Tag Archives: Richard Brown

Queens homeless man steals identity of 66-year-old who gave him shelter

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

It was a good deed that backfired.

A 26-year-old homeless man was charged Friday for stealing the identity of an elderly man, who welcomed him into his home, and then going on a $50,000 shopping spree, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Christian Albines, whose last known address was on Woodhaven Boulevard, was arraigned on Sept. 25 on charges of grand larceny, identity theft, forgery, possession of a forged instrument and scheme to defraud. Bail was set at $75,000 and he was ordered to return to court on Oct. 1.

According to prosecutors, the 26-year-old had no place to live in November 2011 when the elderly victim, who was acquainted with Albines’ family, welcomed him into his home.

A month later, the 66-year-old retired from his longtime job at Flushing Hospital. He had paid off all his credit cards, but failed to close them out and then moved back to his home country of Columbia.

During this time, Albines allegedly got access to the credit cards, called the banks and had himself added as an authorized user and extra cards were sent to him in his name, authorities said. Albines allegedly maxed out the cards through charging $50,000 worth of expensive dinners, fancy clothes, car washes and more.

According to Brown, Albines also allegedly filed a false tax return in the victim’s name and collected a $6,000 refund.

Due to Albines’ actions, the victim had to return to the United State to resolve the credit card fraud. The IRS also had begun garnishing the victim’s pension in order to collect the $6,000 refund.

“The defendant is alleged to have taken advantage of the victim’s kindness by running up charges on his credit cards and even filing a bogus tax return to line his own pockets. This is yet another reminder to always protect you financial information and to be very careful whom you take into your home,” Brown said.

Albines, who is currently out on bail, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.


Former Jamaica basketball coach sentenced for making child porn: DA

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A Jamaica man who coached and participated in basketball workouts with teenage boys is serving a jail sentence for producing child pornography, prosecutors announced on Friday.

Robert Walker, 43, of 164th Street was ordered to serve between 1 1/2 and 4 1/2 years behind bars after pleading guilty last month to first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Walker allegedly engaged in a video chat with a 15-year-old boy on April 22, 2014, and instructed him to strip and pose naked. He then told the youth to send him nude pictures of himself.

Based on an investigation, police arrested Walker in November 2014 and recovered from his home electronic devices that were found to contain the video and 27 additional images of children – some as young as 8 – engaging in sexual acts with men.

Brown said that Walker later admitted to detectives that he held workouts with teenage boys, then later asked them to strip so he could take pictures and videos of them.

Prosecutors said he also manipulated some of the boys into engaging in explicit acts through online video chats.

“The defendant took advantage of his trusted position as a basketball coach and violated the teen boys he instructed in a disgusting manner to satisfy his own sexual needs,” Brown said in a statement. “The victims will undoubtedly be scarred for the rest of their lives as a result of this man’s manipulative actions.”


Brooklyn men charged in Queens theft ring of luxury cars, motorcycles, narcotics

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Eight Brooklyn men who allegedly specialized in selling everything from stolen vehicles to narcotics have been charged for their participation in a Queens theft ring, according to the Queens district attorney.

The men, ranging from 21 to 27 years of age, were indicted after a 16-month investigation that began last April and concluded this June.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, in April 2014 police officers assigned to the NYPD’s Auto Crime Division Theft Squad started a joint investigation with the District Attorney’s Rackets Bureau into a theft ring that was offering temporary paper license plates for sale on Craigslist.

An unnamed individual allegedly contacted the number listed on the Craigslist post and later met with one of the eight men, 22-year-old Ariel Santiago, in Queens. During this encounter, the individual purchased fraudulent temporary license plates packaged with accompanying documents including blank bills of sale templates, blank 30-day temporary insurance coverage conformation forms and four blank Florida temporary registration receipts each stamped with the name of an actual auto sale business.

During their meeting, the unnamed person mentioned he shipped stolen vehicles to Africa and used paper plates to transport the cars to the port. At this point Santiago allegedly said he knew people who sold high-end stolen vehicles with keys, according to authorities.

Later that month at a second meeting, the person met with Santiago again to purchase five more forged temporary plates and spoke with 21-year-old Brian Hernandez and 22-year-old Luvere Gantt about buying stolen vehicles.

Over the next month, the person bought several stolen motorcycles during a series of buys, including two Kawaski Ninjas, from Santiago, Hernandez and Gantt, and in one instance from 21-year-old Gerardo Torres.

According to the district attorney, Torres, Gantt, 27-year-old Joseph Santiago and 21-year-old Matthew Moses later variously sold narcotics, cocaine and heroin to other individuals.

It is also alleged that in addition to the other defendants, 25-year-old Sean Vargas and 21-year-old Kevin Primo were also a part of selling stolen vehicles, firearms and/or counterfeit cash.

The majority of the stolen vehicles were obtained through fraudulent means from rental car companies such as Zipcar, Hertz, Enterprise, Dollar and Budget, according to the district attorney.

“This small, loosely organized theft ring is accused of offering a cornucopia of stolen and illegal items for sale on the black market — including stolen motorcycles and such luxury vehicles as Cadillacs, Mercedes Benzes, Audis and BMWs, as well as forged license plates, narcotics, counterfeit cash and various firearms — including an assault rifle, shotgun and a defaced pistol,” Brown said.

Currently Gantt, Hernandez and Torres are being sought, while the other five suspects have been arrested.

The charges the men variously face include criminal possession of stolen property, criminal sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy, unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm, and criminal possession of a forged instrument.


Trio accused of breaking into Jamaica Estates home, locking out homeowner

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Three men who allegedly broke into a Jamaica Estates residence and locked the homeowner out until the deed to the house was transferred to them could now be locked behind bars for years.

Brandon Sestoso, 33, his brother Chas Sestoso, 31, both of Hicksville, Long Island, and Jesse Kusinow, 32, of Howell, N.J., are accused of the crime, which District Attorney Richard Brown called a “truly bizarre case.”

According to the charges, after leaving her Grand Central Parkway home on the morning of April 29, the homeowner’s wife came back that evening to find that the locks had been changed and the three men were inside. They allegedly told her that they were working with the bank that held the mortgage on the property and that she could not gain access to her house until she signed documents regarding the property.

When she told them that her husband was the property owner and was in China, they had her call him, prosecutors said. The home invaders then told the husband about the documents he needed to sign, which included a deed transfer for the property, and emailed them to him. Though the husband allegedly signed and emailed back several of these documents, he did not sign the deed transfer, and continued to receive requests to do so.

The next day, the three gave the wife 10 minutes to retrieve belongings from the first floor of the home, according to the district attorney, at which time she noticed that it had been ransacked.

On May 12, the homeowner returned to the house and removed all the locks. Once inside, he found that the house was in disorder with missing property that included jewelry, knives, cash, and the deed and documents related to the ownership of his home.

Brandon Sestoso is currently awaiting arraignment on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, unlawful eviction and second-degree criminal trespass. Kusinow was arraigned on June 10 on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, unlawful eviction and second-degree criminal trespass, and has been held in jail in lieu of $75,000 bail since that time. Chas Sestoso was arraigned on May 26 on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, unlawful eviction and second-degree criminal trespass. He was released on $10,000 bail.

All three face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.


17 indicted following Queens auto theft ring bust

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A two-and-a-half-year investigation resulted in charges for 17 individuals involved in a major Queens-based auto theft and “title washing” ring, where high-end vehicles were swiped off city streets and even from dealerships, officials announced Thursday.

“The ring’s members were purportedly highly organized and fast,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “It is alleged that a main ‘steal’ crew would canvas neighborhoods for luxury vehicles to steal and, once a vehicle was found, obtain the vehicle’s VIN, which was then used to make a duplicate key for the vehicle. Armed with the new key, the vehicle was then allegedly stolen — the whole process taking only a few hours. In some cases, crew members allegedly stole vehicles ‘to order.’”

In a 128-count indictment, eight of the defendants have been charged, among other crimes, with enterprise corruption under New York State’s Organized Crime Control Act and are accused of stealing more than 80 automobiles, prosecutors said.

The investigation, by the NYPD’s Auto Crime Division and the district attorney’s office’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau, found that those vehicles included pricey GMC Yukon Denalis, BMWs, Range Rovers and Mercedes-Benzes – stolen from Queens and elsewhere between February 22, 2013, and November 29, 2014.

The defendants, such as Franklyn Gutierrez, 33, of Sutter Avenue in Brooklyn, allegedly worked with a main theft crew – including Miguel (“Fello”) Maldonado, 34, of 77th Street in Woodhaven, Ariel Rodriguez, 28, of Highland Place in Brooklyn, German Garcia, 44, of Decatur Street in Brooklyn, and William (“Bori”) Cruz, 32, of Melrose Street in Brooklyn – that took high-end, newer vehicles off New York City streets and from dealerships and sometimes even stole vehicles “to order,” prosecutors said.

After crew members would find a vehicle, they would allegedly acquire the VIN and then take the number to a locksmith to create a key. The crew member would then use the key to drive the car to a location in Queens, where forged documents were created to conceal the vehicle’s true identity. A broker would then allegedly resell the vehicle. Many of the stolen vehicles were allegedly transported across the country, as well as around the world, including as far away as Nigeria and the Dominican Republic.

The indictments additionally charge defendants Onnie (“Sha”) Canady, 52, of 32nd Avenue in East Elmhurst, with being a middleman for stolen car buyers; Henry (“Charlie”) Morrel, 30, of Ridgewood Avenue, in Brooklyn, for having created the forged documents; and Edward (“Chapa”) Gomez, 39, of 100th Avenue in Hollis, as being the alleged black market broker who resold the stolen vehicles.

According to the district attorney’s office, earlier this week, police executed a search warrant at the home of Gomez, where many of the vehicles were taken as part of the operation, and allegedly recovered three kilos of cocaine, one kilo of heroin, a scale and $2,000 in cash.

Luis Ramos, 43, of 49th Street in Brooklyn; Santiago (“C-Lo”) Robinson, 34, of Shore Front in Arverne, Mayovanex Pena-Ortega, 26, of 34 Jerome Street in Brooklyn, Joel Urena, 34, of Beach 40th Street in Far Rockaway; Angel Acosta, 30, of 117th Street in the Richmond Hill; Edgar Rodriguez, 36, of Florida; Luis DeJesus, 32, of Hancock Street in Brooklyn; Angel Batista, 34, of Yonkers; and Walden Clarke, 37, of East 53rd Street in Brooklyn have also been indicted for their alleged participation in the ring. They each face up to seven years in prison if convicted, while the remaining defendants face up to 25 years.

Most of the defendants have been arraigned as of Wednesday, according to the district attorney’s office, but Robinson, Acosta and Rodriguez are currently being sought.


Flushing contractor busted in home improvement scam

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

A Flushing contractor has been charged with scamming $10,000 in down payments from Queens homeowners for work he never performed, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Alfred Lakas, 57, allegedly took money from three homeowners for air-conditioning and other work to be done at their residences which he failed to do, and did not return any of the money. Lakas, who operates Al’s Heating on 172nd Street in Flushing, is also being charged with misrepresenting himself as being licensed to do the work, although he is not.

Lakas was arraigned on Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll on ten counts, charging him with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and scheme to defraud, among other offenses.

He was ordered to be held on $5,000 bail and will return to court on Sept. 15. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

According to Brown, Lakas is accused of misrepresenting himself as a licensed professional to perform air-conditioning, heating and other contracting work from February 2012 to June 2015. His complaining victims are three homeowners respectively from South Ozone Park, Douglaston-Little Neck and Kew Gardens.

Brown said consumers should be cautious when hiring a home improvement contractor, and that cases like this one are a pervasive problem.

“Defective or incomplete home improvement repairs are among the top consumer complaints my office receives,” the district attorney said. “To avoid being a victim of a home repair scheme, consumers should request and check a contractor’s references and check with the proper city agencies to ensure that he is licensed — and not just take his word for it.”

The District Attorney’s office is urging anyone who may have been a victim of this alleged scheme to call the Queens District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau at 718-286-6673.


First-degree murder indictment for alleged Queens Village cop killer

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:08 p.m.

A Queens Village man accused of fatally shooting a police officer last month pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to an indictment that includes first-degree murder charges, District Attorney Richard Brown announced.

Demetrius Blackwell, 35, of 212th Place allegedly shot P.O. Brian Moore as the officer and his partner, P.O. Erik Jansen, approached him in their unmarked police cruiser on the night of May 2. Moore was struck in the head and died two days later at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Blackwell was arrested hours after the shooting and remains in custody. He appeared in Queens Criminal Court Thursday afternoon before Judge Joseph Zayas for arraignment on a 12-count indictment that includes charges of first-degree murder, aggravated murder and attempted murder; second-degree criminal possession of a weapon; and drug possession charges.

If convicted, Blackwell faces life in prison without the possibility of parole — the maximum sentence under New York State law. He remains held without bail and was ordered to return to court on Sept. 17.

“The defendant’s alleged actions are a direct attack on society and the law and reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day — and the ultimate sacrifice they may be called upon to make — as they carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities,” Brown said in a statement Thursday.

Moore and Jansen, both assigned to the 105th Precinct, were riding in the unmarked car along 104th Road near 212th Street in Queens Village at 6:15 p.m. on May 2 when they allegedly observed Blackwell adjusting his waistband, law enforcement sources said.

The officers then pulled up alongside Blackwell to question him when he allegedly pulled a black firearm out of his waistband and opened fire on the officers, according to police. Moore sustained two gunshot wounds to his head; Jansen was uninjured.

Following the shooting, Blackwell — in an attempt to alter his appearance — stole a t-shirt and a pair of sneakers, prosecutors said. Police, however, caught up to him later that night at his home. The gun he allegedly used — a silver revolver reported stolen from Georgia in 2011 — was also recovered.


JFK workers stole about $90K worth of electronics from cargo warehouse: DA

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Joe Mabel

A holiday weekend heist at John F. Kennedy Airport sprung a leak, according to authorities.

Two employees at an airport cargo warehouse were charged this week for allegedly pilfering nearly $90,000 worth of electronic devices, prosecutors announced Friday.

Cops busted Brooklyn residents Kason Alexander, 32, and Akanni Martin, 39, on May 23 in Brooklyn after officers spotted Alexander urinating on the sidewalk in the vicinity of East 57th Street and Avenue D.

When an officer approached Alexander and Martin as they entered a nearby parked car, the officer reportedly noticed two wooden crates in the rear seat.

Upon further investigation, the crates were found to contain 127 digital memory cards, 36 camera lenses, 52 Nikon cameras and 15 camera accessories. Additionally, officers found 100 Amazon Kindle tablets from another vehicle Alexander owned that was searched as part of the investigation.

Alexander and Martin were booked on second-degree charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and face up to 15 years behind bars if convicted, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“The two men were trusted employees at Kennedy Airport, but they are now accused of helping themselves to nearly $100,000 worth of electronic merchandise,” Brown said. “The defendants now face the prospect of being locked behind bars for this brazen act.”

The suspects were released without bail following arraignment on May 25 in Queens Criminal Court and ordered to return to court on July 13.


Rego Park woman sentenced for fatally pushing man in front of 7 train

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Schwen

A Rego Park woman began a 24-year prison sentence Wednesday for pushing a man to his death at a 7 train station in Sunnyside more than two years ago.

Erika Menendez, 33, pled guilty in March of this year to a manslaughter charge for killing Sunnando Sen, 46, at the 40th Street station on the night of Dec. 27, 2012.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Menendez was seen talking to herself and pacing on the platform at about 8 p.m. that evening. Moments later, she shoved Sen from behind off the platform and into an arriving Manhattan-bound 7 train.

Sen was pronounced dead a short time later from blunt force trauma.

During questioning, Menendez reportedly claimed she attacked Sen, whom she believed was a Muslim, because she hated “Hindus and Muslims ever since” the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Her prior record includes attacking a fire department battalion chief in June 2003 in front of his home on Palmetto Street in Ridgewood.

“[Menendez] committed what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare — being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Brown said in a statement Wednesday. “The victim was shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself… [Her] actions clearly show that she is a threat to society and deserving of today’s sentence.”


Ex-teacher from Forest Hills cops plea in Internet sex sting

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A former high school teacher from Forest Hills admitted in court Friday that he tried to lure someone whom he believed was a teen girl into a sexual tryst but who turned out to be an undercover officer, prosecutors announced.

Monsur Khan, 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted criminal sexual act before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll. Khan faces 30 days in jail and 10 years’ probation upon sentencing, which is set for June 16.

“The defendant has now admitted his guilt and will surrender his teaching license and register as a sex offender,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Parents must always monitor their children’s activities online to ensure that they are not being lured into dangerous situations.”

Formerly an earth science teacher at the Hillside Arts and Letters Academy in Jamaica, Khan first made contact online with the undercover officer — who was posing as a 14-year-old girl — on Feb. 12, 2014, authorities said. Over the next six weeks, Khan repeatedly sent illicit messages to the undercover agent and indicated his desire for an encounter.

Hillside Arts and Letters Academy is located within the campus of the former Jamaica High School.

On March 26, 2014, Khan showed up at a pre-arranged meeting place in Queens and was subsequently taken into custody.

As part of his sentence, Brown noted, Khan will also be required to complete a sex offender program and forfeit electronic devices that police seized from him.


Op-ed: Protect your kids from Internet predators

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Internet child luring is every parent’s worst nightmare and is the reason that we repeatedly urge parents to communicate with their children about their use of the Internet and to monitor their children’s Internet activities.

There are sexual predators lurking online who are just waiting to take advantage of a child’s innocence and trusting nature. These predators troll Internet chat rooms pretending to offer friendship, sympathy and love to victims who are too young to understand that they are actually being lured into sexual abuse.

My office’s Computer Crimes Unit has teamed with the NYPD to catch these criminals in the act, prosecute them and get them off the Internet. But Internet safety must begin at home. Parental vigilance plays a crucial role in protecting children from cyber criminals.

Here are some tips to keep your children safe online:
• Talk to your child about the dangers of being victimized online and why his or her online activities cannot be kept private from you;
• Keep the computer in the living room or family room rather than in the child’s bedroom;
• If your Internet service provider has parental controls available, use them and/or use parental control software;
• Even if you use parental controls, you should also personally monitor your child’s Internet usage by randomly checking website logs, chat room logs, emails, etc.; and
• Inquire about the use of controls on computers at school, the local library, friends’ homes and anywhere else your child can get on the Internet without your direct supervision.

In bygone days, parents told their children never to take candy from a stranger. Nowadays, that “candy” is in cyberspace and cyberspace can literally be in your child’s back pocket as more than ever the Internet is being accessed by portable devices such as cellphones and tablets.

If you suspect Internet child luring, don’t hesitate to call the Queens district attorney’s office at 718-286-6000 or e-mail Contact QDA@queensda.org for assistance. My office is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and is staffed with experts in online investigations.



Seven alleged southeast Queens gang members busted for murder plots

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Counting themselves among “killas,” seven street gang members based in southeast Queens were indicted for allegedly plotting two murders, prosecutors said.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the suspects are part of the EBK (Everybody Killas) gang, which allegedly carried out plots in January 2013 to shoot two individuals whom they believed were members of a rival gang. One of the murder attempts took place in a busy shopping district during the evening rush hour, while the other occurred a few hours later at a grocery store, according to Brown.

“In both instances, the defendants’ alleged actions threatened the lives and safety of innocent bystanders as the victims were fired upon,” said Brown on Friday. “Today’s indictment is another example of police and prosecutors working together to reduce gang-based violence that too often plagues our neighborhoods.”

Brown identified the seven suspects as Jeffrey Bien-Aime, 19, of St. Albans; Anthony Biggs, 18, of St. Albans; Jonathan Jean-Pierre, 20, of Rosedale; Dayjah Knowles, 18, of Jamaica; Jerald Lowe, 22, of St. Albans; Kenneth Stokes, 20, of St. Albans; and Rasheed Watson, 22, of Jamaica.

All were variously charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and conspiracy.

If convicted, each suspect faces up to 25 years behind bars.

Law enforcement sources said the first shooting occurred at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2013, when Lowe, Bien-Aime, Watson, Jean-Pierre, Knowles and Stokes, along with unidentified EBK members, allegedly confronted rival gang members near Jamaica Avenue and Parsons Boulevard.

Following a verbal exchange, one of the EBK members pulled out a pistol and shot a rival in the right foot. The group then fled the scene, police said.

More than four hours later, Biggs, Stokes and two unidentified EBK members allegedly confronted another suspected rival at a deli located at 116-02 Merrick Blvd., according to prosecutors. Moments after arriving, an EBK member reportedly walked into the store, drew a .380-caliber pistol and shot the suspected rival in the left abdomen.

After the wounded rival fell to the ground, the EBK member attempted to fire again, but the gun jammed, authorities said.

Both of the gang’s targets were treated for their injuries at a local hospital. Detectives determined from shell casings recovered from both crime scenes that the same gun was used in each incident.

“I want to thank the members of the 113th Precinct who worked closely together with the Queens District Attorney’s office to build this case against these alleged EBK gang members,” Bratton said. “The NYPD remains committed to eliminating gang activity and improving the quality of life for the residents of the southern Queens communities.”


Woodside babysitter guilty in 2010 death of 9-month-old boy

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Woodside woman has been found guilty of manslaughter in the death of a 9-month-old baby boy, who in 2010 was violently shaken by his babysitter.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, 42-year-old Yohani Moran was found guilty on Monday for second-degree manslaughter after a four-week-long trial in Queens Supreme Court.

On March 10, 2010, at about 2 p.m. the baby boy, Dilan Criollo, was dropped off by his mother at Moran’s Woodside apartment, Brown said. At the time of the drop-off, Dilan was “vibrant and in good health.”

Moran then fed the baby and he took a nap. Later in the afternoon Dilan “became fussy” and Moran shook him violently and he immediately went limp and became unresponsive, according to Brown.

The child was then taken to the hospital where doctors determined he had suffered extensive subdural hematomas, severe brain swelling and bleeding in his eyes, as well as a bilateral retinal detachment, according to trial records. Dilan was placed on a ventilator and later died.

“Shaken Baby Syndrome is the leading cause of child abuse deaths each year. The victims are innocent, helpless children and are too often harmed by those entrusted to care for and protect them. In this case, the toddler suffered extensive bleeding on the brain, swelling and damage to his eyes,” Brown said. “Despite life-saving efforts by medical personnel, the child died. The defendant – who is herself a mother – has now been found guilty and faces a lengthy term behind bars.”

Moran is expected back in court on April 14 and faces up to 15 years in prison.


Queens basketball coach charged after lewd video chats with teen

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A Queens basketball coach has been charged with child pornography possession after a 15-year-old he coached claimed they had lewd video chats, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Robert Walker, 42, who coaches three Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams and regularly conducts basketball workouts with teenage boys, communicated with the boy in April through ooVoo, a video chat and instant messaging application, according to Brown. He allegedly convinced the teen to not only pose naked via video, but also to send naked pictures of himself.

A search of Walker’s Jamaica home found a video on his computer of the 15-year-old victim posing naked, prosecutors said.

The chats came to light after the victim told his parent, who then contacted police.

Following his arrest, Walker allegedly admitted to engaging in inappropriate activity with other boys under the age of 16 during his basketball workouts. He said he would have them remove their clothing, then would take pictures and videos, including some of the boys masturbating, according to Brown.

As of Tuesday night, Walker was awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of use of a child in a sexual performance, disseminating indecent material to minors, possessing a sexual performance by a child and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Any other individuals who believe they may have also been victimized by Walker should call the 105th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-776-9252.


Queens residents accused of stealing money orders from mail at JFK Airport

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



Five Queens residents, including two baggage handlers at John F. Kennedy International Airport, are accused of participating in a scheme that involved stealing money orders from internationally-bound mail.

One of the baggage handlers, Kenroy C. Mitchell of St. Albans allegedly deposited 33 stolen money orders into his bank account between November 2013 and January 2014, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. The money orders had been sent via U.S. mail to Japan, Korea and Greece.

Amanda Mackie, 20, of Rosedale, is accused of acting in concert with one of the other suspects, but was employed by Ground Services International as a baggage handler, Brown said. She allegedly deposited a money order meant for Japan into her own bank account this January.

Mitchell was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday, on charges of grand larceny criminal possession of stolen property. He is also charged with acting in concert with one of the other suspects and is accused of stealing more than $25,000, prosecutors said.

Mackie was arraigned Wednesday night and also charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. She is also charged with participating in a scheme to steal and criminally possessing $2,800 in U.S. Postal money orders.

Mitchell and Mackie were released on their own recognizance.

The three other individuals are still being sought, according to the district attorney’s office.

The suspects were identified and caught as the result of a joint investigation that the United States Postal Office and Port Authority Police Department carried out after receiving numerous complaints of money orders not reaching their intended destinations, Brown said. Specifically, the mail was allegedly being handled by Ground Services International and Swissport USA baggage handlers at JFK Airport.