SEX TRAFFICING OF PHILADELPHIA TEEN

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

Two East New York men have been variously charged in a 39-count indictment with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, rape, and other charges for allegedly sex trafficking an 18-year-old girl and promoting the prostitution of eight others, ranging in age from 15 to 21 years old.

“These defendants allegedly preyed on vulnerable young women, luring them to New York City to work as prostitutes – and in several cases drugging and using physical violence against those who refused. I intend to hold them fully accountable for these despicable acts,” said Acting District Attorney Gonzalez.

The defendants have been identified, by the Distract Attorney, as Jonathan Harris, a.k.a., Jayo, 25, of East New York, Brooklyn, and Tariq Washington, a.k.a., Ricky, 23, also of East New York. Yesterday Washington was held on $250,000 bail and arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte. Harris was held on $250,000 bail and arraigned on Friday, July 21, 2017 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Brennan. They would have to register as sex offenders and each face up to 25 years in prison, if convicted of the top count. The indictment variously charges them with endangering the welfare of a child and related charges, sex trafficking, second-, third- and fourth-degree promoting prostitution, first-degree rape, and second-degree assault.

According to the investigation, between March 2015 and December 2016, the defendants prostituted nine young women, most of whom were ages 15 and 16, in Brooklyn, after luring most of them to the city from out of state, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cleveland, states The Acting District Attorney. It is alleged that the defendants found the women on Backpage.com and they then texted them and invited them to come to New York to be prostituted, sending them bus tickets and then posting their photos on Backpage.com.

It is alleged that the defendants drove the women to various motels in Brooklyn and elsewhere that they rented for them and where men paid to have sex with them.

Furthermore, according to the investigation, it is alleged that the defendants physically assaulted the women and gave the girls drugs if they refused to work as prostitutes.

After the 17-year-old-friend was allegedly contacted by Washinton she brought with her an 18-year-old sex trafficking victim and both were lured to Brooklyn. The younger girl left after a few days and returned to Philadelphia. The 18-year-old, escaped and went to the police for help two months later, after being allegedly beaten and raped by Harris.

Detective David Mills and Detective James Rufle of the Human Trafficking Team in the New York City Police Department investigated the case, under the supervision of Sergeant Faoud Zahirudin, Lieutenant Christopher Sharpe and Captain Thomas Milano, and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein.

KCDA Digital Forensic Analyst Thomas Woodburn assisted in the investigation.

The Acting District Attorney thanked Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore field offices for their assistance in the investigation.

Senior Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Edidin, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau will be prosecuting the case.

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STOLEN ARTWORK FROM PROMINENT NEW YORK COLLECTION IS ILLEGALLY SOLD BY QUEENS MAN

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

On July 20th, 2017 Queens, New York resident, LEON ZINDER, pled guilty in a Manhattan federal court to the interstate sale of stolen property in connection with his theft and attempted sale of more then a dozen works of art, announced Joon H. Kim, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”),

“As he admitted today, LEON ZINDER stole works of art worth more than $600,000 from his former employer, which he then sought to sell through a flea market in Manhattan.  Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the FBI, nearly all of these works have been recovered, and will be returned to their rightful owner,” said, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.

“Today’s plea marks the end of LEON ZINDER’s tall tales of discovering treasured art pieces that were really in fact stolen from his employer with the goal of reselling to profit himself. We applaud the art dealer who brought this case to our attention after realizing ZINDER’s stories behind the art were really too good to be true,” states FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr.

LEON ZINDER was employed as an art handler from approximately July 2010 through April 2012, by a New York-based company that manages an extensive art collection consisting of thousands of individual artworks. The artwork included an extensive collection of Native-American and African ethnographic artwork (the “Company”). ZINDER stole more than 70 works of art from facilities maintained by the Company during his time working there.

ZINDER sold the stolen artwork through a consignment relationship with an art dealer who conducted his business through an outdoor flea market in lower Manhattan (the “Dealer”) beginning in approximately September of 2015 through October 2016. ZINDER falsely claimed he had obtained the works from the elderly widow of a sheriff in Phoenix, Arizona, and from a storage-unit close-out sale, as part of his efforts to sell the stolen artwork.

More than a dozen of these works that ZINDER attempted to sell were worth more than $600,000, through the Dealer. This included at least three items that ZINDER had stolen from the Company’s Greenwich, Connecticut, facility and transported to Manhattan: a Fang Reliquary Guardian Head statue valued at approximately $85,000; a Native-American Mask valued at approximately $75,000; and a Pende mask valued at approximately $5,000.

It’s a good thing that the Dealer was aware that several of the artworks he had helped ZINDER to sell had been reported stolen by the Company.  At that point, the Dealer contacted the FBI and began assisting in the subsequent investigation, including turning over the majority of the stolen works to the FBI.

At the age of 48, LEON ZINDER faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the defendant’s gross gain or twice the victim’s gross loss resulting from the defendant’s conduct, whichever is greater. ZINDER will to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood on a date to be determined. Mr. Kim thanked the FBI’s Art Crime Team for its outstanding work on this matter.

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WILL PROTECTION FROM MOSQUITOES HELP OR HARM LONG ISLAND RESIDENTS?

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

As part of their ongoing annual efforts to control adult mosquitoes, The Suffolk County Department of Public Works is planning to treat sections of the following communities; weather permitting.

The following treatments are for Vector Control:

On July 19, 2017, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. all streets in the communities of Ocean Bay Park, Ocean Beach and Seaview on Fire Island will be treated.

On July 20, 2016, 7:00 p.m. –11:30 p.m. all streets south of Montauk Highway from Bayview Avenue to the Connetquot River, including Heckscher State Park and Timber Point County Park in Great River and East Islip will be treated.

 On July 20, 2016, 7:00 p.m. –11:30 p.m.  all streets South of Montauk Highway from South Ketchum Avenue east to Tanner Park and Baylawn Avenue in Brookhaven Hamlet will be treated.

On July 20, 2017, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. all streets within the communities of Fire Island Pines, Water Island, Summer Club and Atlantique on Fire Island. 

On July 21, 2017, 5:00 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. all streets within the communities of The West Sayville County Park and Golf Course will be treated. 

On July 21, 2017, 5:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. all streets in the community of West Gilgo Beach will also be treated.

All of the communities listed will be treated with an Ultra Low Volume Aerosol called, Anvil (sumithrin) that will be applied to the ground.

They claim your chances of experiencing any health effects from spraying are quite low. However, protecting yourself in the following ways will help you reduce possible exposure to pesticides before, during or after spraying.

The steps they are urging residents to take are to remain inside or avoid the area whenever spraying takes place and for about 30 minutes after spraying. Especially children and pregnant women should be careful to avoid exposure when practical. If possible, Close windows and doors and close the vents of window air-conditioning units to circulate indoor air or, before spraying begins, turn them off. Windows and air-conditioning vents can be reopened about 30 minutes after spraying. If you come in direct contact with pesticide spray, protect your eyes. If you get pesticide spray in your eyes, immediately rinse them with water. Wash exposed skin. Wash clothes that come in direct contact with spray separately from other laundry. Consult your health care provider if you think you are experiencing health effects from spraying.

Some steps you may also want to take are by picking homegrown fruits and vegetables you expect to eat soon before spraying takes place. Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables (in fact all produce) thoroughly with water before cooking or eating. Bring laundry and small toys inside before spraying begins. (Wash with detergent and water if exposed to pesticides during spraying.) Bring pet food and water dishes inside, and cover ornamental fishponds during the spray period to avoid direct exposure. The materials used by Vector Control do not leave significant residues on surfaces, but precautions should always be taken to reduce exposure as much as possible.

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LIIFE IS HAPPENING IN LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK

By R. J. NICHOLAS

LIIFE is currently celebrating it’s 20th year in existence in Bellmore Long Island, NY between July 12 – 20, 2017. Each year LIIFE attracts short and feature-length independent films from around the world, spotlighting films made on Long Island and concluding with a star-studded award celebration happening this evening, July 20th at 5:00PM.

Director of the Nassau County Film Office, Debra Markowitz presides over the Nassau County Film Commission, now known as the Nassau County Film Advisory Board, and chairs as its Executive Director. Ms. Markowitz is also the Vice President of the Long Island Film/TV Foundation, Long Island’s most established and largest not-for-profit agency dedicated to the support and promotion of independent filmmaking. Under her directorship, the Foundation spawned the Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE.)

The independent films that screened at this expo the past week were powerful and thought provoking while the cinematography, editing and sound quality of each film was superb. You didn’t realize you were attending an independent film festival until the hosts invited the filmmakers up for a Question and Answer session. Actresses Trish Appello & Danielle Nicolette Najarian brought the stage to LIIFE this week with their upbeat introductions of each film block and their comedic, fun loving personalities that united the audience and filmmakers during the conclusion of each event.

The panels that were held throughout the day in the filmmakers lounge next door were extremely informative and highly educational. They empowered beginning filmmakers and even re-energized the most experienced of Hollywood professionals that were in attendance. Filmmakers were interviewed throughout the day in the filmmakers lounge headed by Director of Photography, John Marean, red carpet host and actress, Danielle Nicolette Najarian and LIIFE’s resident interviewer, Kyra. The filmmakers lounge also housed the opening night gala, a filmmakers breakfast Sunday morning and a beer and wine bar that was open and available to filmmakers throughout the week.

Ms. Markowitz has steadily increased production of movies, television programs and commercials that are shot in Nassau County, logging over 650 production days and over $80M in positive economic impact. Under her auspices, Nassau County currently ranks #2 in New York State for the amount of documented production days, second only to New York City.

Debra Markowitz is also a freelance writer and novelist. The third book in her trilogy (following Naked in the Rain and Sarah and Caleb), Karmic Wind is set for release in 2013. For a complete list of her work, please visit her site, www.debramarkowitz.com.

Ms. Markowitz’s name can be found on the Long Island Press’ Power List, 50 Long Islanders Who Control Our Lives (2003 and 2012); Beverly Fortune’s 52 (2006); as the recipient of the prestigious George M. Estabrook Alumni Award for Distinguished Service (Hofstra University, 2011) and the 2012 Long Island Arts Council honoree as its Outstanding Advocate for the Arts.

Ms. Markowitz has acted as Casting Director, consultant, writer and producer on movie, television and commercial projects individually and with CastingKarma. She is one woman who has surely changed the quality of life for the film industry in Long Island, NY and is also doing a fine job conquering and mastering this experience we all like to call… LIIFE.

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PSEG CREATES A VOLUNTARY AIR CONDITIONING CYCLING PROGRAM FOR LONG ISLAND

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

Today’s high summer temperatures and high humidity on the east coast will not effect the residents of Long Island, NY. On August, 12th, 2016 PSEG Long Island activated a voluntary Thermostat Energy Conservation Program and Smart Savers program to reduce loading on the system, helping to create savings for customers. Since then about 28 MW were reduced in 2016 during peak times over the summer months. Thus equipping Long Island with enough electric capacity to meet customer demands for today’s high temperatures and high humidity.

 

Michael Voltz, director of energy efficiency and renewable energy for Long Island said, “In order to generate the most savings for our customers the voluntary program needs to be implemented on the highest load day of the summer. Today’s high temperatures and high humidity have the potential to create higher loads with the possibility of being the highest peak load this summer.”

 

The most savings for Long Island customers will occur if implemented on the highest load day of the summer. PSEG Long Island’s load forecasts and state-mandated capacity requirements are based on peak-usage levels from previous years. To lower the amount of power to be purchased in advance for next summer residents must reduce peak usage in the present year.

There are two programs Long Island residents can participate in between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. dependent upon the program they are enrolled in. One will experience a four degree increase in temperature setting or a 30 minute on- and off- cycling of their central AC systems. Air conditioner fans will operate continuously to circulate cool air. So far approximately 35,000 customers have elected to participate.

Today’s projected capacity savings is for approximately 34MW which would equate to about $2.2 million savings in 2018. Activating this program can also allow PSEG Long Island to fully assess the program’s capability to reduce demand in cases of emergency need to help maintain reliability. Scattered heat-related outages are sometimes caused by high temperatures and high electric demands.

Customers who experience an outage should call 1-800- 490-0075.

If you have any questions, please call PSEG Long Island’s Smart Savers Thermostat Program Infoline at 1-866-547-2334 or PSEG Long Island’s Energy Efficiency Infoline at 1-800-692-2626. For more information on the program, visit https://www.psegliny.com/page.cfm/Efficiency/CoolingHeating.

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ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY HAS HIDDEN ROOTS IN NEW JERSEY

By R. J. NICHOLAS

10 to 15 years ago New Jersey was known to tourists for it’s beaches and an industrialized town that housed The Newark International Airport (EWR). Meanwhile, New Jersey is a beautiful state rich with fertile farms, lush forests and intimate towns that are safe environments for raising families. It was the natural beauty of New Jersey that earned it’s name, “The Garden State.” The exquisite look of New Jersey also made it a perfect back drop for some of Hollywood’s biggest movies.

Many may not realize that Thomas Edison built the first movie studio, the Black Maria, in West Orange, NJ in 1893 before there ever was a place called, “Hollywood.” Los Angeles, California’s dry climate and more ideal weather conditions is what eventually drew the entertainment industry to the West Coast. Unfortunately, Hollywood has spent the last decade focusing it’s attention on reality television and recycling movies over and over again that many filmmakers have returned to the original state where movies were once made.

Some classic movies that were filmed in New Jersey include the 1982 musical Annie which was filmed at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. The million dollar Warbucks estate that houses the marble steps Annie tap-danced down in the film, is the main building on campus called Wilson Hall (formerly Shadow Lawn). The classic mob movie, Goodfellas (1990) filmed several scenes near Fort Lee and Marlboro, NJ. Princeton University is another college campus that housed the Academy Award winning movie, A Beautiful Mind (2001). The movie also shot in Jersey City, East Orange, Belleville, Newark, and on Farleigh Dickinson University’s campus. The 1979 Horror Movie, The Amityville Horror was filmed in Toms River, at a riverside house right along the familiar Garden State Parkway. Other scenes were filmed in Lakewood and Point Pleasant. Even a critically acclaimed independent movie, The Station Agent (2003), was filmed in various locations throughout the Garden State along with many other independent films currently in production today.

Although New Jersey housed the first movie studio in the 19th century it’s citizens still remain humble enough to house and support up-and-coming independent filmmakers today. There are numerous Film Festivals all throughout the state and filmmakers are always able to find a great backdrop to film in every town they come across. Many films are currently lined up for production in 2017 across the Garden State. Horror films like, The Gift, The Bookworm, Abducted and Endangered are being filmed in towns like Bloomfield and Paramus, NJ. While Sci Fi, Action Adventure films like the Five in Merseyside is getting ready to create an entire town on a few hundred acres of gorgeous farmland in Wall, NJ. Even a television pilot titled, Absynthia was filmed in Teaneck, Hackensack and Wall, NJ and is considered the next FireFly.

Even the talent that is cultivated in New Jersey’s Garden State are individuals who are so legendary and memorable it has been hard to replicate their abilities and the impact they have made across the globe. Recording artists like Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Whitney Houston are only a few who have touched others with their music. Award winning actors such as Frank Langella, Jack Nicholson, Ray Liotta, Meryl Streep, and Bruce Willis have left lasting imprints on peoples hearts and minds with the roles they’ve brought to life. The next generation of musicians, actors and filmmakers that are rising up out of Jersey are already known throughout the state for their outstanding abilities and accomplishments in their field. Some of these Jersey grown natives are writer / director Trifon Dimitropoulos of Red Bank, NJ; actress / writer / producer Danielle Nicolette Najarian of Bergen County, NJ; and musician / actor / director Thomas Ryan of Bloomfield, NJ.

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HEALTHCARE WORKERS PICKET NURSING HOME AT THE GRAND AT PAWLING, NY

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

On July 6, 2017 nursing home workers at The Grand at Pawling, NY took a stand for their rights and picketed outside of the building on Thursday afternoon between 2:30PM and 4:30PM. These healthcare workers had made numerous attempts to get management to address their concerns of below market union wages, unaffordable health benefits and persistent disrespect for caregivers. However, management has failed to respond to their efforts to bargain a collective bargaining agreement that will ensure a fair workplace with livable wages and affordable benefits.

1199SEIU members have been trying to address frequent turnover, safe staffing and its connection to quality care, through contract negotiations for 3 years. Their efforts have been met with management placing obstacles in their way at every opportunity of a settlement.  Workers will picket on their own time during a break, lunch or a day off since this is an informational picket and not a strike.

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WOMAN ESCORTED TO TRAIN STATION BY BRONX MAN WHO RAPED HER

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

On June 9, 2017 Francisco Delarosa was convicted of first-degree crimes of Rape, Criminal Sexual Act, Petit Larceny and Sexual Abuse of a woman who asked him for directions to the train station in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. The 32-year-old victim was walking down the street. She asked the defendant where the train station was, and the defendant offered to show her. He then dragged her into an abandoned alleyway where he raped and sexually abused her. After a two week trial Delarosa has been sentenced to 23 years in prison and upon release he will have to register as a sex offender.

This horrifying crime shocked the community with its randomness and brutality. A jury convicted the defendant and now he will spend 23 years in prison, which we hope will bring a measure of justice to his courageous victim and assure the community the streets are safer with this predator behind bars,” stated District Attorney Clark.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Gabrielle E. Martin and Benjamin K. Kleinman of the Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Rachel Ferrari, Chief of Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Bureau, and the overall supervision of Joseph Muroff, Chief of the Special Victims Division. District Attorney Clark also thanked NYPD Detective Diane Crowley, formerly of the Bronx Special Victims Unit, for her work on the case.

 

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FORMER CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT OF HOBOKEN, NJ FOUND GUILTY FOR PARTICIPATION IN CAR LOAN SCHEME

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

On June 22, 2017 a federal jury found former, City Council President and attorney in Hoboken, New Jersey Christopher Campos guilty of bank wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.

Christopher Campos, Julio Alvarez and their co-conspirators fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in car loans based on false representations that the straw buyers would use the cars for their personal use, when in fact, Campos and his co-conspirators obtained the vehicles in order to lease them as livery cabs. They used at least 20 straw buyers to acquire more than 200 new automobiles.

Between approximately October 2012 and September 2013, Campos and Alvarez enlisted and aided individuals with good credit histories (“straw buyers”) to submit fraudulent car loan applications to numerous lenders in order to secure financing in connection with the purchase of these new cars. Straw buyers were sent to several car dealerships throughout New York City in order to obtain new vehicles. Dealership employees then helped straw buyers submit fraudulent loan applications.

Rather then stating that the vehicles would be used as part of the defendants’ leasing business, the straw buyers submitted auto loan applications falsely stating that the vehicles would be used for the buyers’ personal use. The car loan applications misrepresented personal information about the straw buyers including their incomes and assets. Financing applications were then sent to multiple financial institutions at the same time so the lenders would not figure out that the straw buyers were incurring obligations to other lenders for the purchase of multiple new automobiles. All of this was under the direction of Campos. Approximately 20 other straw buyers aided Campos and Alvarez in the purchase of about 200 new vehicles and more than $7 million in fraudulently obtained loans which ultimately went into default.

The trial went on for about a week and took place before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who is scheduled to sentence Campos on September 20, 2017. Julio Alvarez, is scheduled to be sentenced on September 8, 2017 before Judge Caproni and has pled guilty to bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud on June 9, 2017. The conspiracy and bank fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and the wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

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HEROIN CONSPIRACY INVOLVING UTICA MALE

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt announced yesterday that a federal jury in Syracuse, New York convicted Luis Estela of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin after a two-day trial.

July 2015, Mr. Estela became a member of a heroin trafficking organization operating in Utica and Rome, New York based on evidence that was presented at trial. The evidence shed light on the fact that the defendant helped the organization package heroin and assisted in selling drugs along the Erie Canal Trail in Rome.

On November 9, 2017 Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby will sentence Estela who faces a fine of up to $1,000,000, up to 20 years in prison, and a term of supervised release of at least 3 years and up to life. This case was investigated by the New York State Police-Community Narcotics Enforcement Team-Central (NYSP-CNET), the DEA, the City of Rome Police Department, City of Utica Police Department, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, and Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Levine and Carla Freedman.

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