Last edited on Friday, November 27, 2020, at 9:40 AM.
Welcome to The Blanch Law Firm’s weekly digest of New New York Criminal Cases. Our goal is to keep the public informed as to recent events in federal courts around the country.
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Friday, November 27, 2020
I. Two Charged In Connection With Armed Robberies
Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging Victor Rivera, 29, and Michols Pena, 38, with conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, and firearms offenses. Rivera and Pena were arrested on November 20, 2020.
Pena, who was arrested in Queens, was scheduled to be presented earlier this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein, while Rivera was arrested in Miami and was to be presented early next week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres in the Southern District of Florida. This case is assigned to United States District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.
Rivera and Pena are charged with conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robbery, which means both face up to twenty years in prison. Rivera is also charged with aiding and abetting the use, carrying, and possession of a firearm, which was brandished and discharged in furtherance of a crime of violence, which which means he also faces at least 10 years and up to life in prison.
II. Little Valley Man Arrested, Charged With Production Of Child Pornography And Cyberstalking
On November 23, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Dyllan Barber, 19, of Little Valley, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with production of child pornography and cyberstalking. If convicted, Barber faces at least 15 years and up to 30 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, in November 2019, Barber initiated a conversation with a minor female victim on the Snapchat social media application. Barber used his own Snapchat account during this conversation, but posed as a hacker who had gained control over the account.
The defendant threatened the minor victim to produce and send to him sexually explicit images of herself or else he would publicly release information regarding the minor victim. In response to these threats, the minor victim produced and sent images of herself to Barber as requested.
III. Buffalo Man Indicted For Threatening To Kill Someone On Social Media
On November 23, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that a federal grand jury had returned an indictment charging Samuel Mara, 24, of Buffalo, NY, with threats by interstate communications and cyberstalking. If convicted, Mara faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, on June 6, 2020, the FBI and New York State Police began investigating a two (2) hour and ten (10) minute live stream video posted on Facebook Live. The video, apparently taken in front of the Buffalo Police Department — C District Station, was live streamed by an individual identified as A.M., a close associate of Samuel Mara.
In the video, a crowd is peacefully protesting, and at times, A.M. is heard commenting in the video. Defendant Mara is also seen sporadically throughout the video. Approximately 45 minutes into the video, several members of the crowd begin shouting, “hey hey, ho ho, [Victim 1] has got to go.”
As alleged, through the months of June and July 2020, the defendant continued to make threats directed toward the Victim, members of the Victim’s family, and others. Those threats were made both over social media accounts that defendant controlled as well as directly by defendant to other individuals.
IV. Grand Jury Indicts Convicted Bank Robber For Escaping from Prison And Committing Two More Robberies
On November 25, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that a federal grand jury had indicted Joseph Licata, 52, of Buffalo, NY, on charges of bank robbery, entering a bank with intent to commit a larceny, Hobbs Act robbery, and escape from custody. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
According to the indictment and a previously filed criminal complaint, in mid to late-January 2020, the defendant escaped from the custody of the United States Penitentiary Coleman II in Sumterville, Florida. On January 21, 2020, the defendant entered the M&T Bank branch on Grant Street in Buffalo, and passed a demand note to the victim-teller. The note threatened the teller if the teller did not give him cash.
The victim-teller complied and gave Licata U.S. currency. Later that same day, the defendant entered a Speedway Gas Station on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo and demanded cash. The victim-clerk complied and gave U.S. currency to the defendant. Later that same day, the defendant entered a Speedway Gas Station on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo and demanded cash.
The victim-clerk complied and gave U.S. currency to the defendant. When law enforcement officers arrested Licata, they found him in possession of currency taken during the robberies. Previously, in 2010, Licata, was convicted in federal court of committing a bank robbery in Buffalo and was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison.
Friday, November 20, 2020
I. Two New York Men Charged with Passing Altered Postal Money Orders
On November 13, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Peter G. Strasser announced that Antoine Merchant, 32, and Anthony Smalls, 32, both of New York City had been charged in a four-count indictment by the Grand Jury in the District of Louisiana with conspiracy to pass altered U.S. Postal money orders, passing altered U.S. Postal money orders and possessing stolen U.S. government property.
According to court records, Merchant and Smalls travelled from New York to Louisiana in October 2019 to cash stolen U.S. Postal money orders that had been altered to show amounts worth hundreds of dollars. Merchant and Smalls cashed two such postal money orders, each with an altered face value of $850.00, in Kenner and Metairie, LA. When arrested, the defendants also possessed 58 U.S. Postal money orders that they had stolen from an Ascension Parish U.S. Post Office the day before.
If convicted, Merchant and Smalls face up to ten years in prison on the possession charge and up to another five years in prison for the Postal money order charges. They also face up to $250,000 in fines, up to three years of supervised release and a special assessment of $100 for each count per each defendant.
II. Buffalo Man Arrested, Charged with Production and Receipt of Child Pornography
On November 17, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Segundo Reascos-Rodriguez, 40, of Buffalo, had been arrested and charged by criminal complaint with production and receipt of child pornography. If convicted, the defendant faces at least 15 years and as much as 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, Reascos-Rodriguez met and exchanged phone numbers with a nine-year old minor female victim on the social media application LiveMe. On March 27, 2020, Reascos-Rodriguez and the minor victim engaged in a text message conversation during which the defendant requested and received two sexually explicit images of the minor victim. On November 2, 2020, Homeland Security Investigations executed a federal search warrant at Reascos-Rodriguez’s residence.
III. Onondaga County Man Arrested on Child Pornography Charges
Ryan Maher, age 34, of Cicero, New York, was arrested November 17, 2020, and charged with receiving child pornography. The announcement of the charges was made by the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York Antoinette T. Bacon, along with Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Albany Field Office, and New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett.
According to the criminal complaint filed Nov. 16, Maher, a registered sex offender previously convicted of sexual abuse in the second degree, which means sexual contact with a person less than 14 years old – acquired approximately 4000 images of child pornography on the internet and saved that material to a thumb drive. If convicted, Maher faces at least 15 years and a maximum of 40 years in prison, a post-release term of supervision of between five years and life, and a fine of up to $250,000.
IV. Broome County Man Arrested, Charged with Traveling To Wyoming County To Attempt To Have Sex With 13-Year-Old
On November 18, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that David Lettieri, 33, of Harpursville, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal warrant with enticement of a minor and traveling to engage in illicit sexual contact. If convicted, Lettieri faces at least 10 years and up to life in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on October 15, 2020, an investigator with the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office interviewed the parent of a 13-year-old girl (Victim) who stated that on October 10, 2020, the Victim met a 33-year-old man at a park near their home with the intent of having sexual intercourse; however, sexual contact did not occur.
V. Doctor, Office Manager Charged for Illegally Distributing Oxycodone from Manhattan Practice
On November 19, 2020, Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Office, Dermot Shea, NYPD Commissioner, and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“HHS-OIG”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment in Manhattan federal court charging Howard Adelglass, a licensed physician, and Marcello Sansone, an employee at Adelglass’ clinic, with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone illegally.
The defendants were arrested November 18 and were presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox in Manhattan federal court the next day. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood. According to the allegations contained in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, Howard Adelglass is a licensed physician who, with Marcello Sansone, operated a pain-management clinic located in Midtown Manhattan (the “Clinic”).
The Clinic serviced purported patients seeking oxycodone and other pain-relief medications commonly diverted for illicit purposes. In exchange for cash payments, Adelglass wrote thousands of prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone to individuals who Adelglass knew did not need the pills for any legitimate medical purpose. Many of the purported patients were addicted to opioids and, in some cases, sold oxycodone pills on the street to drug users.
Most patients were referred to the Clinic by existing, trusted “gatekeeper” patients, of which Sansone was one. The Clinic primarily operated on a cash-only basis, and generally operated only for a few hours per day, between approximately 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
After serving as a gatekeeper patient, Sansone’s role at the Clinic expanded beginning in or about October 2018, when he joined Adelglass in managing the Clinic’s operations. Sansone helped to control access to Adelglass and the lucrative prescriptions he wrote for medically unnecessary oxycodone.
VI. Tuckahoe Tutor Charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Transporting Child Pornography
On November 19, 2020, Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, announced the arrest of John Mueser. Mueser, 69, is charged with sexual exploitation of a 7-year-old minor and with transporting child pornography from Fairfield County, Connecticut to Westchester County, New York. Mueser was arrested that same day, after which he was presented to U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy in White Plains federal court.
According to the Complaint filed on November 17, 2020, and unsealed on Nov. 19, 2020 in White Plains federal court, on May 1, 2019, John Mueser induced a 7-year-old minor, whom he was tutoring, to engage in sexually explicit conduct, used his iPhone to record the activity and then transported the images from Fairfield County, Connecticut to Westchester County, New York.
On October 1, 2019, John Mueser allegedly transported child pornography maintained on his iPhone from Westchester County, New York to Fairfield County, Connecticut. On or about March 19, 2020, John Mueser was charged in Connecticut with Possession of Child Pornography, Risk of Injury to a Minor, Sexual Assault 4th, and Voyeurism.
Friday, November 13, 2020
I. NYPD Officer, Four Others Arrested for Conspiracy to Import, Distribute Cocaine
An indictment was unsealed on November 9, 2020 in Brooklyn federal court charging Amaury Abreu, an NYPD Officer, and two co-defendants, Julio Bautista and Gustavo Valerio, with conspiring to import and distribute cocaine. According to the indictment, between at least January 2016 and October 2020, Abreu, Bautista and Valerio were allegedly members of a multinational drug trafficking organization (DTO) with distributors in the New York metropolitan area and the Dominican Republic.
The indictment also charges Bautista and a fourth defendant, Cesar Diaz-Bautista, with possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. A fifth defendant, Junior Ortiz, is charged in a complaint with cocaine importation conspiracy.
Abreu, Julio Bautista, Cesar Diaz-Bautista, Valerio and Ortiz were arrested Nov. 9 and were arraigned that afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara. Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Madeline Singas, Nassau County District Attorney, and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrests and charges.
II. MS-13 Gang Member Fugitive Extradited from El Salvador to Face Murder Charges
Eduardo Portillo, a/k/a “Firuli” and “Tito” (Portillo), a member of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, and a fugitive from justice, was extradited from El Salvador to the United States on November 6, 2020. Portillo, who was arrested in Morazán, El Salvador on February 23, 2019, has been detained pending his extradition, which was formally authorized by the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador on October 6, 2020.
Portillo was originally charged with the murder of 15-year-old Javier Castillo in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Central Islip, New York, on May 30, 2018. An INTERPOL Red Notice for his arrest was published on December 13, 2018 in connection with these charges. Portillo was arraigned this afternoon before United States Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco and ordered detained pending trial.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and extradition on Nov. 6. Portillo is presently charged in an 89-count seventh superseding indictment, along with 22 other MS-13 members, with racketeering offenses, murder and narcotics trafficking.
III. Bronx Man Charged With 2017 Murder
On November 11, 2020, Audrey Strauss, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and Dermot Shea, NYPD Commissioner announced a Superseding Indictment charging Sydney Scales, a/k/a “Sid,” a/k/a “Moe Black,” with conspiracy to commit murder for hire, as well as narcotics and firearms offenses.
A second defendant on the Indictment, Ernest Horge, a/k/a “Ern,” a/k/a “Mac,” was charged with narcotics and firearms offenses. In the Superseding Indictment, Scales is charged with causing another person to shoot at rival drug dealers on June 9, 2017, in the vicinity of 1135 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, New York, causing the death of Joshua Lopez.
SCALES and HORGE are also charged in the Superseding Indictment with engaging in multiple specific drug sales between November 2018 and February 2019, in addition to the narcotics conspiracy charged in the initial indictment. The case is proceeding before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.
IV. Troy Man Charged with Drug and Gun Offenses
On November 10, 2020, it was announced that Sherrod Johnson, a/k/a “Rod,” 27, of Troy, New York, had been indicted the previous week on multiple drug and firearms offenses. The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon; John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s New York Field Division, and Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, of the U.S. DEA’s New York Division.
The indictment alleges that Johnson possessed and intended to distribute heroin on two occasions, first in March 2019 and then in April 2020, and that on each occasion he also possessed a handgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The indictment also alleges that Johnson was subject to an order of protection when he possessed the handguns, which rendered his possession of the handguns unlawful.
V. Staten Island Man Arrested for Threats to Kill Protesters, Politicians, Law Enforcement Officials
A criminal complaint was unsealed in Brooklyn federal court on November 10, 2020, charging Brian Maiorana, of Staten Island, with threatening to kill and ordering others to kill protestors, politicians and law enforcement officials in retaliation for the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Maiorana was arrested and made his initial appearance that afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara, where he was ordered detained pending trial.
The announcement of the charges was made by Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, along with several law enforcement officials. Following Maiorana’s arrest, the FBI executed a search warrant at his residence and seized, among other things, a semiautomatic firearm and ammunition.
VI. Managers Of Queens Business Charged with Selling Ineffective Covid-19 Air Sanitizer
On November 10, 2020, in Brooklyn federal court, Po Shan Wong and Zhen Wu of JCD Distribution Inc. (JCD) made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara on a criminal complaint charging the defendants with selling “Virus Shut Out Cards,” which they marketed as air sanitizers designed to kill the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but which have not been demonstrated to be effective in treating or preventing the virus.
Specifically, the defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute and sell one or more pesticides that are not registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and that are adulterated or misbranded. The defendants surrendered to authorities that morning. The announcement of the arrests was made by Seth D. DuCharme, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, New York Division (USPIS), and Tyler Amon, Special Agent-in-Charge of the EPA’s, New York Region.
As alleged in the complaint, between May 2020 and July 2020, Po Shan Wong served as the General Manager, and Zhen Wu served as Sales Manager at JCD, which maintained a business address in College Point, Queens. During that time, the defendants and JCD advertised “Virus Shut Out Cards” on the company’s website and Facebook page, and marketed and sold these products to customers by phone, making various untested claims regarding the effectiveness of the cards.
For example, JCD’s Facebook page claimed that the cards emit chlorine dioxide and, thereby, serve as “portable space disinfection and sterilization cards” with a “sterilization rate at 99%.” In fact, chlorine dioxide—a gas—is a bleaching agent and a pesticide as defined by Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. Random samples of the “Virus Shut Out Cards” were tested by the EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center and found to contain sodium chlorite in amounts sufficient to convert into chlorine dioxide when exposed to the water vapor and carbon dioxide in the air.
Breathing air with sufficiently high concentrations of chlorine dioxide may cause difficulty breathing, irritation in the nose, throat and lungs, shortness of breath, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
VII. Guyanese National Extradited to Face Cocaine Importation Charge
Shaun Nebblett, a/k/a “Shaun Wyatt” and “Dapper,” was arraigned on November 10, 2020 in Brooklyn federal court in Brooklyn before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara on an indictment charging him with conspiracy to import cocaine and other narcotics offenses. Nebblett was extradited to the United States from Guyana on November 6, 2020. This marked the first extradition from Guyana facing federal charges in the United States since 1999.
The announcement of the extradition was made by Seth D. DuCharme, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), Ray Donovan, Special Agent-in-Charge, of the DEA’s New York Division, and Troy Miller, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York Field Office (CBP).
As alleged in court filings, between August 2015 and September 2015, Nebblett and others conspired to import 500 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine into the United States from Guyana. Specifically, in August 2015, Nebblett, who was a former police officer in Guyana, recruited an individual (“Courier 1”) to smuggle drugs into the United States in exchange for $8,000 and provided Courier 1 with money to purchase a plane ticket from Guyana to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, departing on August 28, 2015.
Nebblett packed Courier 1’s suitcase with seven pairs of shoes that concealed cocaine and directed Courier 1 to rent a hotel room near JFK. On August 28, 2015, upon arrival at JFK, Courier 1 was stopped by law enforcement officers who examined his luggage and discovered the cocaine in the shoes. A subsequent DEA laboratory test revealed that the shoes contained approximately 1.436 kilograms of cocaine.
VIII. Second Bronx Gang Member Charged With 2015 Murder
On November 12, 2020, Audrey Strauss, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with Dermot Shea, NYPD Commissioner, Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and Raymond Donovan, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New York Division, announced the return of a superseding indictment charging Kyle Mullings, a/k/a “Kase,” with murder in aid of racketeering and murder through the use of a firearm in connection with the murder of Daquan Cooper on June 25, 2015, in the Bronx.
At the time of the return of the superseding indictment, Mullings was already in federal custody on other charges. On November 5, 2019, an indictment was unsealed charging co-defendant Jose Rodriguez, a/k/a “Hov,” a/k/a “Hov Goon,” in connection with the murder of Daquan Cooper. Mullings will be presented at a later date. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.
According to the allegations in the superseding indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, Mullings was a member or associate of a racketeering enterprise known as the Beach Avenue Crew, a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in, among other things, murder, attempted murder, and narcotics trafficking. On June 25, 2015, Mullings orchestrated the murder of Daquan Cooper and provided the firearms that others used to shoot and kill Cooper in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx.
Mullings, 26, from the Bronx, is charged with one count of murder in aid of racketeering. That means he faces a minimum sentence of life in prison or a maximum sentence of death for that charge; and one count of murder through the use of a firearm, which carries at least five years and up to life in prison, or possibly death.
Friday, November 06, 2020
I. New York Man Charged with Filing False Tax Returns Seeking Multimillion-Dollar Refunds
On October 30, 2020, Audrey Strauss, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with Jonathan D. Larsen, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation’s New York Field Office, announced that Jameen Walker was arrested October 29, 2020 in Manhattan, and charged with making a false claim, subscribing to false tax returns, and theft of government funds in connection with Walker’s repeated filing of false tax returns claiming multimillion-dollar tax refunds based on fictitious income and withholdings. Walker was presented October 30 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona Wang.
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed October 30 in Manhattan federal court, between 2016 and 2018, Walker repeatedly filed tax returns with the IRS, falsely claiming that a corporation he controlled had paid him millions of dollars and withheld millions of dollars in federal taxes. Walker then fraudulently sought large federal tax refunds based on those claims.
II. Two Charged with March 2011 Murder
On November 3, 2020, Audrey Strauss, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Office, and David Chong, Public Safety Commissioner for the City of White Plains, announced the unsealing of a federal Indictment charging Marcus Chambers, 29, a/k/a “Chino,” a/k/a “Chi D,” a/k/a “SP,” and Darnell Kidd, a/k/a “Black,” a/k/a “Donney,” a/k/a “Donney Black,” 29, with the murder of Jonathan Johnson, 21, on March 18, 2011, in White Plains, New York. Chambers and Kidd are serving prison sentences from prior federal convictions, and will be brought to the federal courthouse in White Plains at a later date to be presented before a magistrate judge.
According to the allegations in the Indictment, on or about March 18, 2011, Chambers and Kidd murdered Jonathan Johnson by shooting him during the course of an armed robbery of Johnson for marijuana in White Plains, New York. Chambers and Kidd are each charged with one count of murdering Johnson through the use of a firearm during a crime of violence and aiding and abetting the same. This charge carries up to life in prison.
III. Wealth Management Business Chairman Charged With Securities Fraud
On November 3, 2020, Audrey Strauss, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Office, announced the arrest of Terrence Chalk, a/k/a “Terrence Cash,” 58, andthe Chairman of Greenlight Investment Partners and several related entities operating in Florida, with securities fraud and wire fraud for his role in a scheme to fraudulently induce individuals to invest in his wealth management business under false pretenses, including operating under an alias to hide his criminal past.
Chalk was arrested that morning in Orlando, Florida on a criminal complaint and was presented before a magistrate judge in the Middle District of Florida. As alleged in the criminal complaint, which was unsealed Nov. 3 in Manhattan Federal Court, Chalk, calling himself “Terrence Cash,” was the Chairman of Greenlight Investment Partners and Greenlight Investment Circle, among other similarly named entities (together, “Greenlight”).
The Greenlight companies offered customers “business, money, and wealth coaching,” purportedly offering advice and training in investment planning and wealth management. To some coaching clients, Chalk also offered admission into the “Chairman’s Fund” – purportedly, an elite investing arrangement under which clients would purchase equity stakes in Greenlight and Chalk would invest the purchase proceeds into individual ventures he had vetted. Chalk promised these ventures would generate a guaranteed, fixed return, often in excess of 12 percent annually, to be paid by check quarterly.
Chalk induced investors to entrust him with their money – often including the entire contents of their retirement accounts and pension plans – while concealing from them the fact that, under his real name, he had been convicted for fraud-related offenses in SDNY in 2010. Chalk, 58, is charged with one count of securities fraud, which carries up to 20 years in prison, and one count of wire fraud, which also carries up to 20 years in prison.
IV. Bronx Man Charged with Kidnapping Girlfriend and Her 7-Year-Old Child
On November 4, 2020, Audrey Strauss, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Office, and Dermot Shea, Commissioner of the NYPD, announced the arrest of Aquillino Torres in connection with the kidnapping of his girlfriend and her 7-year-old son. Torres was arrested Nov. 3 and was presented in Manhattan federal court later that day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.
According to the allegations in the Complaint, on or about October 5, 2020, Torres approached his girlfriend (“Victim-1”) in the vicinity of Harlem in New York City and threatened to kill Victim-1’s 7-year-old son (“Minor Victim-1”) if she did not come with Torres . Torres brought Victim-1 and Minor Victim-1 to a motel in the Bronx, where he proceeded to lock the door and physically assault Victim-1, including by punching Victim-1 several times in the face and body. Torres then had sex with Victim-1 against her will.
The following day, Torres directed Victim-1 to order an Uber to take Torres , Victim-1, and Minor Victim-1 to an apartment in Washington Heights (the “Apartment”). Torres forced Victim-1 and Minor Victim-1 to stay in the Apartment against their will for multiple days. On at least one occasion, Torres tied Victim-1’s hands to a bed frame to prevent her from leaving the Apartment while he was away.
Torres also physically assaulted Victim-1 and Minor Victim-1 while at the Apartment. On or about October 10, 2020, Victim-1 and Minor Victim-1 escaped from the Apartment. Thereafter, Victim-1 was admitted to a hospital, where she was found to have a broken jaw that required surgery. Torres is charged with: one count of kidnapping, and faces life in prison, and one count of kidnapping of a minor, for which he faces at least 20 years and up to life in prison.
V. Buffalo Man Arrested, Charged with Drug and Gun Charges Following Traffic Accident
On November 4, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Jarmaine Dunbar, 43, of Buffalo, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.If convicted, Dunbar faces at least five years and up to life in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
According to the complaint, on October 10, 2020, Dunbar was involved in a traffic accident in the City of Buffalo. When officers arrived on the scene, they observed a loaded, semi-automatic pistol on the front passenger seat of Dunbar’s car. When patting down the defendant, officers also retrieved a plastic bag containing suspected cocaine.
The defendant made an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was detained.
VI. Madison County Man Arrested on Federal Drug, Firearms Charges
Shawn Tompkins, 40, of Hubbardsville, New York, appeared in federal court on November 4, 2020 on a criminal complaint charging him with federal methamphetamine and marijuana distribution charges, and possession of firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, The charges were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York Antoinette T. Bacon and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The criminal complaint alleges that Tompkins possessed with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, and marijuana. It further alleges that he possessed one or more firearms in furtherance of those offenses. During a search of Tompkins’s residence, law enforcement recovered approximately 35 firearms, including assault rifles; thousands of rounds of ammunition; two silencers; 17 lower receivers; and a replica grenade launcher.
The defendant is currently being held in custody without bail pending a detention hearing. If convicted, Tompkins faces at least five and up 40 years in prison on the drug charge, and at least five and up to life in prison on the firearms charge.
VII. Postal Worker Arrested, Charged With Failing To Deliver Over 800 Pieces Of Mail, Including Absentee Ballots
On November 5, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Brandon Wilson, 27, of Buffalo was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with delay or destruction of mail. The charge carries at least five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the complaint, on November 3, 2020, at approximately 7:34 p.m., Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers encountered the defendant, an employee of the United States Postal Service (USPS), at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry. As part of a standard CBP vehicle sweep, Wilson opened the trunk of his vehicle for CBP Officers. A USPS mail bin containing numerous mail pieces was observed by a CBP officer inside the trunk.
CBP officers also observed multiple USPS uniform items bearing the USPS logo along with a USPS identification badge with the defendant’s name. Wilson stated the mail belonged to him and his mother, but Wilson could not account for additional names printed on the mail pieces. Wilson further stated that he had intended to deliver the mail and had forgotten to return the mail pieces to the post office.