The New York Criminal Law Blog

March 2011 Archives

New York City's most-wanted bank robber, Marat Mikhaylich, allegedly the "Holiday Bandit," was finally arrested in Queens this week after his latest heist, an armed robbery at Cathay Bank in Edison, New Jersey. Police were able to locate Mikhaylich after they found that he had fled the scene using the same cab he arrived in at the bank.

According to the New York Daily News, NYPD's chief spokesman Paul Browne said a detective at the department's Real Time Crime Center had discovered that the car Mikhaylich took in Edison had traveled to Queens. Authorities then placed the vehicle under surveillance and eventually tracked and caught the bandit in Forest Hills.

Runaway Driver Orlando Santos Killed After Police Chase In Bronx

A high-speed, late-night police chase after a mad SUV driver over the weekend resulted in ten damaged vehicles and four people getting injured on the Major Deegan Expressway, which passes through the Bronx. According to Reuters, 28-year-old Orlando Santos attempted to run over a few police officers as they approached his car and collided into several vehicles in the process.

"We have solid witnesses that he tried to run them down," stated one police source. "Solid witnesses."

Eight Arrested For Staged Car Accident In Bronx Caught On Tape

Last summer on a street in the Bronx, nine criminal suspects made an attempt at a staged car accident by deliberately slamming their vehicles into one another, but they failed to cause enough damage on the autos to make the accident look real. So what did they do?

They tried again.

According to The New York Times, the group spread themselves out in three cars and made a second attempt at what police described as a criminal take on demolition derby. The suspects purposely backed into each other's cars and later contacted police to have the accident reports recorded. They even sought $39,000 for medical treatment they claimed they needed for their alleged injuries.

Louis Scala Accused Of Conspiracy in Trafficking Oxycodone

Twenty-nine-year-old Louis Scala II is one among the 31 individuals who have been charged with the conspiracy of trafficking almost 43,000 oxycodone pills out of Staten Island, New York. The total number of pills has been valued at almost $1 million, and prosecutors identified Joseph J. Zaffuto, 39, as the ring leader of the illegal venture.

According to The New York Times, Scala operated an ice cream truck on Staten Island called Lickety Split and sold oxycodone, an incredibly addictive prescription painkiller and opiate, along with the typical assortment of frozen sweets. Prosecutors alleged that Scala and Zaffuto had sold enough prescriptions in Staten Island last year to supply over one fourth of the area's population.

John Haggerty Accused Of Embezzling Money From Bloomberg's Campaign

John Haggerty, who had previously been trusted as Michael Bloomberg’s aide, was recently accused of embezzling $1.1 million from the mayor’s 2009 campaign. Haggerty tried to get the indictment dismissed, but Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ronald Zweibel denied the defendant’s bid as he noted that “the evidence of guilt … [was] overwhelming.”

According to the New York Daily News, Haggerty was responsible for administrating the Election Day operation for Mayor Bloomberg with the $1.1 million funneled through the state Independence Party. Instead, Haggerty allegedly used at least $75,000 to purchase a home in Queens and only spent a small portion of the mayor’s funds on poll operations.

Monique Smith Faces Felony Charges For Killing Hamster

| 1 TrackBack

Law enforcement officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrested 19-year-old Monique Smith from Bushwick, New York for killing a hamster. She faces a felony charge for aggravated cruelty to animals and two misdemeanors charges for torturing animals and endangering the welfare of a child.

The incident began when Smith's mother, 47-year-old Theresa Smith, purchased a hamster for her 9-year-old son on June 2007, according to The New York Times. A couple of months later, Theresa's 25-year-old son entered the room fuming with anger while Princess Stephanie, the hamster, was playing in its exercise ball on the ground.

He then kicked Princess' ball, which caused her to fly out of the container and be killed.

What Can You Do If You're A Victim Of A Stolen Identity In New York?

Many New Yorkers may not realize that their identity has been stolen until the thief has already used their private information for their own benefit and blemished their personal record and reputation. FindLaw writes that the Federal Trade Commission found that victims spend an average of $1,200 in out-of-pocket costs and 175 to 600 hours recovering from the damage of identity theft.

While most people know that identity theft is a crime, not many New York locals may be aware of the actions they can take after their identity is stolen. If you have suffered from a stolen identity, here are some steps you can take that may help salvage your identity:

Oscar Fuller Claims Attack Against Lana Rosas Was Self-Defense

A man who couldn't control his anger when losing his East Village parking space to a 25-year-old woman, is now facing criminal charges after allegedly punching the woman into a coma. New York Daily News reports that the suspect, Oscar Fuller, was arrested on suspicion of felony assault after the incident.

The fight reportedly took place on February 25 when Lana Rosas refused to move her body from an E. 14th St. parking space between Avenues A and B. She said at the time that she was saving the parking spot for her boyfriend by standing in it. Prosecutors say that Fuller then pushed Rosas so hard that she "flew off her feet" and hit her head on the ground.

Bandit Wanted For Five Burglaries In Brooklyn

Authorities reported that an unidentified bandit masquerading as an exterminator is currently wanted in Brooklyn for at least five different burglaries. According to the New York Daily News, the thief first struck in Coney Island on January 2 and has burglarized four other residences since February 14 with the same disguise each time.

Police said the devious crook told the first victim that he needed to fumigate the home when he arrived at the West Second Street residence in Coney Island. Once inside, the thief stole numerous pieces of jewelry before the resident returned home. He repeated the same act with other unsuspecting victims.

Victor Miri Charged With Gun And Drug Possession After NYPD Raid

An investigation by the NYPD's gang unit in Manhattan led to a startling discovery of high-powered weapons at the alleged cocaine distribution facility of suspected gangster Victor Miri, 29. According to the New York Daily News, law enforcement officials immediately arrested Miri and his 30-year-old brother Tonin and charged them with gun and drug possession.

Authorities came across boxes of ammunition, a collection of 12 guns, a bulletproof vest, night vision goggles, and M-80 explosives when they busted into Miri's Bronx apartment. They had also seized small amounts of marijuana and cocaine along with the equipment required to operate the drug operation, such as a cocaine grinder, vacuum seal presser, and an electronic money counter.

Red Hook Justice Center: How To Improve Communication In Courts

The nonprofit group known as the Center for Court Innovation has begun a pilot initiative that focuses on changing and improving the way court employees, from court officers and clerks to judges, treat individuals who enter a courthouse.

The Department of Justice has already set up a $400,000 grant to fund the project, which seeks to create new training on communication skills for court staff and clarify the phrasing in written communication, like signs. According to The New York Times, the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn is a great example of how effective communication in courthouses affects the way people view the criminal justice system.