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New York Criminal Defense Law Blog

Four arrested for defrauding Hurricane Sandy program

On Feb. 15, New York officials announced the arrest of four individuals accused of defrauding the Build It Back program, an initiative designed to help property owners rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. The alleged schemes resulted in the theft of $300,000 in disaster relief funds and the attempted theft of $1 million in property.

According to the Queens District Attorney's Office, three of the defendants illegally received disaster relief funds after filing fraudulent repair applications to the program. A 67-year-old Brooklyn man received $125,802, a 73-year-old East Meadow man received $86,560 and a 54-year-old Syosset man received $66,371. All three are charged with second-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. If convicted, they face up to 19 years in prison.

Authorities indict 32 people for drug trafficking

In early February, 32 people were charged with international drug trafficking, according to New York City prosecutors. Authorities seized more than 103 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, worth around $22 million, in the operation.

Officials from the Bronx District Attorney's office said the drug trafficking ring involved the transportation of opioids from Honduras, through Mexico and then to California, where the drugs would be loaded onto tractor-trailers bound for New York. Authorities said a 37-year-old Fort Lee resident was charged with arranging the transport of the drugs into the United States. He was allegedly observed selling drugs from his family's restaurant on Fordham Road. Federal DEA agents and NYPD officers confiscated $32,420 during a raid of his apartment.

Dealing with the comeback of an old favorite: heroin

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deaths from opioid use is at an all-time high. In 2014, 47,000 people died from drug overdose. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden remarked that the statistics illustrate the need for law enforcement to intensify efforts "to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl and other illegal opioids." The fact is that since 2000, there has been a 200 percent increase in deaths involving opioid pain relievers such as heroin. This drug, which has been around for more than a century, is among the most popular illegal substances found in New York.

Signs of investment fraud

New York residents may have heard about Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme. In a Ponzi scheme, funds from new investors are used to pay off previous investors. This type of investment fraud usually collapses when there is no new money coming in. One of the signs of such a scheme is that the investment has relatively little risk and a high rate of return. In most cases, only high-risk investments offer high rates of return.

If an investment offers the same level of return each year, it could be a part of a Ponzi scheme. While the market may offer similar rates of return over long periods of time, growth rarely occurs in a straight line. Before putting any money into an investment, it may be worthwhile to check if it is registered with the SEC. Furthermore, the person or entity offering the investment should also be registered with the SEC.

Major pain pill trafficking ring busted

On Jan. 23, it was reported that a New York drug dealing ring that was responsible for pushing more than 160,000 oxycodone pills was busted by the authorities. Two individuals who were thought to be the leaders were taken into police custody at their homes.

Authorities stated that the alleged ringleaders would send out runners to different pharmacies throughout New York City. The runners were provided with fake prescription notes from one doctor's office. It was believed that the runners had approximately 1,000 prescriptions fulfilled between late 2011 and early 2017. In August 2016, the ring did scale back slightly when state officials created the I-STOP program, which gave pharmacies the ability to track a person's prescription history.

Obama commutes hundreds of drug-related sentences

New York law enforcement officials probably heard that on his last full day in office, Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 330 inmates serving sentences for drug crimes. During his tenure in office, Obama had argued that there were systemic problems that led to harsh sentencing, but he was unable to push reforms through Congress. However, he commuted more sentences than any other president in history, a total of more than 1,700.

August had been set as the deadline for applying for a commutation before Obama left office, and applications came pouring in. The cases of all of the inmates whose sentences were commuted were fully reviewed by Obama, and he tended to choose people who had shown an effort to change their lives. Those applying for commutation were also required to have good behavior and to have served at least 10 years of their sentence although there were exceptions.

Football player charged with marijuana possession

New York football fans may have heard that Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison was charged with marijuana possession in December 2016. The charge stemmed from a traffic stop in September 2016 that took place on Interstate 43 near Francis Creek. He was stopped after police witnessed his Dodge going 81 miles per hour. The posted speed limit on that stretch of highway was 70 miles per hour.

According to police, an officer smelled marijuana in the player's car upon first contact. While the player initially denied having marijuana in his vehicle, police found three cigars, and two of them contained a material that tested positive for THC. He was then taken into custody and transported to Manitowoc County Jail where he was given a citation for speeding and posted a $100 bond.

Is it legal for law enforcement to use drug dogs to search your property?

Criminal law is quite complex, to say the least. There are state and federal laws that govern how law enforcement can act. Then, there are court rulings that apply to these laws. This is especially true when it comes to searches and seizures of private property. There are many procedures that must be followed for the search to be considered legal and constitutional. When the police use dogs to search for drugs, the same is true. The legality of the search depends on many different factors, from federal and state law to the Constitution.

Man enters plea to evading New York state taxes on $18.5 million

A former executive of an energy company entered a guilty plea to diverting $18.5 million in profits to a foreign company in order to evade New York state taxes. The agreement was entered into on Jan. 4 in New York Supreme Court.

The man, an Australian citizen, was the former chief executive officer and the only shareholder of Glacial Energy Holdings, a company that is incorporated in Nevada. In his plea, he agreed that he would pay $670,000 in restitution for taxes that he admitted evading in the tax years of 2006 through 2008. In December 2015, Glacial Energy of New York, a wholly owned subsidiary, also pleaded guilty to tax fraud in the state.

Additional arrests in drug ring

The Metro-Jackson Task Force has stated five additional individuals have been indicted as a result of the crackdown on an organization that was selling illicit drugs in Watertown, New York. This is following the 13 charges that were filed the week before against the 33-year-old ringleader, a man from the same city.

Law enforcement officials stated they had been investigating the drug organization for many months. Some of the individuals who have been arrested are associated with organized gangs that are linked to the New York City area.

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