Weekly Roundup of New York Criminal Cases for January 21, 2022

Last edited on Friday, January 21, 2022, at 12:31 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, January 21, 2022

Buffalo Man Arrested and Charged with Gun Possession by Convicted Felon

On Jan. 14, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, Trini E. Ross, announced that Nikita Burt, 38, of Buffalo, was arrested and charged via criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of firearms. If he’s convicted in court, Burt faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the complaint, members of the DEA and the Buffalo Police Department executed a search warrant at Burt’s residence. During the search, three handguns with defaced serial numbers were recovered. In 2013, Burt was convicted on a federal charge of distributing crack cocaine and is legally prohibited from possessing firearms.

Bronx Man Charged with Possessing Lots of Fentanyl

Also on Jan. 14, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Tim Foley, along with the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA’s New York Division, and Keechant Sewell, NYPD Commissioner, announced that Sucre Almanzar-Alba has been charged via criminal complaint with possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute.

As alleged in the Complaint, Almanzar-Alba trafficked huge quantities of fentanyl, which is known to be the major driver of the nation’s opioid epidemic. In this case, investigators found nearly 20 kilograms of Fentanyl, which represents millions of lethal doses.

U.S. Citizen Charged in Conspiracy to Export Tech to Iranian Government

On Jan. 18, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, announced that a dual Iranian-U.S. citizen had been arrested on Jan. 14 in Chicago. The arrest was made on criminal charges related to his alleged conspiracy to illegally export U.S. goods, technology and services to end users in Iran, including the government of Iran, which violates the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

According to court documents, Kambiz Attar Kashani, 44, conspired to illegally export goods and technology to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which the U.S. government recognizes is an agency of the government of Iran.

According to the complaint, it is alleged that Kashani orchestrated an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. export laws and procure U.S. electronic equipment and technology for the CBI, which has been designated by the United States government as acting for or on behalf of terrorist organizations, as alleged, Kashani used two UAE companies as fronts to procure items from multiple U.S. technology companies, including a company in Brooklyn.

Man in Manhattan Court Pleads Guilty to Series of Armed Robberies

On Jan. 19, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, announced that Victor Rivera, 30, of Brooklyn, pled guilty to charges that he was part of a conspiracy to commit about a dozen Hobbs Act robberies between October 2019 and November 2020. Rivera is scheduled to be sentenced on April 28 by District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

According to the Superseding Indictment and other publicly filed documents in this case, from at least in or about October 2019 up to and including November 2020, Rivera and others known and unknown, agreed to rob victims of luxury watches by Richard Mille, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe, many of which were valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars each. 

The watches were owned by jewelers as part of the jewelers’ businesses based in Manhattan’s Diamond District.  Rivera used guns to commit several of the robberies, and in one robbery, he shot a victim, who survived.

Goshen, NY Man Charged in COVID-19 Relief Fraud Case

On Jan. 19, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, along with  Jonathan Mellone, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General,  Daniel B. Brubaker, Inspector in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Sharon MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, announced the unsealing of a complaint charging Yohauris Rodriguez Hernandez  with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit theft of government benefits and aggravated identity theft in connection with a COVID-19 unemployment benefit scheme that attempted to steal more than $1.9 million from the New York State Department of Labor and other state agencies charged with the. Administration of unemployment benefits.

According to the indictment, it is alleged that Hernandez participated in a scheme to fraudulently obtain COVID-19 unemployment benefits under the names and social security numbers of at least 100 other people. It was part of an attempt to steal more than $1.9 million and resulted in the fraudulent disbursement of more than $500,000.  

Hernandez is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit theft of government benefits, and aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence. If he is convicted in court, he faces more than 32 years in prison.

NYC Man Charged with Attempted Enticement of a Minor

On Jan. 20, 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 Office, announced charges against Richard Viet Nguyen, 29, of Manhattan for attempted enticement of one minor boy in Manhattan, New York.  Nguyen was arrested the morning of Jan. 20, and he was presented in Manhattan federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave.

As alleged in the Complaint, on or about Oct. 20, 2021, an individual identified to be Nguyen initiated a series of conversations on an instant messaging platform with an undercover FBI agent, posing as the father of an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old boy. 

Thereafter, the undercover agent and Nguyen had numerous communications, include one oral communication, via the instant messaging platform. In these conversations, Nguyen expressed his desire to engage in sexual activity with both children – including both oral and anal sex – and discussed potential arrangements for Nguyen to engage in sexual activity with either child. 

The undercover agent and Nguyen arranged to meet at a coffee shop in Manhattan on the morning of January 20, 2022, with the understanding that they would return to the agent’s apartment afterward and Nguyen would then engage in sexual activity with the boy.  On the morning in question, Nguyen met the undercover agent at the agreed-upon location.  

After the two of them left the coffee shop and began walking toward the agent’s purported apartment, law enforcement arrested Nguyen, who was also in possession of, among other things, children’s Benadryl and a condom in his pocket.

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