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Mahopac Criminal Defense Law Blog

Police sting at State Fair nets many arrests for sex offenses

State officials were out in force at the New York State Fair this month in an effort to apprehend prostitutes and other sex offenders. During the five days of the fair, nearly 30 people were arrested for sex offenses. Authorities arrested 18 women for prostitution and 10 persons for promoting or profiting from prostitution. These are all misdemeanors under the law.

One man was arrested for sex trafficking, a class B felony. Officials also arrested him for assault for allegedly forcing women into sex to pay for their drug debts. He allegedly burned one of the victims with a cigarette.

White collar felony charges leveled against four business owners

The New York Inspector General recently announced the arrest of four business owners on fraud and theft charges with respect to alleged violations of the state's workers' compensation system. The law requires that each employer must carry workers' compensation insurance coverage for benefits prescribed by state law to those who are injured at work. In one case, authorities charged the owner with grand larceny and falsifying business records, both felony charges, and with the failure to obtain compensation insurance, a misdemeanor.

They allege that the business owner provided fake documentation of workers' compensation coverage to a home builder in order to obtain two subcontracts worth $72,000. They allege that the business had no coverage at the time. Authorities charged an owner of an online candle business with fraudulent practices, insurance fraud and grand larceny, all felonies. It is alleged he was a truck driver who was out of work since 2010 and collecting compensation benefits while at the same time certifying that he was not working.

Former lawmaker convicted of felony charges may get house arrest

Occasionally, a convicted defendant's terminal health condition will affect the nature of the sentence that is imposed. In one white collar criminal conviction in New York state, the U.S. Attorney has relinquished an attempt to have a former powerful state senator incarcerated due to the defendant's reportedly terminal cancer diagnosis. The U.S. Attorney stated that the decision -- made in the face of a conviction on felony charges for lying to the FBI -- was made after the prosecution's own medical expert agreed with the defendant's experts that the defendant has one year or less to live.

The prosecution indicated that it would not object to a sentence of home confinement. The government made it clear that it normally would have sought a custodial sentence, which is certainly a claim to be believed. The conviction on the one felony count exposes the defendant to up to five years in prison.

Felony charges against 17 for running Internet gambling ring

New York authorities on Oct. 29 participated in the arrest of 17 persons spread through four states for running what the police called a "highly sophisticated" crime enterprise centered around gambling on the Internet. The alleged group members used offshore gambling websites in their sports betting business. Police charged them in a 24-count indictment with felony charges called enterprise corruption .

A statement issued by the Queens County District Attorney indicated that 14 of the defendants had been apprehended but that three of them remained at large. Most of the individuals were found on the West Coast, but the participation of the Queens District Attorney indicates that at least some of them are located in New York. His statement also presumably indicates that some of the alleged illegal activities operated here.

Man charged with criminal offense in fraternity hazing death

It's not unusual to hear that excessive fraternity hazing resulted in death or serious injury. The subject is topical right now due to at least two deaths in the state attributed to hazing in the past year. The most recent event occurred in Nov. 2014 when a 19-year-old man died in a hazing incident that has netted five criminal arrests to date. The fifth arrest – made just recently by the Albany police – was of a 20-year-old male who, like the other four, had been a student at the State University of New York at Albany. The men are charged with the criminal offense of first-degree hazing, a misdemeanor.  

Hazing usually involves several days or weeks of a grueling disciplinary regimen that the fraternity's upperclassmen impose on the incoming group of pledges. Apparently, the test of extreme physical endurance and the willingness to carry out outrageous pranks for the fraternity is thought to exemplify the pledge's commitment and loyalty. The brutality of the hazing protocol, however, sometimes jumps over the line from jocular gamesmanship into criminally liable behavior.

Police group calls for fewer arrests on nonviolent drug charges

A promising new movement has been formed from the ranks of influential police and law enforcement officers nationwide. The group consists of more than 130 chiefs of police, prosecutors and sheriffs who have stepped forward to confirm their agreement that the country has gone overboard on incarcerating nonviolent offenders and those incarcerated for drug charges. New York City Police Chief William J. Bratton is a member of the prominent group.

The group contends that too many people are behind bars who would be better off getting treatment, and that the expense to the country is exorbitant. The group has some admirable goals, including the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences. Mandatory minimums have saddled judges and even prosecutors who would rather have the discretion to formulate less stringent sentences in many cases.

Parents arrested on felony charges in beating death of teen son

First degree manslaughter in New York is punishable by a sentence of  five to 25 years. The felony charges involve accusations that a person, with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, causes the death of such person. Serious physical injury under the state's Penal Law is defined as physical injury that results in death or creates a substantial risk of death.

One of the more bizarre cases of alleged manslaughter occurred in the past few days when church members of the Word of Life Christian Church were charged in the beating death of a 19-year-old man. The victim reportedly died from a severe beating inflicted on him inside the church by church members. Among those arrested were the victim's parents, both of whom were taken into custody on first degree manslaughter charges.

Annual search harvests 1 arrest for marijuana possession

New York authorities continue to pour valuable resources into hunting down and arresting marijuana growers. The Seneca County Sheriff's Office recently conducted its annual operation to locate and destroy illegal marijuana growing sites. They were assisted by the New York State Police, New York Environmental Conservation Police and the Seneca County Probation Department. They arrested one man and charged him with felony marijuana possession and misdemeanor unlawful growing of marijuana.

The man reportedly has  a history of unlawfully growing cannabis and was on probation for being caught with 10 pounds of pot in 2013.  He is being held in the Seneca County Correctional Facility on a $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. Deputies say that they found about 8 pounds of pot at the man's home.

Woman who helped convicts escape is sentenced on felony charges

For almost a month this past spring and summer, the nation was held captive to a news story out of northern New York involving the escape of two convicted murderers from a maximum security lockup. An important slice of the story pertained to a prison laundry worker who admitted to providing the two with tools that they used in their escape. The spectacle of the 51-year-old married woman was dramatically intensified by reports that she had apparently become close with both prisoners prior to their escape. The end game came into place on Sept. 28 in a state court when she was sentenced to 2 1/3 years to seven years in prison pursuant to a plea deal on the felony charges she faced.

The court set an additional hearing for November regarding the state's claim for $120,000 in restitution from the woman. In the courtroom, she cried repeatedly and apologized to her former co-workers and to the community for her lapse of judgment and severely skewed decisions. Her judgmental lapse included her agreeing to meet the men after the escape and to act as their getaway driver.

Village police chief arrested on felony drug charges

Another law enforcement officer has joined the long list of public officers charged with illegal drug possession or sales within the past few years. This time it is the 52-year-old male police chief of the village of Portville who has been arrested on drug charges. The New York State Police charged the man with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled drug and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled drug, which are both felonies. They charged him also with the misdemeanor of official misconduct.

He allegedly possessed pain medication that he sold to another person while on duty. He was put on administrative leave by the Village Board. Civil Service regulations mandate that the individual will lose his job if he is convicted of any of the charges. The arrest was investigated and spearheaded by the Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, part of the New York State Police.