Weekly Roundup of New York Criminal Cases for December 24, 2021

Last edited on Friday, December 24, 2021, at 08:35 PM.

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. 

As always, unless otherwise disclosed, none of the defendants mentioned in these summaries are clients of our firm.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a state or federal criminal charge, or you are under investigation by the federal government, our top-rated attorneys are here to help.

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Friday, December 24, 2021

Guilty Plea to 2011 Murder

It was a relatively quiet week in the criminal courts for the state of New York, but the first case we look at in our roundup is one in which the U.S.  Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, made the announcement on Dec. 20 that Marcus Chambers, 30, a/k/a “Chino,” a/k/a “Chi D,” a/k/a “SP,” had pled guilty that day to the murder of Jonathan Johnson, 21, on March 18, 2011, in White Plains.

According to the Indictment, on or about March 18, 2011, Chambers and his codefendant Darnell Kidd murdered Jonathan Johnson by shooting him while he was committing an armed robbery for marijuana. Chambers arranged for the purchase of marijuana from Johnson, but Chambers and Kidd planned to rob the marijuana instead. During the robbery, Johnson was shot and killed.

Being Tried for Bribery

Another interesting case in our New York State roundup this week comes with a Contracting Officer from Fort Drum, Cindy McAleese, 55, of Dexter, NY, who has been indicted on a charge of accepting bribes in the form of gratuities, from her boyfriend, who was a Fort Drum contractor. In exchange, she allegedly took official action on contracts the boyfriend took over. McAleese was arraigned on Dec. 20, on charges of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States by seeking and accepting gratuities.

The indictment alleges that McAleese, while working as a civilian contracting officer for the U.S. Army at Fort Drum, in Jefferson County, NY, sought and received things of value from local general contractor Sean O’Sullivan, who has already pled guilty on similar charges. The two also took steps to keep their relationship a secret from other officials at Fort Drum. 

The gifts included sports tickets, meals, sexual encounters, as well as time and attention, in exchange for McAleese’s taking official action to O’Sullivan’s advantage. For instance, McAleese provided O’Sullivan’s company with government contracts, and she also approved payment on those contracts.

Sales of Synthetic Marijuana

Another interesting case from this week includes a narcotics trafficking case involving the manufacture and sale of synthetic cannabinoids from several websites and continued to do so after four of the co-conspirators involved had been arrested and charged.

That case was initiated on Dec. 22, when the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, along with several prominent law enforcement officials from both the federal and state levels, announced the unsealing of a Superseding Indictment charging Victor Almonte and Michael Esposito with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids and to distribute controlled substances using the internet. Almonte and Esposito were arrested Dec. 22 and were presented later the same day in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker. 

Enforcing Firearms Laws

There was another interesting case in the New York state criminal court system this past week, when a Queens man with a desire to attack Times Square pled guilty to having knowingly received a gun with the serial number obliterated. The case reached its peak when Ashiqul Alam pled guilty to knowingly receiving a firearm with an obliterated serial number in Brooklyn, New York.  The guilty plea and the resultant proceeding happened before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy.

When he is sentenced, Alam faces up to five years in prison, pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement with the government. As part of his plea agreement, Alam, who is a citizen of Bangladesh, agreed to the entry of an order of removal so he will be deported after completing his sentence.

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