The New York Criminal Law Blog

April 2011 Archives

Proposed Bill Seeks To Ban Purchase Of Fake Designer Goods

A number of New York locals will be familiar with New York City's Chinatown and the various items sold among its storefronts, which often include fake designer merchandise sold at cheaper prices. However, many may be disappointed to hear that purchasing such items could result in a potential misdemeanor criminal charge under a new proposed bill.

The New York Times reported Councilwoman Margaret S. Chin, whose district includes Chinatown, will be introducing a new measure prohibiting the purchase of counterfeit designer items. Violators will be subject to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both if the bill passes.

Home Aide Jacki Pokuwaah Charged With Grand Larceny

Eighty-five-year-old widow Renee Fuld from Queens has accused her home aide, Jacki Pokuwaah, of allegedly stealing $800,000 and turning her apartment into a boarding house without her knowledge. The New York Daily News reported Fuld, who is essentially bedridden, claimed her aide spent the money on shopping extravaganzas.

“The only thing I could figure out is I gave her money to buy things and she kept it,” said Fuld, who employed Pokuwaah for almost seven years. “I’m just sorry I didn’t see her taking money.” The 85-year-old contended that Pokuwaah, 52, also allowed at least seven relatives and friends to move in to her apartment without paying any rent.

11-year-old Boy Arrested After Sodomizing Fellow Teen Patient

After struggling with emotional issues, Patricia Watson's 15-year-old daughter was admitted to the child psychiatric ward at the Metropolitan Hospital in Manhattan's East Side this past February, according to the New York Daily News.

But authorities reported an 11-year-old male patient at the ward sodomized the teen against her will last month, and the victim still remains in the same unit where the sexual assault occurred pending a transfer to a state facility. "She has panic attacks when she's in her room ..." said Watson. "I feel heartbroken my daughter is still there. She should have been moved within hours."

Brian Sohtz Arrested For Stabbing Girlfriend To Death

Brooklyn local Brian Sohtz, 36, was charged in the brutal stabbing of his 34-year-old girlfriend Daniella Mannino, who was also the daughter of Brooklyn district attorney’s office employee Joe Mannino. Police found Mannino dead earlier this week in a bathtub at Sohtz’s apartment in Bensonhurst with multiple stab wounds on her body, according to the New York Daily News.

Authorities led Sohtz, a transit dispatcher, out of the 62nd Precinct in handcuffs as he shouted an apology for Mannino’s death. “I’m sorry. I loved Daniella. I’m sorry to her family. I’m sorry for my children,” he wailed.

Mark Iacono Faces Attempted Murder Charges For Knife Fight

Well-known Brooklyn pizza-maker Mark Iacono, who owns the highly praised pizzeria Lucali, currently faces criminal charges after being involved in a violent knife duel that occurred outside a supermarket in Carroll Gardens. Alleged mobster Benny Geritano, 38, was also arrested for his supposed role in the same fight and faces similar charges as Iacono.

Police had initially considered charging both men with felony assault, but the Brooklyn District Attorney's office said Iacono and Geritano will be subject to second-degree attempted murder charges instead. The New York Daily News reported Iacono remained hospitalized after the brawl, and prosecutors have not yet determined when he will be arraigned.

Ten Bodies Found In New York Beaches, Police Suspect Serial Killer

Nearly 10 bodies have been discovered within the thick undergrowth lining the highway along some of New York's beaches, according to ABC News. Authorities are examining the area to determine whether the site is being used as a disposal area for one potential serial killer, or even other killers.

"Now the question is connectivity," said one law enforcement supervisor. "Geographically it is secluded and makes a perfect dumping ground."

Officials found possibly two more sets of bones earlier this week along the beaches in Long Island and have sent them to the medical examiner's office to find out if the murders were caused by one or two people.

Cameras That Read License Plates Help New York Police Fight Crime

New sophisticated surveillance cameras that can read and track the license plates of cars have significantly helped improve the New York Police Department’s criminal investigations, according to The New York Times. One recent example involves the capture of bank robber Marat G. Mikhaylich, who was a suspect in nine robberies in New Jersey and New York.

The FBI had already identified Mikhaylich as a suspect through surveillance photos, but he had managed to avoid arrest until authorities found he fled a bank heist in New Jersey in a stolen cab, which he drove to Queens. One or more of the NYPD’s security cameras eventually tracked the stolen vehicle’s license plate and led police to Queens, where he was immediately arrested.

Stacy Pagli Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Strangling Daughter

Suburban mother Stacy Pagli, 38, was sentenced this week to 20 years behind bars in Westchester County Court after pleading guilty to the death of her 18-year-old daughter, Marissa Pagli, who had attended Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. The Associated Press reported Pagli pleaded guilty to manslaughter this past February as part of a plea agreement made with prosecutors.

"To this day, I am still learning how many people this senseless crime has affected," said John Pagli, Marissa's father, who is also the maintenance supervisor at Manhattanville and the first person to have discover Marissa's body. "Now I am forced to live with a broken heart that is in beyond repair."

Osman Daramy, 12, Charged With Hate Crime For Beating Muslim Girl

Authorities arrested a 12-year-old boy at Berta A. Dreyfus School in Staten Island after he attacked a 7th-grade Muslim schoolgirl and tried to yank her hijab off of her head. According to Reuters, law enforcement officials said the incident was the fifth one that has occurred between the young boy and girl during the last few months.

The New York Post reported that Osman Daramy, the attacker, and an unidentified 13-year-old girl allegedly beat the victim on school property. Daramy supposedly yelled at the victim, asking her whether she was Muslim as he kicked and punched her and pulled at her religious headscarf.