<![CDATA[NBC New York - Crime and Courts]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcnewyork.com/feature/crime-and-courts http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usSat, 27 Aug 2016 04:22:15 -0400Sat, 27 Aug 2016 04:22:15 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Exclusive: NYPD Hatchet Attack Survivors Talk to News 4]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 17:51:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000007039683_1200x675_440437827788.jpg The four officers who were attacked in Queens last October speak exclusively to News 4's Jonathan Dienst.]]> <![CDATA[Women Groped by X-Ray Tech at NYC Hospital: Prosecutors]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 00:11:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hospital+generic+er+generic+emergency+room+generic.jpg

An X-ray technician at a Brooklyn hospital has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaultiing two patients, authorities say. 

The incidents happened Sunday afternoon, first when an 83-year-old woman who was getting X-rays of her arm and knee at Kings County Hospital was fondled, groped and sexually assaulted by Larry Jones, according to prosecutors.

Hours later, another woman, 57, was going in for an X-ray of her chest and ankles when Jones allegedly told her her underwear was interfering, police sources said. 

That's when prosectuors said he pushed aside her underwear and violated her with his hand and mouth. 

The woman screamed and alerted an officer at the hospital. Jones was arrested soon after on charges of sex abuse and forcible touching. 

The hospital said in a statement, "We are committed to the safety of our patients and have zero tolerance for such behavior. Our hospital police acted swiftly in response to the patient's complaint and we immediately terminated the individual." 

Jones lives a homeless shelter in lower Manhattan and had been certified by the state as an X-ray technician. 

It's not clear if there are any other victims, since Jones had worked at the hospital for more than a decade. The hospital says it's working with police in the investigation. 

Attorney information for Jones wasn't immediately clear. 

<![CDATA[$2.3 Million in Heroin Seized From Tractor-Trailer in NY]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:35:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/heroinbustfeuerherd.jpg

Two men were arrested after authorities say they found more than 65 pounds (at least 30 kilograms) of heroin hidden in the axle of a truck's trailer that the suspects allegedly intended to sell for up to $2.3 million to distributors in New York City, Long Island and across the northeast. 

The arrests of alleged narcotics traffickers Fernando Quiles, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Jorge Ayala, of Greenwich, Connecticut, stem from a three-month wiretap investigation by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Investigators Unit and agents from the DEA’s Long Island District Office Task Force. 

During the course of that investigation, prosecutors say detectives learned Quiles received tractor-trailer shipments of narcotics from a Mexican-based organization. Those shipments crossed the Texas border and made their way into the New York City area, where Quiles and Ayala allegedly coordinated distribution. 

The two men were arrested Tuesday near a large single-family home on a private wooded lot in Croton-on-Hudson in northern Westchester County. Prosecutors allege the suspect recently rented the house for the sole purpose of using it as a location to park a tractor-trailer and to stash drugs. 

The heroin was recovered from the truck Wednesday as investigators executed a search warrant. 

Bridget Brennan, New York City's special narcotics prosecutor, said that it took 18 hours to find the drugs using sophisticated equipment.

"Very likely they were able to roll over the border crossing without detectin," she said.

In the weeks leading up to the arrests, investigators and agents conducted physical surveillance and intercepted phone calls pursuant to a court order. Investigators and agents determined that the suspects were about to receive a large load of heroin via tractor-trailer. 

In a phone call between Quiles and Ayala Aug. 13, Quiles stated that he needed a place to park a “trailer for at least one day,” prosecutors say. A week later, Quiles used coded language as he told an associate that the narcotics shipment was due to arrive and that he would “take it out on Tuesday and take it to its destination ... in case it has a tail somewhere,” according to authorities familiar with the case. 

Quiles was in New York City at the time of these calls. 

In another conversation, he allegedly talked about wholesale heroin prices and indicated each kilogram could sell for $56,000 or $57,000. The amount of heroin recovered from the truck would have yielded well more than half a million individual doses, prosecutors say. 

On Aug. 23, Quiles and Ayala met at the alleged stash house and spoke to an individual identified as a truck driver by phone, directing the driver to come to the house. Shortly thereafter, agents and investigators observed a tractor-trailer arrive at the location, at which point the trailer was detached from the rest of the truck and left on the property. 

Agents and investigators stopped Ayala after he drove away in a car. A search of the car yielded plastic-sealing equipment, plastic packaging materials, keys and a garage opener for the home, along with a device for opening the trailer. There was no furniture in the home, according to prosecutors, just a narcotics ledger book, tools, a scale and packaging materials. 

Both men face charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy and criminally using drug paraphernalia, among other crimes. They were arraigned Wednesday night and ordered held without bail. 

Information on attorneys for the men wasn't immediately available.

Photo Credit: Special Narcotics Prosecutors Office]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect in Brazen Midtown 2015 Tourneau Heist Arrested]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 13:55:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tourneau+robbery.jpg

One of the three men thought to be behind the robbery at a high-end Madison Avenue jeweler last year has been cuffed in California, law enforcement officials told NBC 4 New York.

Christopher Mulligan was arrested by U.S. Marshals, members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives and NYPD detectives in Stockton, California, according to officials. He's facing charges of robbery, robbery conspiracy and use of a firearm. If convicted of all three crimes, he faces up to life in prison.

Officials said that Mulligan, 22, is one of the three men in colorful suits and fedoras seen on surveillance footage smashing into jewelry cases and stealing Rolex watches at Tourneau on Manhattan's East 53rd Street on May 12, 2015.

Prosecutors said that during the heist one of the robbers fired a bullet into the ground. The bullet broke into fragments, and one of the shards grazed a customer. That same robber then fired in the direction of an employee who poked his head through a door during the heist.

The haul of 20 Rolex watches, was valued at $730,000.

A retired police officer was working in the store and chased after the robbers after the heist. One of the suspects, Omar Rawlins, was arrested a short time after the theft and authorities recovered five of the stolen watches. 

A third suspect remains at large. 

Attorney information for Mulligan wasn't immediately available.

<![CDATA[Imam Slay Suspect Charged With Murder: NYPD]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 15:21:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/imam-suspect-crop.jpg

A man has been arrested on murder and weapons charges in the shooting deaths of a Queens imam and his associate in broad daylight, police say. 

The suspect, 35-year-old Oscar Morel, was taken into custody late Sunday night as he approached a vehicle that police had connected to a hit-and-run earlier in the day. He appears to match the description of the suspected shooter, a senior police official said. 

Senior police officials said that officers boxed him in with patrol cars, but the suspect tried to flee and hit a police car. Officers then pulled out their weapons and ordered him to surrender. 

A gun and clothes similar to those worn by the suspected shooter were found at Morel's home in East New York Monday, police sources close to the investigation told NBC 4 New York. The Queens district attorney's office drew up the search warrant for the property search.

The gun was found hidden in the apartment's wall, behind drywall and screws, the sources said. Ballistics tests will be done to see if it is the murder weapon.

Morel has a past arrest for marijuana possession, sources said. 

Meanwhile, about 1,000 people packed streets Monday about six blocks from where the shooting took place for a service for Imam Maulama Akonjee and his associate, Thara Uddin. Some of those attending chanted "justice" periodically throughout the service.

Akonjee, 55, and Uddin, 64, were walking home from the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque at about 1:50 p.m on Saturday when they were shot and killed. 

Local political leaders, including Mayor de Blasio, addressed the crowd gathered for the service Monday.

Emotions ran high. Some people shouted for justice as a man spoke at the podium. People cheered when de Blasio assured them whoever committed the crime will be brought to justice. 

Surveillance video obtained by NBC 4 New York shows the moment the two men were gunned down on an Ozone Park street.

The video shows a lone gunman approach both men from behind and fire shots from a handgun. The suspect then sprints away from the scene as both victims fall to the ground. 

A sketch of the shooter released by police early Sunday shows a dark-haired, bearded man wearing glasses.

Both victims were shot in the head at point-blank range, police said. The suspect was seen fleeing the scene southbound on 79 street with the gun still in his hand.

Investigators hadn't established a motive for the shootings, said NYPD Deputy Inspector Hank Sautner during a news conference.

The shooting has struck fear in an Ozone Park Muslim community. 

"We usually look left and right and to the front to be careful. But now we have to look in the back. How do you do that?" Kobir Chowdhury said.

Akonjee's sister-in-law, Ifia Uddin, had seen the imam earlier on Saturday. She said that when her husband called her to tell her the news, she was shocked and didn't believe him. She said she's heartbroken. 

"I just want justice, that's it," Uddin said. "Everybody wants that." 

Akonjee’s son-in-law, Momin Ahmed, said the community is struggling to make sense of the killing of such a beloved man.

"Everybody's not doing very good," Ahmed said. "He's the greatest guy. I've been married for 13 years. So since that, we've been talking every day. He calls me every few hours." 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the shootings. 

"The perpetrator of these senseless killings must be swiftly apprehended and face the full force of the law," said Afaf Nasher, the executive director of the organization's New York chapter. "We ask anyone with information about this attack to contact appropriate law enforcement authorities."

The Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Shahriar Alam, posted a message on Twitter calling the shooting a "cowardly act on peace-loving people."

Photo Credit: NBC New York
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<![CDATA[NJ Mayor Reacts Angrily to Questions About Odd Jobs]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 20:13:04 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/paterson+mayor+joey+torres.jpg

Paterson, New Jersey's, mayor was happy to take questions from reporters following his recent State of the City address.

But Jose "Joey" Torres was not so happy when the I-Team tried to ask him about our reports showing city employees doing private jobs for him - sometimes while on the clock.

"Get out of my office!" he told an I-Team producer before asking a police officer to escort her and a cameraman from City Hall.

For months, Torres has refused to answer questions about a series of I-Team stories that appeared to show city employees doing private jobs for him, from washing his scooter and building bookshelves to doing construction at his nephew's would-be beer business. When the I-Team caught up with him before our first story in March, Torres said in an email no employees had ever done private jobs for him while on overtime.

"Please be advised that at no time has any city employee, on city time, or overtime, or paid with taxpayer dollars, ever performed work for me at my home, or anywhere else," he wrote.

The I-Team later obtained records that seem to show that at least eight employees had indeed been earning overtime during the same periods they were seen on camera doing private work at the mayor's home and the planned beer business. But the mayor never responded to requests for further explanation.

The videos were taken by private investigator Harry Melber, who was hired by a developer who was in a permit dispute with the city. Melber followed and filmed Torres at his home and the planned business for about a year beginning in Nov. 2014.

This month, the I-Team obtained documents that seem to show an additional worker shown on tape at the mayor's beer business was billing overtime.

On Dec. 6, 2014, Department of Public Works employee Gaspar Cintron was seen on tape at the beer business linked to the mayor's nephew about 11:47 a.m. He billed overtime from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day, saying on a signed report that he removed sewer pumps from the board of health building - between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Cintron has not returned calls seeking comment.

City worker Tim Hanlon was also at the beer site that weekend morning - and records show he too billed overtime that day.

In addition to eight cases where the I-Team found employees appearing to do work for the mayor while records show they were on the clock, there are at least 10 other instances where tapes showed workers doing private jobs, but records do not show they billed overtime. In one case, they are shown helping his daughter move. In others, they removed construction debris, or washed his scooter.

After the I-Team's initial report, the state Attorney General's office launched an investigation.

It all comes as Paterson faces a budget crisis that led the mayor to call for the closing of summer programs for children in the city.

The Paterson Press analyzed payroll data of some of the city workers seen in the I-Team's reports. The newspaper found some were paid thousands or even tens of thousands in overtime — in one case, up to $45,000 in billed overtime, raising additional questions about how much of that overtime might have been given for work on private jobs, including jobs for the mayor or his family.

<![CDATA[NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Stepping Down ]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 23:27:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bill-bratton-nypd1.jpg

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is stepping down as the city's top cop and will be replaced by Chief of Department  James O'Neill in September, Mayor de Blasio announced Tuesday. 

De Blasio lauded the commissioner's contributions to New York City since taking over the job in January 2014 and praised the man who will replace him, a veteran cop with more than 30 years on the force who grew up in the city and whose experience he said will advance the work of neighborhood policing. 

Under Bratton, the city already has made plans to shift toward that strategy, one predicated on building trust and working relationships between police and communities. O'Neill has been heavily involved in those efforts, and de Blasio said neighborhood policing would be in place in 51 precincts as of this fall. 

"I don't think anyone could've imagined a more productive 31 months. We will never forget or fail to honor the achievements of Bill Bratton," de Blasio said. 

Of O'Neill, he added, "Jimmy is the real thing in every way."

Bratton will stay on with the department until mid-September to ease the transition, officials said. According to a news release from global consulting firm Teneo, Bratton will join the company as the senior managing director and executive chairman of a newly formed risk management division.

Sources close to the commissioner told NBC 4 New York that the job was a "perfect fit" for financial and lifestyle reasons, and that Teneo wanted him sooner than he had planned to be available.

De Blasio joked that Bratton would be able to "afford" to take him out to eat in the new job. 

Bratton did not address the new position at the resignation announcement Tuesday, but instead reflected on his long-standing relationship with New York City and the people and politicians within it. The Massachusetts native called himself a "proud adopted son" of New York City and touted O'Neill's prowess, saying he would help make a seamless transition that, in this age of terror and sometimes volatile race relations, is more important than ever. 

The resignation comes days after Bratton told The New York Times in a widely cited interview that he wouldn't serve as the city's top cop after 2017. Law enforcement sources say he has been talking to de Blasio for at least a month about the possibility that he may vacate his office earlier. 

Bratton has served as the city's commissioner under de Blasio since January 2014 and was also the commissioner during the Giuliani administration. He is credited as one of the early proponents of the CompStat crime-tracking methodology and the "broken windows" policing philosophy, which prioritizes enforcement of minor offenses to prevent major violent crimes. He also served as the top cop in Los Angeles and Boston.

De Blasio tapped Bratton for the job after campaigning on a promise to change police tactics and the department's relationship with New Yorkers. In announcing his resignation Tuesday, de Blasio vowed to continue that charge, and said O'Neill would be an extraordinary leader of the department. 

O'Neill said rather than look at the promotion as the culmination of the career "of an old transit cop like me," he said he sees it as an opportunity and invitation to advance all of the work Bratton has done in the last 31 months. 

"I love being a cop. I love this uniform. I love what it stands for," O'Neill said. "We are here for you, the people of this city." 

O'Neill spoke of his optimism for the future -- a hopefulness imparted to him by his mother. 

"Because of her I learned we can change the world into what we want it to be and that life is about much much more than just oneself, it's about all of us," O'Neill said, choking back tears. 

He also emphasized the importance of bridging the divide between communities and police, and reiterated that the department knows most of the crimes in the city are perpetrated by a few criminals. O'Neill said he would focus on zeroing in on those perpetrators as Bratton has done while working to protect the city from broader scale threats like terrorism. 

Despite some of the lowest crime rates the city has seen in history, Bratton's latest tenure as the head of the NYPD has been marred by tumultuous relations with the public and a tense standoff between the department's rank-and-file union and de Blasio following the killings of two officers in late 2014. 

But sources close to the commissioner say he feels comfortable leaving the post with the crime rates as low as they are and in the capable hands of O'Neill. 

"I'm leaving because it's the right time," Bratton said Tuesday. 

The sources also said he wants to take more time for his three grandchildren, and that he wanted to leave before the next mayoral campaign. 

Ben Tucker, first deputy NYPD commissioner, will stay on, and Carlos Gomez, the NYPD's chief of patrol, who has been with the force since 1984, will take over as chief of department. Calling Gomez a great friend, O'Neill said he "has the will to make the change, the vision to make the change." 

The fate of others, including Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counter-terrorism John Miller and spokesman Stephen Davis are unclear. 

Bratton's resume is unmatched in local law enforcement. He first held the top NYPD post in 1994 and is credited with leading the development of CompStat, a crime-mapping database begun in New York City that has been copied by police in other cities. Crime dropped significantly during his tenure, but civilian complaints about police misconduct and brutality went up. 

Somewhat coincidentally, protesters had staged a demonstration outside City Hall Monday night and Tuesday to call for Bratton's resignation. One protester said that he was "very happy" to see Bratton step down and that he "will take anyone over Bratton, even a corpse."

The head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the NYPD's largest union, said that he "wishes him well in his new endeavors."

"We hope that Chief O'Neill will make supporting and protecting police officers on the street his first priority when he assumes his new role," said PBA President Patrick Lynch. "We look forward to working with him to make sure that New York City police officers are fully supported, with the fair compensation, staffing, equipment and training that we need to protect all New Yorkers.”

Under Giuliani, Bratton was also remembered for his theatrics, including proposing a police parade on his birthday. He left the job for the private sector in 1996, creating his own law enforcement consulting business. 

Bratton, a Vietnam veteran who began his career as a Boston police officer, served as chief of the LAPD from 2002 to 2009, where he dramatically expanded the use of stop and frisk. On his watch as NYPD commissioner, the department drastically scaled back that strategy, but stepped up enforcement against of so-called "quality of life" offenses. Critics said that approach still unfairly targeted people of color. 

Bratton was also hired by Oakland, California, in 2013 to serve as a consultant to the city’s troubled police department.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Court Won't Toss Corruption Charges Against NJ Senator]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 14:04:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_271473091102.jpg

A federal appeals court refused to toss bribery-related charges against Sen. Robert Menendez, ruling in a unanimous decision that the New Jersey Democrat should face trial. 

Menendez had asked the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out the case where he was accused of accepting gifts like free vacations and private jet trips from a wealthy Florida optometrist.  In exchange, prosecutors said Menendez urged the government to adopt reimbursement policies that would benefit Melgen, to honor a Dominican port security contract with a company in which Melgen was an investor, and to get visas for Melgen's girlfriends.  

Menendez’s lawyers had argued the senator’s actions on behalf of the eye doctor were protected legislative activity under the consitution’s Speech or Debate clause. 

In a 3-0 decision, the court wrote that it rejects "Menendez’s first argument that the Speech or Debate clause necessarily protects apparently legislative activity … The predominant purpose of the challenge acts was to pursue a political resolution to Dr. Melgen’s disputes and not to discuss broader issues of policy."

Under the clause, senators are not "super-citizens" who have unlimited protection on non-legislative actions, the panel said. Non-legislative acts are defined as legitimate constituent services, assistance in securing contracts or even accepting bribes in exchange for official action.

"Even if these non-legislative acts involve policy or relate to protected legislative activity, they are not protected," the court said.

The court also disagreed with Menendez's claims that he was addressing policy issues as a senator, writing "there is substantial record support for the District court’s findings that those concerns were instead efforts to help Dr. Melgen.”

Friday's decision did not address the merits of the charges and noted that there is some evidence in favor of Menendez. That's for a jury to work out at trial, the court said.

The Menendez ruling was being closely watched because it comes after the Supreme Court threw out the corruption conviction of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.  But legal experts said the issues and charges in the Menendez case do not fit neatly into the 8-0 McDonnell decision.

Attorneys for Menendez have said that they intend to appeal the decision and that "once all the facts are heard, the Senator remains confident that he will be vindicated."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Heavily Armed Cops Being Posted Outside NYPD Precincts: Memo]]> Tue, 19 Jul 2016 09:24:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/216*120/GettyImages-576502502.jpg

The NYPD is posting heavily armed police units outside precincts and station houses in the wake of police killings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas over the last several weeks, a department memo obtained by NBC 4 New York reveals.

The memo says that officers from two of the department's elite units, the Critical Response Command and Strategic Response Group, began patrolling with helmets and long guns outside police stations and transit districts on Monday.

The memo said that while no credible threats against the department or its officers have been made, NYPD officials are urging officers to "remain vigilant and utilize safe tactics both on and off-duty."

The measures come days after gunmen killed eight police officers in separate shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. 

The NYPD had told officers to take extra precautions and patrol in pairs after each shooting

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[3 Charged With Murdering Gov. Cuomo Aide ]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:31:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/luncheon+crawford.jpg

Three men face murder charges and another man is charged with a weapons offense in the 2015 shooting death of an aide to Gov. Cuomo, prosecutors said Wednesday. 

The suspects charged with murder, all alleged gang members, are being held equally responsible for the death of Carey Gabay, who was caught in the crossfire between two gangs along the West Indian Day Parade route Sept. 7. 

Gabay had been at a predawn festival leading up to the parade when he was shot in the head. The 43-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer and Bronx native died after being hospitalized for more than a week while in a coma. 

Micah Alleyne, 24, Tyshawn Crawford, 21, and Keith Luncheon, 24, are named in a 16-count indictment charging them with various counts of second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment. Each faces up to 25 years in prison on the top count. 

Stanley Elianor, 25, had previously been charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly possessing a machine gun at the scene. He was arraigned in October and faces up to 15 years in prison. 

Alleyne, Crawford and Luncheon didn't speak at their arraignment Wednesday. Information on their attorneys wasn't immediately available. 

The J’ouvert festival Gabay had been attending and the parade that follows attract hundreds of thousands of revelers to Brooklyn every Labor Day but have been marred by several shootings in recent years. 

Prosecutors say two to three dozen shots were fired from at least eight firearms when Gabay was hit. They say multiple gang members were in the area amid heightened tensions and intended to shoot at rivals on sight; Gabay was an unintended target and had tried to hide behind a parked car. 

In a statement, Cuomo said Gabay helped New York pass the nation's toughest gun safety law, but that his death shows the inadequacy of federal gun laws. 

"Carey Gabay was a dedicated public servant whose life was cut short due to reckless gun violence – tragedy that plagues too many of our communities," Cuomo said. "While we took a great step forward with our historic legislation, without action from Congress, known criminals will continue to buy guns in other states today and sell them on the black market in New York tomorrow."


Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Court Ruling in Ex-Gov Case Could Impact NY, NJ Corruption Cases]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 22:11:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/McDonnell4.jpg

The Supreme Court Monday vacated the corruption conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, raising new questions about how three major political corruption cases in New York and New Jersey could be prosecuted.

In the McDonnell case, the justices voted 8-0 to narrow the definition of the kind of acts needed to prove corruption and to require that prosecutors must show the public official made a conscious decision to act.

The ruling called the governor’s actions distasteful or worse, but still sent the case back to the 4th Circuit to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a new trial under the narrower definition of corruption. 

“Our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute,” Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “A more limited interpretation of the term ‘official act’ leaves ample room for prosecuting corruption, while comporting with the text of the statute and the precedent of this court.”  

The ruling said in part that it is a crime if prosecutors can show the official entered into an agreement to act in exchange for the gifts.  

The ruling could be good news for embattled Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who was charged with corruption for allegedly accepting gifts like free vacations from a Florida eye doctor. Prosecutors said he used his office to try to help that doctor with business deals and to pressure officials who were reviewing allegations of Medicare funding abuses by the doctor.

Former independent counsel Robert Ray said the Supreme Court decision Monday could be seen as good news for the senator.

"I don’t think it will gut the government’s case but it will just make it more difficult to prove Menendez guilty," Ray said. 

Menendez was already appealing to have the case thrown out under a different standard – the Constitution’s Speech or Debate clause.  His lawyer Abbe Lowell said the new ruling could also benefit the senator.

“The Supreme Court made clear again today that the everyday actions of public officials like setting up meetings, making phones calls and advocating for people, issues or causes is not a crime.  We are looking at the language of the Court as against the issues in our case because it appears that the Supreme Court has now significantly narrowed the law.”

A Justice Department spokesman, Mark Abueg, declined to comment on the Menendez case.

Legal expert Ray said he also expects the convictions of former New York state Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver (D-NY) and former New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos (Rspe-Nassau) to be vacated by an appeals court under the new corruption standards set by the Supreme Court. 

Ray said to expect both convicted politicians to get new trials because the jury were now likely “defective”  – that corruption may have been defined to the jury too broadly in those cases.   

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, "While we are reviewing the McDonnell decision, the official actions that led to the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos fall squarely within the definition set forth by the Supreme Court today." 

An attorney for Skelos declined to comment. 

Silver’s attorney said, ”The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today in the McDonnell case makes clear that federal government has gone too far in prosecuting state officials for conduct that is part of the everyday functioning of those in elected office. The McDonnell decision will be central to Mr. Silver’s appeal.”

McDonnell, a Republican, was accused of taking $175,000 in cash and gifts which were legal under Virginia state law at the time.  McDonnell arranged meetings and attended events with the businessman who gave him the gifts.

McDonnell’s lawyers had argued there was no quid pro quo and thus there was no corruption.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Alleged Killer Who Pushed Body on Cart Through Nabe Indicted]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:22:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dead-body-dolly-0520.jpg

A man seen wheeling his wife’s dead body on a dolly through a Staten Island neighborhood has been indicted on murder and strangulation charges, among other crimes, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Anthony Lopez was arrested in May after he was seen carting the body of his 26-year-old wife, Obiamaka Aduba, along Post Lane in Mariner's Harbor, according to court documents. He ran away when police pulled up, dumping his wife's body in the grass, and was captured by authorities the next day.

Lopez, 31, allegedly strangled his common-law wife at some point between midnight and 7 a.m. on May 20 near their Richmond Terrace home, the five-count indictment charges. He then allegedly put her body on the cart and wheeled it along the street in an effort to hide it. 

Lopez pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday and was remanded. Information on his attorney wasn't immediately available. 

"The circumstances surrounding the victim’s death are disturbing in nature and my office will vigorously pursue justice for this tragic loss of life," District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said in a statement.

Lopez had been arrested more than 50 times between 2000 and 2016 on charges including robbery, larceny, assault and drug crimes, police sources said.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[3 Nabbed With Loaded Guns, Knives, Armor on Way to NYC]]> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 23:45:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/guns-splitsscreen-0621.jpg

Three people were arrested with multiple loaded guns, knives and ballistic vests at the Holland Tunnel Tuesday when police stopped them for driving with a cracked windshield, authorities tell NBC 4 New York.

John Cramsey, 50, and Dean Smith, 53, both of Zionsville, Pennsylvania, and Kimberly Arendt, 29, of Lehighton, were stopped on the New Jersey side of the tunnel around 8 a.m., authorities said.

A search of their vehicle -- a brightly colored Dodge utility vehicle with logo decals for Tonka, Monster energy drinks and another one that read "Higher Ground Tactical", apparently a gun range and shop in Emmaus, Pennsylvania -- revealed the weapons cache. 

The guns seized included long-range weapons as well as handguns. A camouflage helmet with what appeared to be night goggles was also recovered.

Two senior law enforcement officials say the three suspects are so-called "gun enthusiasts" and have no nexus to terror. There is no known threat.

Drugs were in the vehicle along with the guns, according to one law enforcement official. 

Cramsey wrote on Smith's Facebook page early Tuesday morning that he was driving to New York to "do an extraction" of a 16-year-old girl from a hotel room in Brooklyn after an issue involving drugs, The Associated Press reported. Smith replied, "I'm there." It was unclear what, if anything, the weapons had to do with their plans.

Cramsey's 20-year-old daughter died from a heroin overdose four months ago Tuesday and he has since attended town hall meetings around the Allentown area to voice his concerns over the drug epidemic, The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, reported.

"This is a plague and we are losing our brightest and most brilliant minds," Cramsey told the newspaper shortly after his daughter was found dead of an overdose with another man inside an Allentown home.

The truck, which had a picture of the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment on the side and sported an arrow as an antenna, was impounded after the stop. It's not clear if the truck was owned by Higher Ground Tactical. NBC 4 New York has reached out to the company for comment. 

The investigation is ongoing.

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<![CDATA[Man Convicted of Murdering Young NY Mom Who Vanished in 2014]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 15:52:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dante+taylor+suspect+sarah+goode+murder+perp+walk.jpg

A 21-year-old man has been convicted of murder and attempted rape in the death of Sarah Goode, the young Medford mother who vanished after attending a party in June 2014 and was found in the woods five days later. 

Dante Taylor, of Mastic, faces life imprisonment without parole when he is sentenced next month. The jury deliberated three days before convicting him. 

Goode, a 21-year-old medical technician with a then-4-year-old daughter, went to a party June 7, 2014, and never came home. Her body was found June 12 less than a mile from her home; she had been stabbed 42 times. 

Taylor was initially arrested on an unrelated rape charge from 2011 that was developed during the investigation into Goode's murder, officials said, and then charged with the murder of Goode. 

Goode's sister Elizabeth DeMuria says the young mother didn't know her accused attacker. Police have not said whether there is any connection between the two.

<![CDATA[Teen Sentenced in Mattress Fire That Killed NYPD Cop]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 19:01:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fatal+fire+trial+marcell+dockery+confession.jpg

The Brooklyn teenager convicted last month of setting a mattress fire that killed a New York City police officer has been sentenced to 19 years to life in the arson murder. 

Marcell Dockery, 18, had been facing 25 years to life after being convicted in May of murder, arson and assault in connection with the April 2014 fire that killed Officer Dennis Guerra and injured his partner, Rosa Rodriguez.

Dockery did not speak during sentencing.

"We're satisfied," Guerra's mother told reporters afterward. "At least we know that justice was served." 

"We don't want him to suffer. But he has to pay the consequences," said Guerra's father. 

"While there was talk of forgiveness in this courtroom, forgiveness does not mean we forget. We won't forget what Dennis meant to this family," Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said as Guerra's family stood behind him. 

Dockery's lawyer said they're continuing to work on an appeal.

"He still maintains his innocence," said the attorney. 

Prosecutors alleged Dockery set fire to a mattress in the hallway of a public housing apartment building in Coney Island on April 6, 2014. Guerra and Rodriguez were responding to the scene when they were overcome by smoke and carbon monoxide. Firefighters found the two officers unconscious. Guerra died three days later and Rodriguez spent six weeks in a hospital.

After the fire, Dockery, who lived in the building, told detectives he used a lighter to set the mattress on fire. A videotape of Dockery's interrogation was admitted as evidence during the trial.

"I decided to take a lighter and light the top of the mattress because I was bored," he told police.

But Dockery, who testified in his own defense, said he lied to the detectives and claimed he discovered the fire and tried to save other residents. He said police threatened to evict his family if he didn't tell the truth and that detectives told him he wouldn't be charged if he confessed.

<![CDATA[Email Scams Cost U.S. Businesses Billions Each Year]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 16:42:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Hacker506944962.jpg

As part of an effort to raise public awareness of the increasing threat cyber criminals pose to America's business community, the FBI issued a public service announcement Tuesday highlighting email scams that have cost businesses worldwide more than $3 billion over the last two and a half years. 

The scammers target businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments by compromising their business email accounts through social engineering or by hacking into their computers, the FBI says. 

In some cases, cyber criminals will hack into the emails of company executives and use those email accounts to request employees' personal information from the company's human resources department. 

In other cases, cyber thieves pose as an attorney or vendor used by the company to request a transfer of funds. They send a spoof email using an email address that appears similar to the legitimate accounts. 

According to the FBI, more than 22,000 companies around the world have reported their email accounts compromised since January 2013, resulting in unauthorized transfers of billions of dollars, mostly going to banks in China and Hong Kong. 

At Tuesday's announcement, the FBI also discussed recent increases in the use of ransomware, in which cyber thieves install malware that encrypts all files on a computer network until a ransom is paid by the victim company, and the increased vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure, which was hacked 295 times in 2015, up from 39 times two years earlier. 

The head of the FBI's Cyber Task Force in New York, Aristedes Mahairas, identified China, Russia, North Korea and Iran as the leading sponsors of the state-sponsored cyber crime. 

Mahairas said that in addition to investigating cyber crimes, the FBI Cyber Task Force is educating and partnering with the private sector to address the burgeoning cyber crime problem. 

Mahairas said victims of cyber criminals can report suspicious activity to the FBI Cyber Task Force at (212) 384-1000 or at www.IC3.gov.

Photo Credit: Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD Cop Wounded in Hatchet Attack to Accept Medal]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:44:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hatchet+attack+cop+inset.jpg

The rookie NYPD officer who was critically hurt when a stranger attacked him with a hatchet will accept the police department’s most esteemed award Tuesday, the Medal of Honor.

Kenneth Healey and three other officers were on patrol on Jamaica Avenue in October 2014 when a man charged them with an 18-inch hatchet, gashing Healey in the head and hitting officer Joseph Meeker in the arm.

All four officers will be honored at the morning ceremony at NYPD headquarters. Meeker will receive the Medal of Valor, while officers Taylor Kraft, and Peter Rivera will receive the police Combat Cross.

"A lot of people who receive this award are no longer with us, so it's definitely an honor to receive such a high award from the department," Healey told the I-Team in his first interview about the award.

"If I could go back in time, I wish nothing like this would ever happened. But I’m still here and it’s definitely an honor," he said. 

Healey and three other NYPD officers were on patrol on Jamaica Avenue in October 2014 when they stopped to let a freelance photographer take their photo. As the officers posed for the photo, Zale Thompson charged at them with the hatchet, wounding Healey and Meeker. Two other officers shot and killed Thompson on the street, and authorities said he was still holding the hatchet when he was pronounced dead.

The ax shattered Healey's skull, and he needed numerous surgeries during his recovery. He told the I-Team in an exclusive interview in May 2015 he didn't think it was possible to get hit that hard and survive.

"You know, one second you’re taking a picture and the next, you know, I’m staring at my skull on the floor in a puddle of blood," Healey said. "I had no idea why it happened.”

Healey, who has returned to work on desk duty since the incident, said he still suffers from the injury. But he sees improvements every day.

“It’s definitely been slow progress but I do notice changes," Healey told the I-Team this week. "Every few months that go by I’ll notice things get a little bit better."

Healey’s fellow officers said they are touched to receive such an honor, and especially impressed by Healey’s remarkable recovery.

"It’s unbelievable, it’s a miracle to see where he’s at now," Kraft said.

Healey said he is especially affected by what he called the lone wolf attack in Orlando this weekend, knowing firsthand how much damage one person can do.

"Going through it myself and, and making it out it’s horrible to hear about what’s happened," he said.

He said he had this message to the survivors: "You can get through it. I did. Just keep fighting, never give up."

<![CDATA[More Proof of NJ City Workers Doing Personal Jobs on Clock]]> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 19:06:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/paterson+workers+folo+time+cards1.jpg

Outrage is growing in Paterson, as new records obtained by the I-Team seem to show even more overtime billed by city employees while they were doing private jobs for the mayor.

Over the last two months, the I-Team has released exclusive video showing Paterson workers doing private jobs for Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres, both at his home and at his nephew’s beer business on East 15th Street, while charging overtime to taxpayers. In some cases, the workers were in uniform. And in some cases, they arrived in city vehicles.

Now, new time sheets seem to show at least three more instances of employees doing private work for the mayor at his nephew’s business while on the clock for the city.

On March 24, 2015, Department of Public Works employee Tim Hanlon is seen on video working at the warehouse after 6 p.m., drinking from a bottle and carrying a ladder. But Hanlon’s time sheets for that day show that he billed six hours of overtime that day, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

On that same day, DPW Supervisor Joseph Mania is seen on video talking to the mayor at the warehouse around 6:15 p.m., even though his time sheets appear to show he billed taxpayers for five hours of work that day, from about 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Two days later, city carpenter Jorge Makdissi is seen on video loading equipment onto a truck at about 4:30 p.m. Records show he billed taxpayers for about six hours of work at that same time, from about 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The videos also show Torres at the site repeatedly arriving in his city-issued suburban. At times he is seen walking around the site with various workers. Once, he is seen delivering what appears to be beer to workers at the site.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Mayor Torres referred the I-Team to the city’s lawyer. Domenick Stampone, Paterson’s corporation counsel, said city officials are “aware of” the state attorney general’s investigation into the matter and they have complied with all requests for information. He said he could not comment further because of the ongoing investigation.

The workers shown in the videos have not responded to repeated requests for comment about the newest videos by the I-Team.

Meanwhile, Paterson City Council members expressed concern about the widening probe.

“It’s very disturbing,” said Maritza Davila, a Paterson councilwoman who chairs the Department of Public Works Committee. Referring to the I-Team report, she said, "A lot of people were looking at something that doesn’t look right."

When the I-Team met with Hanlon in March, he told the I-Team he never billed taxpayers overtime for side projects. Asked about his work at the warehouse, he said he did the work for free as a chance to spend time with the city’s mayor and share some beers with colleagues. He has not returned calls from the I-Team in recent days.

After the I-Team’s initial report in March, the New Jersey attorney general’s office announced it would investigate. At the time, Torres denied that he had ever asked city workers to do personal jobs for him while they were on the clock.

In a Paterson Press newspaper report about the I-Team’s story, Torres told the newspaper that in one case, one or two city employees worked at his property to build four bookshelves in his daughter’s bedroom in the past year. He said the job was done on the employees’ own time, and that he paid for the supplies and gave the employees $50 for the work.

Former FBI official J.J. Klaver said the behavior documented on tape and in city records appears to be improper.

“If you’re the mayor of a city and you’re using public employees for your personal benefit, or to benefit your friends, your neighbors, your business associates, that could potentially be charged as a federal crime,” Klaver said.

On Friday, Viomedes Miaaya, who volunteered on Torres’s campaign some years ago, said he is troubled by the allegations.

"In Paterson, the taxes are raising like crazy, and people are tired of the situation happening in Paterson," Miaaya said.

Questions about the employees seen at the mayor’s home come amid a budget crisis in Paterson. At recent City Council meetings, angry residents have complained about rising taxes and failing city services. The City Council finally passed a budget this spring after an earlier budget rejection forced employees to stay home for a day without pay, and closed Paterson’s libraries, senior services and after-school recreation programs.

<![CDATA[NY Man Out on Bail to Await 3rd Trial in '94 Rape, Slaying]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 18:32:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/anthony+dipippo.jpg

A judge has ordered the release of a 40-year-old man twice convicted in the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl in Putnam County. 

Anthony DiPippo was released from Putnam County Jail on $1 million bail Wednesday as he awaits his third trial in the 1994 killing of Josette Wright. The bail was secured by his family and posted by high-profile bondsman Ira Judelson. 

DiPippo was found guilty of murdering and raping the girl in two separate trials, and higher courts have overturned the convictions each time. He has maintained his innocence in the child's murder. 

He will now remain under his house arrest at his family's home with a monitoring bracelet until the next trial. 

Wright's family was in court Wednesday and clearly upset. They believe DiPippo is guilty and hope he is convicted a third time. 

DiPippo said he understood the family's feelings.

"It was a tragic thing," he said. "I couldn't imagine how bad it was for them all these years. I pray for them and hope they find some semblance of peace."

Wright disappeared in early October 1994, and her remains were discovered in woods in Patterson more than 13 months later, The Journal News reports. DiPippo and his friend Andrew Krivak were charged in the case in July 1996.

Krivak was tried separately in 1997 and convicted, and is currently serving a 25-years to life sentence. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[NJ City Workers Do Personal Jobs for Mayor on the Clock]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 21:08:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/paterson+workers+folo+time+cards1.jpg

New evidence has surfaced showing Paterson, New Jersey, city workers are doing jobs at a site tied to the mayor’s family, in some cases apparently on taxpayers' dime. 

Two months ago, the I-Team released exclusive video showing Paterson workers doing private jobs at Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres' home while, in several cases, their time sheets showed they were on the clock for the city. 

The I-Team has obtained additional records that show workers were also on the clock while doing a pet project for the mayor at a different site – a warehouse where his nephew planned to open a beer business. 

On numerous days last year, videos show Torres visiting the construction site while city Department of Public Works employees labored there. In some cases, the workers were in uniform. In some cases, they arrived in city vehicles. 

The videos were shot by a private eye hired by a developer who had a permit dispute with the city. 

Neither Torres nor the workers returned repeated calls for comment. 

On surveillance video reviewed by the I-Team, DPW carpenter Jorge Makdissi is seen several times at the warehouse, carrying tools, loading in boards and doing other work. Records obtained by the I-Team show Makdissi billed overtime to the city during some of the hours he is captured on video working at this private project. 

On Monday, March 16, 2015, tapes show Makdissi started work at the East 15th Street warehouse around 4 p.m. Makdissi’s time sheets for that day show he billed taxpayers six hours of overtime starting at 4 p.m. 

While Makdissi did not return the I-Team's calls for this story, he has denied wrongdoing in the past. He said he worked for the mayor for cash and never billed the city for work. 

Paterson DPW supervisor Joseph Mania is also seen on the video working on a door after 4 p.m. March 16, while city records show he billed taxpayers overtime from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. that same day. He did not return calls for comment. 

A third worker, Tim Hanlon, was also there that day. 

He’s seen on the tape at 5:46 p.m. Records show he billed taxpayers six hours of overtime from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. that day. 

On Saturday, Dec. 6, Hanlon is seen at the site just before noon holding a bottle. That same Saturday, records show Hanlon billed taxpayers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The I-Team met with Hanlon in March. At that time, he told the I-Team he never billed taxpayers overtime for side projects. Asked about his work at the warehouse, he said he did the work for free as a chance to spend time with the city’s mayor and share some beers with colleagues. He has not returned calls from the I-Team in recent days. 

The tapes show Torres at the site repeatedly arriving in his city-issued suburban. At times he is seen walking around the site with various workers. Once, he is seen delivering what appears to be beer to workers at the site. 

After the I-Team’s initial report in March, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office announced it would investigate. At the time, Torres denied that he had ever asked city workers to do personal jobs for him while they were on the clock. 

In a Paterson Press newspaper report about the I-Team’s story, Torres told the newspaper that in one case, one or two city employees worked at his property to build four bookshelves in his daughter’s bedroom in the past year. He said the job was done on the employees’ own time, and that he paid for the supplies and gave the employees $50 for the work. 

Former FBI official J.J. Klaver said the behavior documented on tape and in city records appears to be improper. 

“If you’re the mayor of a city and you’re using public employees for your personal benefit, or to benefit your friends, your neighbors, your business associates, that could potentially be charged as a federal crime,” Klaver said. 

Questions about the employees seen at the mayor’s home come amid a budget crisis in Paterson. At recent City Council meetings, angry residents have complained about rising taxes and failing city services. The City Council finally passed a budget this spring after an earlier budget rejection forced employees to stay home for a day without pay, and closed Paterson’s libraries, senior services and after-school recreation programs.

<![CDATA[Correction Boss Busted in Alleged Pension Scam]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 22:52:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/norman+seabrook+arrest.jpg

The leader of a powerful city union who allegedly accepted lavish gifts, exotic trips and cold hard cash in exchange for the investment of pension funds was arrested by the FBI on corruption charges in an ongoing investigation focusing on the NYPD and City Hall.

Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association for the past 21 years, was arrested at his Bronx home early Wednesday morning and charged with honest services fraud and conspiracy.

Investigators allege Seabrook took kickbacks in connection with his union’s pension fund investments.

Seabrook allegedly received $60,000 in payoffs and in exchange directed a total of $20 million in the union's retirement funds to the Platinum Investment fund, according to court documents.

The former head of the fund, Murray Huberfeld, was also arrested and charged with honest services fraud and conspiracy Wednesday morning. His bond was set at $1 million to be secured by $500,000 in property and co-signed by two financially responsible individuals. 

Seabrook and Huberfeld have both denied wrongdoing. 

Seabrook was introduced to Huberfeld on Dec. 13, 2013 by a man sources familiar with the case identify as Jonah Rechnitz, a borough park fundraiser for Mayor de Blasio. Sources say Rechnitz secretly pleaded guilty and is now cooperating with federal investigators. Rechnitz allegedly introduced the two after Seabrook complained he was not getting bribe money for investing the correction officers’ union funds, the complaint states.

A bribe-for-investment deal between Seabrook and Huberfeld was brokered by Rechnitz in late December 2013, the sources say. Seabrook allegedly agreed to receive two percent of the profit Platinum stood to gain off the union's investment. Seabrook was told he would be paid between $100,000 and $150,000 annually. 

After multi-million dollar investments into Platinum, Seabrook complained to the Rechnitz witness that he had not received the kickback money he was promised for the investment.

Rechnitz then agreed to pay Seabrook $60,000 on behalf of Platinum. 

On Dec. 11, 2014, Seabrook met Rechnitz near Ferragamo, his favorite luxury goods store in Manhattan. Rechnitz handed Seabrook a Ferragamo bag stuffed with $60,000, the complaint states.  

It wasn't the first time Rechnitz offered Seabrook lavish gifts, according to the complaint. 

In late 2013, Rechnitz, Seabrook, and an unnamed NYPD officer traveled to the Dominican Republic twice. Rechnitz paid for the airfare on both trips, the complaint states.

Ironically, it was on one of the trips to the Dominican Republic that Rechnitz first learned Seabrook wanted to receive bribes for investing his union's funds, according to the complaint.

After a night of drinking, Seabrook complained about his work investing the union's funds and told Rechnitz that it was time "Norman Seabrook got paid," the complaint states.  

Rechnitz set up the meeting between Seabrook and Huberfeld soon after they returned from the Dominican Republic, according to court documents. 

"[Seabrook] made decisions about how to invest correction officers’ retirement money…based not on what was good for his union members, but based on what was good for Norman Seabrook," U.S. Attorny Preet Bharara said at a press conference Wednesday. "For a Ferragamo bag filled with $60,000 in cash, Seabrook allegedly sold himself and his duty to safeguard the retirement funds of his fellow correction officers."

Seabrook’s attorney, Paul Shechtman, said, “Norman Seabrook has spent his life fighting for correction officers. One should not expect him to stop fighting now.”

Alan Levine, attorney for Jonah Rechnitz, had no comment.

The arrests come as federal authorities investigate allegations that NYPD officers engaged in a cash-for-favors scheme, and as Mayor de Blasio’s campaign fundraising is under scrutiny. The mayor insists his fundraising followed all laws.

"If proven true, these allegations are disgusting because it means he stole money from his own members," Mayor de Blasio said about Seabrook's arrest Wednesday.

De Blasio also said he was not worried that it may signal further troubles in the corruption probe focused on City Hall.

"What he did involves his own union and his own pension fund...if proven this is incredibly troubling," de Blasio said.  

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>