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New York Criminal Defense Law Blog

New York landlord pleads guilty to mortgage fraud

On Nov. 27, a well-known New York landlord pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to mortgage fraud. The defendant was also found guilty of attempting to illegally evict tenants from one of his properties earlier in the year.

According to media reports, the defendant was part of an illegal scheme to use fake loan documents to bilk money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He pleaded guilty to charges of mortgage fraud, forgery and grand larceny.

Getting your rights back after drug convictions

If you receive a conviction for a serious drug offense, you can expect that it will impact numerous areas of your life. From your ability to find a job to your ability to secure housing or student loans, a serious drug conviction can have severe collateral consequences that can impact your life for many years and even permanently.

Just what are collateral consequences for drug crimes, and is there any way to avoid them?

Federal carjacking offenses

In New York, carjacking is a crime that can be prosecuted under state law. It may also be prosecuted as a federal offense if certain circumstances apply. People who are charged with carjacking under federal law may face substantial penalties if they are convicted of the offense.

Carjacking is codified at 18 U.S.C. § 2119. Under this federal law, people may be found to be guilty of carjacking if they take vehicles that have been shipped, transported or received via interstate transport from others while the defendants have the intent to cause serious bodily harm or to cause the death of the victims.

Report reveals that black offenders receive harsher sentences

A recent report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission indicates that black men serve longer sentences than white men convicted of the same crimes. The commission is an independent and bipartisan agency of the judicial branch of the federal government. It is tasked with issuing sentencing guidelines and monitoring how closely these guidelines are followed by federal judges in New York and across the country.

The USSC's Demographic Differences in Sentencing report, which is based on data gathered between 2012 and 2016, reveals that the custodial sentences handed down to African American male criminal defendants are 19.1 percent longer on average than those received by white male offenders. The report also suggests that this sentencing disparity cannot be explained by an offender's prior history of violent conduct. When violence is taken into account, the disparity in sentencing between black and white offenders increases to 20.4 percent, according to the USSC.

Uncover investigation brings down alleged drug ring

Several alleged members or associates of New York's Gambino and Bonanno mafia families have been arrested on suspicion of dealing cocaine from a gelato shop and other crimes, according to a federal indictment that was unsealed on Nov. 9. The arrests were the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation into the crime organization.

Court documents show that four defendants, ranging in age from 44 to 54, were taken into custody in New York on Nov. 8. They were arraigned in Brooklyn on Nov. 9. Nine other defendants were apprehended in Canada. According to the indictment, two of the defendants are accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine from a gelato shop located in New York City. The indictment also accuses various defendants of laundering $250,000 in cash, conducting a loansharking scheme with interest rates of up to 54 percent and being a felon in possession of multiple firearms.

Trump's campaign chairman accused of money laundering

New York residents may be interested to learn that, on Sept. 30, it was reported that Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, was accused of laundering more than $18 million by placing the funds in offshore accounts. It was believed that he used these funds to purchase numerous multi-million dollar properties and other luxury goods and services.

The federal indictment was filed as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to the indictment, the former chairman of the Trump campaign then allegedly borrowed millions in loans, thereby obtaining funds that were not reported on his tax returns. He used the funds that had been hidden away to continue to enjoy a lavish lifestyle. He was also accused of purchasing some of his New York City properties through shell companies to hide his identity. The government was looking to seize some of the property due to the failure to obtain tax.

Nonlegal consequences of a drug conviction

When you face drug charges, you are already aware of possible jail time, high fines, a criminal record and other legal consequences. Perhaps these do not even bother you that much, or you do not see the point in trying to fight a likely conviction.

However, a conviction for any drug charge carries lifelong consequences outside the reach of the judicial system. Knowing what they are can help convince you to spend the time, effort and money on hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer to aggressively defend your rights.

Study finds race to be an issue in plea deals

Criminal case defendants in New York may be more likely to be offered favorable plea deals if they are white. A study of over 30,000 misdemeanors in Wisconsin found that white defendants had more than a 70 percent higher chance of being offered a dismissal, reduction or dropping of charges than black defendants.

Bail is another issue that could be affected by race. Lower-income defendants are more likely to be black, and they are less likely to be able to pay bail. Therefore, they might end up agreeing to a plea deal just so they can get out of jail. White defendants, on the other hand, are more likely to be able to afford bail and an attorney to look into the charges. White defendants who did not have a criminal history were also more likely than black defendants to get reduced charges. The researcher concluded that race is a factor in prosecutors' assessments of recidivism when considering pleas.

10 facing federal drug charges for shipping marijuana

On Oct. 19, New York law enforcement officers reported that 10 gang members from the Bronx were taken into custody for drug crimes. They were reportedly accused of shipping thousands of pounds of marijuana to New York from California. Authorities said the marijuana had an estimated value of $22 million.

According to authorities, more than 6,600 pounds of marijuana were sent to businesses and homes in New Rochelle, Manhattan and the Bronx. The marijuana was then brought to stash houses so that it could be distributed to dealers and other customers.

Dentist pleads guilty to meth and child porn charges

A New York dentist pleaded guilty to drug and child pornography charges on Oct. 10, according to federal prosecutors. He was arrested and charged with the crimes two years ago.

Federal authorities in Brooklyn announced that the defendant, age 61, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of child pornography. They said that the dentist, who had been in practice for more than 30 years, threw salacious parties where he distributed meth to guests. He also collected and viewed child pornography.

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