Last edited on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 1:59 PM.
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Friday, November 12, 2021
This week’s look at the most prominent new criminal cases in the state of New York is somewhat scant, but this was a relatively quiet week for the criminal courts in the state. The first case we examine involves an attorney who decided to plead guilty to the charge of Securities Fraud that was brought against him. On November 5, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, announced that licensed attorney Thomas Craft had taken a plea deal to charges stemming from his involvement with a fraudulent scheme in which he claimed that he had done certain work related to attorney opinion letters and securities, when that was not the case.
In fact, Craft did little more than rubber-stamp a few opinion letters that had been prepared by a disbarred attorney named Richard Rubin, who eventually became Craft’s co-defendant. Craft was originally arrested on Dec. 2, 2020, and pled guilty last week, on Nov. 5. As part of the plea agreement in this case, Craft agreed to give up his Florida law license. According to the indictment, Craft and Rubin failed to follow some of the most basic rules under the Securities Act of 1933, which requires anyone wanting to sell any type of security to make sure that security is registered first.
This is meant to protect investors by making sure all information is available for an investor to assess when making investment decisions. Craft and Rubin, however, failed to complete registration information for potential investor. That includes the opinion letter, in which a licensed attorney attests that all statements made about the security are true and correct.
In another New York case involving securities fraud, on November 10, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, along with Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, announced the unsealing of a new indictment charging Puneet Dikshit, who was a partner in a globally oriented financial and management consulting firm, with securities fraud.
According to the indictment, Dikshit and the consulting firm repeatedly committed inside trading fraud. More specifically, the indictment alleged that many of his trades were made using material, non-public information, and knowledge. In one case, he used information regarding an upcoming acquisition of another consulting firm – both of which Dikshit and the firm were already advising. Dikshit, 40, is from New York City. He has been charged with two counts of securities fraud. If he is convicted in a court of law, he faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.
In another New York criminal case, a gang member from the Long Island Bloods was convicted of many serious charges, including drug distribution, sex trafficking, racketeering, and even murder. On Nov. 9, after a weeklong trial, a federal jury in Central Islip, NY, returned a guilty verdict against Bloods gang member Lawrence Lewis, also known as “L Boogs,” for a variety of charges, including the forcible rape and sex trafficking of a Suffolk County woman, racketeering, multiple firearms offenses, narcotics possession and distribution and witness tampering, as well as the July 29, 2017, murder of John Birt.
According to District Attorney Breon Peace, “Lewis’s conviction today ensures that he will never again be able to terrorize our community with his senseless acts of gang-related violence. I commend the prosecutors in this Office, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the special agents and detectives whose hard work and persistence led to Lewis being held accountable for his long record of reprehensible crimes.”