June waived his extradition rights on Wednesday, August 1, and will be moved to Queens from Monroe County, Pennsylvania, officials said.

Kevin Lides, 23, of Briarwood, had been named as the culprit by the district attorney’s office after the note he passed to a teller — demanding cash and threatening the teller’s life — was found to have his fingerprints. There was also surveillance video placing the suspect in the casino at the time of the robbery.

For security reasons, it has not been announced when Lides will be moved back to Queens, officials said.

Should Lides be convicted for taking around $63,000 in cash from the casino, he could face up to 25 years in prison, according to the DA’s office.

The arrest was applauded by local politicians and Resorts World officials, highlighting the Racino’s surveillance system and its cooperation with the 106th Precinct as pivotal to Lides’ capture.

“This arrest proves that our surveillance system is working,” said Resorts World spokesperson Stefan Friedman. “Through close collaboration with the NYPD and the information revealed on our state-of-the-art on-site surveillance technology, we were able to assist the police in apprehending the suspect.”

“I believe that the safety and security of the visitors to Resorts World should always be a high priority,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who pushed for better security in the wake of the robbery. “I appreciate all the efforts of law enforcement involved in this arrest; I am most grateful and proud of the work done by our 106th Precinct and its detectives.”