Tag Archives: scheme

Jamaica man charged in check depositing scheme: DA


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via FlickrCreativeCommons/TaxCredits.net

A Jamaica man and a Long Island woman have been busted for a scam that included depositing fake checks and then withdrawing cash before the checks bounced, prosecutors announced.

Milton Robinson, 27, of 110th Avenue, and Shaquanaisa Morris, 24, of Freeport are both charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property in the scam.

“The man and woman charged in this scheme allegedly victimized not only the banks where the account was held, but also individuals, who are now on the hook for the cash essentially stolen from the bank. Even after the culprits have been prosecuted, the victims will face years of financial adversity and fallout from the alleged scam.” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

According to the charges, Morris shared a joint checking account at Citi Bank with the victim. That account averaged a daily balance of less than $10, but on July 30, 2014, two withdrawals were allegedly made for $986 from a Chase Bank ATM in Queens. Less than 15 minutes later, a $976 money order was purchased with Morris’ debit card from a check cashing business, prosecutors said, and that money order was then cashed about 25 minutes later at a different check cashing place.

Video surveillance allegedly shows Morris and Robinson using her debit card to make the cash withdrawals at an ATM, and shows Morris purchasing the money order.

The six checks deposited into the Citibank account were allegedly drawn from a non-existing account at a different bank.

The next day, according to the district attorney, Morris deposited a check at an ATM at 6:12 a.m. made out to her and drawn from the account of a second victim for $1,400. Video surveillance allegedly shows Morris, with Robinson, withdrawing $1,000 from a different ATM at 6:20 a.m. and at 6:24 a.m. making another cash withdrawal for $1,200. But the second victim said she did not write the check and does not know Morris or Robinson.

Morris was arraigned on Aug. 6 and released on her own own recognizance. Robinson was arraigned the following day and currently being held on $30,000 bail. If convicted, both defendants face up to seven years in prison.

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Queens doctors charged in multimillion-dollar Brooklyn Medicaid fraud ring


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

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Several Queens medical practitioners were among 23 people indicted in Brooklyn for allegedly scamming the Medicaid system out of nearly $7 million and offering free sneakers to low-income and homeless people in exchange for undergoing unnecessary medical tests and treatments, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced Tuesday.

The 199-count indictment alleges the defendants carried out a scheme in which Medicaid recipients from low-income neighborhoods, homeless shelters and welfare offices were recruited to undergo unnecessary medical tests, and the patients received free footwear such as sneakers, shoes and boots.

Participating patients were taken to a clinic and examined by a podiatrist. The physicians then supplied the patients, even though they did not have foot problems, with footwear and medical equipment such ankle braces, knee braces or orthotic insoles.

According to the indictment, the defendants then allegedly submitted more than $6.9 million in fraudulent claims to Medicaid, Medicaid-managed health care organizations and Medicare for the medical devices.

“These defendants allegedly exploited the most vulnerable members of our society and raked in millions of dollars by doing so,” Thompson said. “The many poor people who were allegedly targeted at homeless shelters, welfare offices and soup kitchens and referred to as ‘guinea pigs’ by the defendants were exploited for hours, if not days, just because they needed a pair of shoes. That so many doctors allegedly participated in this elaborate scheme to defraud a health care system designed to help the poor is truly disgraceful.”

Thompson identified Eric Vainer, 43, of Riverside Boulevard, as the alleged mastermind and leader of the scheme, and his mother, Polina Vainer, 66, of Keating Place, in Staten Island, as his second in command.

The Queens defendants are Susan Nutakor-Doh, 48, of Forest Hills; Taesoo Kim, 28, of Long Island City; Dr. Bennu Ogorek, DPM, 64, of Forest Hills; Dr. Avia Jackson, DPM, 43, of Jamaica; and Isaacs, DPM, 63, of Flushing.

Some of the defendants were arraigned on March 31 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on various charges including enterprise corruption, first-degree money laundering, first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree health care fraud, first-degree falsifying business records and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, among several other charges.

The defendants were ordered to return to court on May 19; each faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the enterprise corruption count.

More charges may be forthcoming, as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York reportedly obtained warrants to seize 13 bank accounts into which payments from the defrauded, federally funded programs could be traced.

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Ex-Met Dykstra sentenced to 3 years in Calif. prison for car scam


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Ex-Met Dykstra sentenced to 3 years in Calif. prison for car scam

Former New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra was sentenced Monday to three years in state prison in a grand theft auto case. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig sentenced Dykstra after refusing to allow him to withdraw a no-contest plea. The judge said the theft scheme showed sophistication and extensive planning. Dykstra was immediately remanded to custody and he walked into the court’s back room, hands in his pockets. Read More: New York Post

 

Judge says trustee can go after phony $83M profits Mets owners received from Madoff Ponzi scheme

The Mets’ owners will have to cough up their phony profits from investing with Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, a judge ruled today. But Manhattan federal Judge Jed Rakoff said the exact amount — which Madoff bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard pegged at $83.3 million — “will be determined in a subsequent order and may require further briefing and oral argument.” Read More: New York Post

 

MTA won’t give cancer survivor door-to-door service

It’s been a rough ride for a 69-year-old, retired school teacher from Brooklyn. The MTA is refusing to provide door-to-door “Access-A-Ride” service for ailing grandmother Iris Marcus, who fought off stage-three breast cancer seven years ago but says she can’t walk more than several steps without feeling severe pain from a degenerative back disease and diabetes-induced ulcerated feet. For six years, the Midwood senior relied on Access-A-Ride to commute to her doctors and other destinations. Read More: New York Post

NYPD’s Muslim Surveillance Efforts Get Show Of Support

Muslim leaders joined Long Island Congressman Peter King today in support of the New York City Police Department’s efforts that some say unfairly target Muslims. The group spoke this morning at a news conference outside police headquarters organized by the American Islamic Leadership Coalition. They say the police department’s counter-terrorism efforts – including the monitoring of Muslim communities in and around the city and at area colleges – is necessary to keep New Yorkers safe. Read More: NY1

 

Demi Moore heads home to LA after rehab

Demi Moore has returned to Los Angeles following a stint in rehab. Moore, 49, appeared relaxed and tanned as she emerged from her private plane Sunday evening donning a white sweater and jean shorts with an unidentified man as her escort, in photos obtained by TMZ. Read More: New York Post

 

Christina Hendricks, Olivia Munn nude photo scandal: Hacker leaks stars’ racy cell phone pictures online

The two latest victims in Hollywood’s ongoing nude photo hacking scandal, Christina Hendricks and Olivia Munn, are claiming that though some of the released personal photos are of them, others are most definitely not. Namely, the naked ones. A full-frontal nude photo allegedly of Munn, 31, surfaced on the Internet Sunday, but sources close to her deny that the snaps are of the “I Don’t Know How She Does It” actress, according to TMZ. Read More: Daily News

55 gang members busted in $2M ID theft ring involving Jewish charity


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

55 gang members busted in $2M ID theft ring involving Jewish charity

Over 50 gang members have been busted for running an identity theft ring that targeted people who’d given to charity, prosecutors announced today. The Manhattan DA’s office said 55 members of the Bloods, Crips and Outlaws were arraigned after taking part in a check scam. Prosecutors said a worker at the United Jewish Appeal, which is based in Midtown, would photocopy checks the charity received from donors. The employee, Tracy Nelson, allegedly sold the checks to the gang members, who then assumed the identities of those who had donated money. As part of the same ID theft ring, prosecutors said they had also arrested three JP Morgan Chase tellers, a worker at TD Bank and a US postal worker. Read More: New York Post

 

In stunner, Stanford yanks tech-campus bid

After months of pressing its case to open a tech campus in the city, Stanford University abruptly pulled out of the competition Friday. In a statement, Stanford President John Hennessy said, “after several weeks of negotiations with New York City, university leaders and the Stanford Board of Trustees have determined that it would not be in the best interests of the university to continue to pursue the opportunity.” Read More: Crain’s New York

 

The Courier plays Santa for South Queens Boys & Girls Club

The Queens Courier got a sneak peek of what Christmas morning would be like for the youngsters of the South Queens Boys & Girls Club (SQBGC). On Thursday, December 15, Courier reporters — playing Santa and his Christmas elves — distributed hundreds of toys to the club’s underprivileged kids. Read More: Queens Courier

 

DOB Investigates Chelsea Scaffold Collapse

An investigation has been launched after a construction scaffold collapsed onto a busy Manhattan sidewalk during Friday’s morning rush. It happened around 8 a.m. on 14th Street near Seventh Avenue in Chelsea. No one was hurt. “The doorman called up and said we need to evacuate. He didn’t say why. We just looked outside and saw all of the fire trucks and ambulances, so I came down and saw the scaffolding had collapsed,” said one building resident. Read More: NY1

 

Two Missing NJ Girls Found Safe Upstate

Police have tracked down two young New Jersey girls who were the subject of an AMBER Alert earlier this morning. Investigators say Emma Trapp, 5, and her 20-month-old sister Sophia were found unharmed at a motel near Bear Mountain in Orange County. The kids are in the custody right now of the New York State police. Old Bridge police officers and officers, investigators from the Middlesex County prosecutors office are up there right now as well as I understand the FBI,” said Captain Robert Weiss of the Old Bridge Police Department. The girls’ father, Anthony Trapp, 39, was found dead of an apparent suicide inside one of the motel’s rooms. Read More: NY1

 

Bloomberg invites DC lawmakers to attend slain cop’s funeral to highlight illegal gun sales

 

If it were up to him, members of Congress would be attending the funeral of police Officer Peter Figoski to see for themselves the havoc wreaked when an illegal gun falls into the hands of a career criminal. Bloomberg got to discussing illegal weapons in a response to a Tweet on his radio show this morning from a listener asking why the city was wasting so much time pushing for stricter federal gun controls. Read More: Daily News

Shirley Huntley’s Niece, Senior Aide Among Those Indicted In Nonprofit Scheme


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Southeast Queens serial rapist eyed in three attacks 

A stocky rape suspect brutally pounced on a Queens woman from behind, put her in a choke hold on a residential street and tried to rape her, a chilling police video shows. The Wednesday attack happened in southeast Queens around 2 a.m. when the suspect — described by police as a black male, 25-30 years old, 5-feet-5 and 220 pounds — placed a sharp object to the victim’s back Read More: Daily News

NYC Teacher Accused of Loansharking, Steroid Possession

Authorities on Long Island have charged a New York City schoolteacher with loansharking. Sean Harris, 36, of East Meadow, who moonlights as a professional bodybuilder, is a gym teacher at I.S. 141 in Astoria. However, he is not in the school gym these days. He was reassigned to administrative duties elsewhere at the beginning of the school year after being charged with possession of steroids. Read More: Fox News

Check out Darryl Strawberry’s new blog @ the Queens Courier where he discusses the Jose Reyes trade

Police on the lookout for South Richmond Hill rape suspect

Police are requesting the public’s assistance in locating for a South Richmond Hill rape suspect. On Thursday, November 24 at approximately 5:15 a.m. the suspect sexually assaulted a victim in the vicinity of 117thStreet and Liberty Avenue, according to police. The suspect is described as a 23-year-old Hispanic male, standing 5-feet-8-inches tall weighing 165-pounds. Read More: Queens Courier

Queens State Senator’s Niece, Senior Aide Among Those Indicted In Nonprofit Scheme

Four people with ties to Queens State Senator Shirley Huntley have been accused of trying to steal funds intended for a nonprofit she founded. Huntley’s niece and a senior aide are among those indicted. They allegedly conspired to pocket nearly $30,000 in member items earmarked for Parent Workshop Incorporated, a group that Huntley founded prior to joining the legislature. Huntley has not been charged. In a statement, the lawmaker said she’s confident a full investigation will prove she did nothing wrong. Read More: NY1

Three Suspects Sought For Two Armed Robberies In Astoria

Police in Queens were searching Thursday for three people involved in two gunpoint robberies last week. The first incident happened on 27th Street and Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria last Thursday night. Investigators said the suspects pulled a gun on a 33-year-old woman, demanded cash and her cellphone and then ran off. Read More: NY1 Watch the Video: Queens Courier

Long Island City bank robber panicked after he fired his gun at the ceiling

The FBI is hunting for a gun-toting bank robber, who was caught on camera after he fired a shot into the ceiling of a Queens bank to prove he meant business but left without a cent. The bandit, dressed in a dark colored cap, dark framed glasses and a dark jacket and black leather gloves, walked into the HSBC bank on 43rd Avenue near 22nd Street in Long Island City, shortly before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, said authorities. Read More: Daily News

Controller John Liu blasts Parks Dept. for losing big bucks in concessions deals

Mishandling of contracts with eateries, mobile vendors and other concessions run in Queens parks cost the city nearly $730,000 in three years, according to a new audit. Controller John Liu alleges the Parks Department took so long to solicit and award such contracts that it lost $8.8 million across the city during fiscal years 2008 to 2010. The agency missed out on more potential revenue in Queens than in any borough besides Manhattan, according to the damning report. Read More: Daily News

Eighteen people busted in alleged $1.9M auto loan scheme in Queens


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Eighteen people busted in alleged $1.9M auto loan scheme in Queens

Eighteen people were indicted today for their alleged roles in two auto loan fraud schemes that resulted in nearly $2 million in losses, authorities said. Sixteen people have been arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on charges that include grand larceny and possession of stolen property, while two others remain at-large. Twelve of the accused scammers allegedly purchased luxury cars, such as Cadillac Escalades, BMWs and Porsches, between July 2008 and March 2010, officials said. Read More: New York Post

Help for Home Owners

The city is aiming to restore the homeownership hopes of Queens residents hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. Deputy Mayor Robert Steel and New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew Wambua joined Queens elected officials, as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the New York Mortgage Coalition on November 15 to announce the commencement of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) Buyer Assistance Program. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Stabbings Take Place Near Manhattan School

Sources say two teenagers were wounded during an attempted robbery of a jacket near P.S. 153 in Hamilton Heights in Manhattan this afternoon. NY1 has learned one was wounded in the stomach and the other was wounded in the hand. Both were taken to the hospital. Police are looking for two suspects, one male and one female. Read More: NY1

Man Who Funded Terror Plotter To Be Sentenced Today

The man who admitted to illegally transferring money to fund the attempted Times Square bombing is being sentenced in federal court today. Mohammad Younis plead guilty in August to giving Faisal Shahzad $7,000 from Pakistan through an illegal money transfer business. Weeks after Younis gave him the money, Shahzad tried to explode a car bomb in the middle of Times Square last year. Shahzad was caught fleeing the country, later pleaded guilty and is now serving life in prison. Younis faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Read More: NY1

Bronx Man Charged With Murder Of East Harlem College Student

Police have made an arrest in connection with the death of a Manhattan woman. Bakary Camara, a 41-year-old Bronx resident was charged with the murder of 36-year-old Rita Morelli. The Italian college student’s body was found last Wednesday in an apartment on East 120th Street in East Harlem with cuts to her neck. Morelli left her hometown in Italy five years ago to pursue a career in design. Read More: NY1

Baby in trash in upper Manhattan was killed; young mom charged with “self-abortion” 

The young mother of a dead female fetus found in the trash in upper Manhattan has been charged with self-abortion, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Thursday. Yaribely Almonte, 20, wrapped the fetus in plastic and dumped the girl in a bin outside her building on W. 191st. St., near Wadsworth Ave. A man sorting recyclables discovered the child’s lifeless body Tuesday, and Almonte was charged Wednesday night. Under state law, a woman can be charged with self-abortion if the fetus is older than 24 weeks. Read More: Daily News