Tag Archives: Richard Brown

Far Rockaway mom charged in fatal beating of 2-year-old daughter


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size

A Far Rockaway mother has been arrested for murder after allegedly beating her 2-year-old daughter to death, District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday.

Ashley Diaz, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault. If convicted, she faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

On Monday, at about 5:30 p.m., Diaz asked a neighbor to watch her daughter, Kevasia Edward, while she left her Beach 56th Place apartment for approximately 20 minutes to buy food, according to Brown.

While the neighbor was babysitting the toddler, the girl, who had been sleeping, allegedly woke up and appeared slightly pale and lethargic. The child said she was fine, but didn’t show any obvious signs of trauma to her face, the district attorney said.

Later that night, at about 11:15 p.m., Diaz called the neighbor, saying that her daughter was not breathing.  When the neighbor showed up to the apartment she allegedly found the child lying on the floor unresponsive and began to administer CPR. She then allegedly noticed Kevasia’s face was red and bruised, her lip was bleeding and her teeth pushed in and jutting out in different directions and missing, Brown said.

The neighbor’s sister then called 9-1-1, after learning the mother never did. Kevasia was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, arriving in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead just after midnight.

According to medical personnel at the hospital, Brown said, Kevasia had old and fresh bruising on her face, legs and torso, two rib fractures and scarring on her right foot consistent with a prior burn. Those injuries, however, were inconsistent with a story Diaz gave about her child having a seizure and falling to the ground.

Diaz allegedly said that her daughter was in good health and acting normal while she was her sole caregiver, from approximately Friday through Monday, with the exception of the time when the neighbor was watching her child.

She also allegedly said that at 9:30 p.m. Monday her daughter had a seizure and fell to the ground, Brown said. During that time, she allegedly admitted she sat with Kevasia for at least 30 minutes while she was unresponsive and not breathing, and did not call anyone for help until after 11 p.m. that night.

According to the autopsy report, Brown said, Kevasia allegedly suffered multiple fresh and old bruising to her face, neck, torso and legs, multiple scalp abrasions and lacerations, multiple scars of varying ages about her body and other markings consistent with trauma. The report’s preliminary medical findings were also consistent with abusive head trauma with multiple, violent impacts to her head and body, he said.

 

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East Elmhurst man arrested for allegedly murdering girlfriend and her daughter with hammer


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

A man was arrested for allegedly beating his live-in girlfriend and her daughter to death with a hammer in their East Elmhurst home Monday after claiming they were witches, officials said.

Officers found Estrella Castaneda, 56, and Lina Castaneda, 25, inside of their 87th Street residence just after midnight with severe head trauma, police said. Both women were pronounced dead at the scene.

The victims were allegedly killed in their bedrooms, and a hammer was discovered near each woman, District Attorney Richard Brown said. Officers found Lina’s 7-year-old daughter unharmed on her mother’s bed.

Carlos Amarillo, 44, is currently being held pending arraignment on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and criminal possession of weapon, the district attorney said. If convicted, he faces life without parole.

Following the murders, Brown said, Amarillo allegedly called 9-1-1 and said “two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches, I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

When cops arrived they allegedly saw him walking from the doorway to the street, carrying a Bible, saying, “I killed them, I killed them.”

In statements to police, Brown added, Amarillo said that he believed both of the victims were “witches and were performing voodoo and casting spells on him.”

 

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Two charged in counterfeit Super Bowl ticket operation


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens DA/Ticket photos courtesy of NYPD

Two men have been charged with running a counterfeit operation in Queens and elsewhere, allegedly manufacturing and selling tickets to the Super Bowl and NFL playoff games, District Attorney Richard Brown and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Tuesday.

The pair is accused of peddling the forged tickets to individuals on the streets of New York as well as across the country through the Internet.

They were also allegedly selling fake Super Bowl tickets to the NFL Commissioner’s Party at the Waldolf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, the NFL Honors Party at Radio City Music Hall, and parking passes close to New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium where the Super Bowl is being played Sunday.

“The defendants are charged with not only running a lucrative illegal operation that allegedly ripped off the National Football League and sports fans alike by manufacturing well-crafted counterfeit tickets using state-of-the art equipment but creating a security nightmare for the NFL and the vast army of local, state and federal enforcement law agencies handling security operations at this Sunday’s Super Bowl by allegedly selling fraudulent parking passes to the MetLife parking facilities. Beyond that, individuals who bought tickets or passes through the Internet may be in for a rude awakening on game day,” Brown said.

Damon Daniels, 43, of the Bronx and Jamaica, Queens, and Eugene Fladger, 32, of Philadelphia are presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of a forgery devices, criminal possession of computer-related material, trademark counterfeiting and conspiracy, according to Brown. If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison.

Their arrests come following an investigation that began in December 2013 when the NFL’s Security Division notified the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division of an alleged counterfeit football ticket production operation, the district attorney said.

During the investigation, Daniels and Fladger were allegedly observed getting together right before an undercover officer, posing as a ticket buyer, met with Fladger in Queens, and bought tickets from him, Brown said.

The investigation also led to a search of Daniels’ girlfriend’s Jamaica apartment, where, according to prosecutors, police recovered a computer, a printer, a package of photo-grade paper, two tickets to the Super Bowl printed on the same photo-grade paper and a bag of half ripped, incomplete, first draft tickets which appeared to be printed on normal stock paper.

The fake tickets allegedly bore the official NFL logo and a bar code designed to be a replication of computer data that had been duplicated in order to fool stadium scanners, Brown said. The tickets, however, allegedly had defects— the printing on the tickets was washed out, there was a misprint on the back, the cutting of the tickets was not properly aligned, and various security features were missing. The parking passes and party tickets also allegedly featured washed-out printing and were not properly aligned.

 

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DNA links man to two 1997 Richmond Hill rapes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A 55-year-old man already serving a prison sentence for a burglary charge was tied through DNA evidence to two separate Richmond Hill rapes dating back to 1997, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Johnny Dupree was indicted Monday and charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy, according to the district attorney. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Dupree is currently serving a sentence of 16 years to life for pleading guilty to second-degree burglary in 2000.

A DNA sample collected after Dupree’s conviction was positively matched to DNA evidence gathered from the rape victims and crime scenes, Brown said. Though the evidence had been previously tested, more sophisticated techniques, that were not available at the time of the crimes, conclusively matched the DNA to Dupree.

“My office’s DNA Prosecutions Unit has been systematically reviewing every unsolved sexual assault in Queens County dating back to 1996 – which is as far as the statute of limitations permits,” Brown said.

Dupree is accused of entering both of the women’s apartments, ages 23 and 24, in the middle of the night while they were asleep and raping them at knifepoint, according to the district attorney.

 

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Man arraigned in murder of wife, kids; killed daughters because he didn’t have car seats, DA says


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

A Jamaica father accused of fatally stabbing his wife and small children in a jealous rage was arraigned and held without bail Friday.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, appeared in Queens County Court on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon after being extradited from Texas where he was captured by authorities Monday night, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

He allegedly killed his wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1 inside of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday, Brown said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

Photos via Facebook

He allegedly came home Saturday night after drinking beer at a friend’s house, and went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account , where he found a photo of her and another man, Brown said. Mejia-Ramos then allegedly snapped and killed his wife, then fatally stabbed his daughters after first hugging and kissing them and asking for their “forgiveness.”

The District Attorney also said he killed his girls because he didn’t have car seats to take them with after committing the crime, according to the New York Daily News. He was reportedly heading to Mexico when was caught in Texas.

“I met this morning with the family and close friends of Deisy Mejia who – together with her two infant daughters – were stabbed to death last weekend.  We were joined by the Guatemalan Consul General.  Everyone is, of course, devastated by that which occurred.  I assured them that this case will be vigorously prosecuted and there will be no plea bargaining,” Brown said in a statement Friday.

If convicted, Mejia-Ramos faces life in prison without possibility of parole. He is due back in court on Feb. 14.

A wake was held Thursday evening at Garcia’s local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo for the young mother and her daughters.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

 

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Jamaica man charged with murder of wife, two young daughters


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Jamaica man has been charged with the murder of his wife and two young daughters after being apprehended in Texas and allegedly admitting to the crime, District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, is currently being held at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, where he was taken into custody on Monday evening, according to the district attorney.

He is awaiting extradition to New York where he will be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Friday on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon.  If convicted, he faces life in prison without possibility of parole.

Mejia-Ramos is accused of brutally stabbing wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1 inside of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday, Brown said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

He allegedly came home Saturday night after drinking beer at a friend’s house, and went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account , where he found a photo of her and another man, Brown said. Mejia-Ramos then allegedly snapped and killed his wife, then fatally stabbed his daughters after first hugging and kissing them and asking for their “forgiveness.”

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

 

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Man serving life for deadly cop shooting sentenced for Queens attempted murder, robbery


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man already serving life in prison without parole for fatally shooting a cop was sentenced to 25 years to life Wednesday for trying to rob and murder a Queens man less than 24 hours before shooting the officer, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“Today’s sentence ensures that the defendant – a dangerous predator who has been convicted of shooting an unarmed man and an on-duty police officer within 24 hours – will spend the rest of his life in prison and never again see the light of day,” Brown said.

Dexter Bostic, 40, formerly of Far Rockaway allegedly shot the robbery victim, Carl Field, who was 20 at the time, near Sutphin Boulevard and 109th Drive just before 5 a.m. on July 8, 2007, according to Brown. After striking him in the leg, Bostic demanded money from Field, and Field handed over $1,800 in cash, a chain and the keys to his vehicle. Bostic then fled in a vehicle driven by Robert Ellis, 40.

Bostic and Ellis were convicted of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fifth-degree criminal possession.

Ellis was sentenced in July 2013 to a determinate term of 25 years in prison, Brown said. He is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for a weapons possession conviction involving the July 9, 2007 fatal shooting of NYPD Officer Russel Timoshenko in Brooklyn.

Officers Timoshenko, 23, and Herman Yan, 27, pulled over a stolen BMW SUV in which Ellis, Bostic, and another individual were riding in that day, according to Brown.

The officers were shot at numerous times as they approached the vehicle. One of the weapons used included the gun used to shoot, Brown said. Yan survived, but Timoshenko died five days later.

 

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Op-ed: District Attorney Richard A. Brown delivers year-end message to the residents of Queens County


| oped@queenscourier.com

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown – who begins his twenty-third year as Queens County’s chief law enforcement officer in 2014 – delivered the following year-end message to the residents of Queens County in which he noted that Queens County was again among the City’s leaders in crime reduction in 2013.

District Attorney Brown said, “During the more than two decades that I have had the honor and privilege of serving as district attorney of Queens County, my office has steadfastly committed itself to ensuring a safe environment for those who live and work in Queens County. Through our law-enforcement initiatives and the utilization of an array of cutting-edge interventions and prevention programs, we have made tremendous progress in accomplishing that goal which, in turn, has contributed greatly to New York City’s historic decline in serious and violent crime. Over the last twenty years, overall crime in Queens is down by 77.7 percent, murders have fallen 78.1 percent, robberies are down 76.3 percent, burglaries are down 78.9 percent and felony assaults are down 40.9 percent.  As Mayor Bloomberg noted earlier this week during his visit to Queens, the drop in crime has made ‘Queens a safer place to live, work and visit than ever before.’”

District Attorney Brown added, “We continue to be, I believe, among the best and busiest prosecutor’s offices in the country.  Last year our office handled more than 70,000 arrest cases – cases running the gamut from quality of life offenses to serious violent felonies.  And, by any standard, we handled those cases efficiently and judiciously.  We have a presence in all of the diverse communities of our county in seeking to prevent crime and in helping to turn young lives around.  In sum, we continue to have the respect of our law enforcement colleagues and the confidence of the people of Queens County.”

District Attorney Brown continued, “In pursuing the office’s core mission to increase public safety and reduce crime in 2013, we have vigorously pursued hate crime cases against those individuals who chose their victims based on religion, sexuality, the color of their skin and other factors.  We have aggressively gone after illegal cigarette traffickers, organized trademark counterfeiting rings and legitimate businesses and franchises that annually cheat the government out of millions of dollars of much needed State and City revenue. On a local level, we have focused our attention on homeowners who impact on the quality of life of their neighbors by illegally sub-dividing their private residences into multiple dwellings that potentially can put the lives of tenants and first-responders at grave risk. We continue to do our part in protecting our younger residents by going after on-line child pornographers, as well as sex traffickers and sexual predators who attempt to meet underage children on-line for sexual relations.”

District Attorney Brown added, “The Queens County District Attorney’s Office has long been recognized as a nationwide leader in the number of court-authorized wiretaps that we handle. Our Special Prosecutions Division runs a host of crime prevention, school-based and community outreach programs and staff members attend our precinct council and community board meetings.  We have dedicated Child Advocacy and Family Justice Centers – and a Domestic Violence Bureau that maintains the highest domestic violence conviction rate and the lowest dismissal rate in the City and which takes more pre-indictment pleas than the rest of the City combined. We statistically maintain the  best arrest to arraignment time in the City and because of our assertive bail jumping program – in which defendants are indicted if they fail to appear in court for their felony cases – we have the lowest failure-to-appear in court rate  in the city.”

District Attorney Brown said that among the office’s successful prosecutions in 2013 were:

• People v. Urban Fermin and Darius Lowery.  Fermin and Lowery were convicted of the attempted murder of a police officer during a one-hour crime spree in which they shot at a marked police vehicle attempting to stop them after they stole a car, burglarized a house and robbed a woman on the street at gunpoint.  Fermin was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison and Lowery was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

• People v. Simon A. Watts.  Watts, a former Springfield Gardens public school teacher, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually abusing five of his students – four females and one male who ranged between eight and ten in age. The incidents all took place at the school – many during class time.

• People v. Hikeem L. Green and Darcell Marshall.  Green and his girlfriend, Marshall, were sentenced to up to 12 years and up to three years in prison, respectively, following their guilty pleas to sex trafficking in connection with the prostitution of two young women – a 19-year-old upstate runaway and a 20-year-old from New York City – against their will.

• People v. Natasha Munchkin Marks.  Marks was sentenced to a term of one to three years in prison for jumping bail shortly after pleading guilty in March 2007 under New York State’s hate crime statute to stealing an 85-year-Howard Beach man’s life savings by falsely claiming to need the money to pay medical bills and to help start up a business and for investments.  The bail jumping prison sentence is to be served consecutive to the two to six years in prison she was sentenced to in absentia in May 2007 on the larceny charges.

In addition, District Attorney Brown said his Investigations Division conducted “many significant long term investigations over the past year into criminal enterprises throughout Queens County. Particularly telling is our auto theft numbers.  Since 1991, my first year as district attorney, the rate of auto thefts in Queens has plunged more than 90 percent.  This record-setting drop in crime was accomplished, in part, by focusing our attention on organized car theft rings and by curbing the illegal scrapping of stolen cars. In 2013, we continued to put pressure on the drug dealers and gangs hawking their illicit wares at the city’s housing developments and elsewhere by taking part in major anti-drug initiatives with the New York City Police Department.”

District Attorney Brown added, “New York City’s two major airports are located in Queens County and are often the first point of contact for tourists. As tourism is one of New York’s most revenue-producing industries, it is vitally important to our economic health that we provide a safe and welcoming environment at our airports. In carrying out that responsibility, we earlier in the year took down a group of contract baggage handlers who were charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of luggage items from arriving and departing flights at John F. Kennedy Airport when they were supposed to be loading or unloading the luggage. We also continue to prosecute unregulated taxis and unscrupulous drivers at the airports who unlawfully solicit fares and charge exorbitant rates to drive passengers the shortest of distances.”

In addition to his office’s many investigations during 2013, District Attorney Brown noted that this past September his office co-hosted the New York City Abusive Head Trauma/Shaken Baby Syndrome Conference, a biennial event presented in partnership with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York.  The conference was attended by more than 300 doctors, medical examiners, prosecutors, detectives, nurses and defense attorneys. Among the topics discussed at the conference were the challenges in diagnosing Shaken Baby Syndrome as opposed to accidental trauma and the inherent difficulties in investigating and prosecuting such cases.

Also in June and September, the office hosted two open public forums at the Campus Magnet High School in Cambria Height that focused on the so-called “Don’t Snitch” street code.  “The purpose of the initiative is to combat the destructive ‘Don’t Snitch’ street message that has hindered the pursuit of justice for violent crimes committed in Queens communities,” said District Attorney Brown.  “The forums provided an overview of the Don’t Snitch street code and gave residents of Queens County a platform for safe, open discussion on the topic and an opportunity to ask questions.”

District Attorney Brown noted with pride on behalf of his office Mayor Bloomberg’s comments from last summer.  “In a tenure of more than twenty years, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has made his office, I think it’s fair to say, one of the most widely respected prosecutor’s offices in the nation.”

District Attorney Brown concluded his message by wishing all a happy and healthy New Year and by saying, “The reason why I have so much enjoyed my tenure as District Attorney over these many years, why it is that I’ve found those years to be so rewarding, and why I look forward to continuing to serve as the District Attorney of this county for many years to come, is the successes that we have enjoyed in lowering the level of violence in our County and improving the quality of life of the people of our great county and because of the dedication and professionalism of those with whom we work. I am optimistic that by continuing the very successful strategies that we have employed over the years we, together with our law enforcement colleagues, can make Queens County even safer in 2014.”

 

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Two Queens men indicted on sex trafficking charges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Two Queens men have been indicted in separate sex trafficking cases for allegedly forcing teen girls to work as prostitutes, District Attorney Richard Brown announced Tuesday.

Peter Gerardi, 28, of Forest Hills, and Christopher Stephensbush, 20, of Richmond Hill, have both been arraigned on kidnapping, prostitution, rape, sex trafficking and other charges, according to the district attorney.

“The defendants are both accused of enslaving three young girls, raping them and forcing them to work as prostitutes. They allegedly forced the girls to turn all of their money over to them,” said Brown.

Gerardi is accused of threatening his 13-year-old victim when she wanted to stop prostituting herself for him. He also allegedly had a 16-year-old work for him as a prostitute through threats of physical violence, according to Brown. Gerardi allegedly had sex with both his victims.

Stephensbush allegedly met his 15-year-old victim while she was taking the bus to school one morning. He is accused of bringing her back to his apartment and not letting her leave until she agreed to work as a prostitute, said Brown. He allegedly raped her several times before temporarily letting her go. He then allegedly made her earn money for him again as a prostitute on multiple occasions.

If convicted, both face up to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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Hollis car dealership charged with sales tax theft


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

A father and son are accused of illegally pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from their Hollis car dealerships.

Yunas Khan, 52, and his son Tabraiz Khan, 27, head Horse Power Sales on Jamaica Avenue and Car Palace on 183rd Street. They are charged with $500,000 in state sales tax theft for allegedly under-reporting sales and neglecting to turn over sales tax to the state, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“Sales taxes are meant for the public treasury, not the pockets of businessmen,” Brown said.

By defrauding the state government of “such a significant sum of revenue, money that could have been used for any number of valuable public purposes, the defendants are alleged to have made every New Yorker a victim,” Brown said.

Between 2007 and 2010, Horse Power Sales allegedly reported taxable sales at roughly $2 million, with a tax liability of about $200,000. However, a state DMV review shows sales at just over $8 million, resulting in a tax liability of about $700,000.

The Khans allegedly collected the missing nearly $500,000 and similarly pocketed roughly $75,000 from Car Palace sales.

The two from Melville, Long Island face varying counts of grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records and scheme to defraud. The dealerships are additionally charged with the same counts.

They are currently being held, pending arraignment in criminal court.

“The defendants have shown a callous disregard for the tax laws, stealing from their customers and the state of New York, alike,” said Thomas Mattox, the New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance.

 

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LeFrak City tenant allegedly stole money, identities from residents


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

A tenant at an Elmhurst apartment complex has been charged with money laundering and identity theft involving other former and current residents.

According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Olawale Akinnawonu, 45, a tenant of the LeFrak City apartment complex, has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 between November 2011 and May 2013 after using the identities of dozens of residents to illegally open bank and credit card accounts in their names. He is being charged for allegedly stealing monthly rent checks from one of the apartment’s U.S. mailboxes. “Identity theft is especially exploitative when it violates the postal system and is committed against honest citizens by someone living in their midst,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Various complaints were filed to the 110th Precinct concerning rent checks being stolen, said Brown. The victims each said they had placed their rent checks in the secured mailbox but the checks never made it to the leasing companies managing the payments.

According to Brown, during the investigation, video surveillance allegedly shows the defendant using a key to open the mailbox for incoming mail and would use a stick to slip out departing mail through the mail slot of the U.S. mail outbox.

The defendant allegedly deposited the checks into different bank accounts, some of which included accounts he had opened in the name of LeFrak City tenants without their permission. He also allegedly opened credit card accounts in the name of other residents without their permission. The stolen checks were then used to pay the credit cards, which would create credit/overpayment in the name of whomever the card was in.

While impersonating the person whose name was on the card, Akinnawonu would get the credit card company to issue a check for overpayment which would be deposited into an account he controlled in the name of Samuel Mensah. He would then allegedly use the debit card for that account to take out money from ATMs and write out checks to himself and put them into his personal account.

Akinnawonu is awaiting arraignment on a 134-count indictment charge. He is being charged with one count of second-degree money laundering, 44 counts of first-degree identity theft, 10 counts of third-degree grand larceny, 60 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, six counts of second-degree identity theft, nine counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and four counts of petit larceny. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

The DA said he is “concerned that there may be more victims of the defendant’s alleged scheme” and asks tenants of the apartment complex to get a copy of their credit report to see if any accounts have been illegally opened in their name.

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim, or knows someone who may have been a victim, is asked to contact the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau at 718-286-6673.

 

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Flushing father convicted in death of newborn daughter


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A Flushing man accused of shaking his baby girl to death and slamming her head on a night stand has been convicted of manslaughter, authorities said.

Hang Bin Li, 28, bumped his daughter’s head on a night stand in October 2007 and failed to call the cops until two days later, according to trial testimony. His 10-week-old daughter, Annie, was “sweating, not moving her arms or legs and making distressed gurgling sounds” when she was finally rushed to the hospital, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

She was declared brain dead and taken off life support shortly after, the DA’s office said. Medical testimony said the child suffered a massive skull fracture and broken legs.

“It is shocking to consider that a father could inflict such brutality and suffering on one as young and innocent as his daughter,” Brown said. “His horrific actions robbed her of her life and the countless potential it held.”

Li was found guilty February 1 of second-degree manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child following a four-week jury trial. He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced March 4.

 

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NYPD, DA bust Queens gun trafficking ring


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the District Attorney's office

A three-year undercover operation into an illegal gun trafficking ring in southeast Queens netted four indictments and a fifth arrest, according to officials.

The investigation began in August 2009 after the DA’s office received a tip of the illegal operation. Over the next three years agents conducted several undercover transactions with the defendants. Twenty firearms were seized during the investigation.

“We must remain vigilant in our efforts to keep illegal firearms out of the hands of criminals and off of the streets of Queens,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.

The illicit sales regularly occurred in public places during daylight hours, Brown said. Some of the defendants also face charges of selling cocaine.

“One year ago, Det. Peter Figoski was killed by a suspect who wielded an illegal firearm. It is in his legacy and on behalf of New Yorkers’ safety that NYPD investigators work tirelessly to prevent other families from suffering the same fate,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Manuel DeJesus Caballero-Castillo, 24, Emilio Lopez, 38, Miguel Angel Tatis, 50, and Jose Toledo, 26, were indicted on charges of criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of pistol ammunition. If convicted, Tatis faces up to 15 years in prison and the three-co-defendants face up to seven years behind bars. Enrique Ramos was also arrested and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance.

The investigation was conducted by the New York City Police Department’s Queens District Attorney’s Squad.

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 52. West wind 8 to 13 mph. Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 39. Northwest wind around 9 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Carols ‘n’ Cookies ‘n’ Cocoa ‘n’ Cheer

Celebrate the season with warm wishes, delicious treats and the renowned choral group Voices That Blend. There will also be an Aquinas Honor Society video presentation of Jacob’s Gift, the story of how Jacob Riis brought Christmas caroling to the U.S. in 1911. Free admission and free parking on the grounds.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Gov. Cuomo, Gov. Christie and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy demand quick action from Congress to provide $60 billion in disaster aid for states devastated by Sandy

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and 125 powerful CEOs issued an extraordinary plea to Congress on Thursday, demanding quick action on $60 billion in disaster aid for states devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Read more: Daily News

Five people arrested in Queens gun-trafficking crackdown

Authorities say five people have been arrested in a crackdown on gun trafficking in southeast Queens. The arrests were announced Thursday by District Attorney Richard A. Brown and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Read more: NY Post

Air Serv JFK security workers vote to authorize strike

Security workers at JFK Airport who work for Air Serv authorized a strike Thursday for December 20, the middle of the Christmas rush, if their concerns are not addressed. The officers employed by Global Elite will vote Friday. Read more: NY1

‘Drunk’ driver in fatal Queensboro Bridge crash faces up to 25 years in jail after turning down plea deal

A man who turned down a six-month plea deal after cops said he drunkenly drove his car off a Queensboro Bridge ramp — killing a pedestrian and destroying two businesses – now faces up to 25 years in jail. Read more: NY Post

Benefit events the next step in Sandy recovery

The hammers and work gloves are giving way to guitars and open wallets. Now that the initial chaos and cleanup has subsided, local groups and officials are shifting their focus toward galas and concerts to benefit those whose lives were torn asunder by Superstorm Sandy. Read more: Daily News

Queens nightclub owner acquitted in Teaneck double-homicide

Jurors in Hackensack on Thursday acquitted a Queens nightclub owner of a double street killing in Teaneck, rejecting prosecutors’ arguments that a cocaine scheme gone awry, an electronic trail to the crime scene, and his conflicting statements to police proved his guilt. Read more: The Record

Susan Rice pulls out as candidate for Secretary of State

Embattled UN Ambassador Susan Rice has taken her name out of the race for secretary of state, three months after her controversial comments on the Benghazi attack, according to broadcast reports today. Read more: NY Post

 

Elmhurst dad pleads guilty to violently shaking baby daughter


| mchan@queenscourier.com

An Elmhurst father, whose infant daughter remains on life support after he violently shook, her has pleaded guilty to felony assault and will be sentenced to 14 years in prison, the district attorney said.

Israel Garcia, 28, pleaded guilty in Queens Supreme Court on November 19 to first-degree assault and admitted to violently shaking his then two-month old daughter last May to stop her from crying, District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

Maria Gordillo — Garcia’s biological daughter — suffered permanent life-threatening injuries, Brown said, including bleeding in the brain and left eye, multiple rib fractures and various bruises on her left foot and back.

The injuries were determined to be consistent with non-accidental inflicted abusive head trauma, including shaken baby syndrome, according to a criminal complaint.

“Shaken baby syndrome is the leading cause of child abuse deaths each year,” Brown said. “Its victims are innocent and helpless children, often injured by those charged to protect them.”

Garcia said he was tired and frustrated from work on May 28, when he came home and heard his daughter crying. He admitted to forcefully grabbing and squeezing her around the torso and repeatedly moving her up and down for about three minutes until she stopped crying and appeared to be asleep, a criminal complaint said.

The Queens dad then confessed he saw the baby’s head moving back and forth before she stopped breathing and went limp, the district attorney said.

Justice Elisa Koenderman indicated she would condemn Garcia — who has agreed to make an educational video on shaken baby syndrome — to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced on December 10, Brown said.