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What are the laws defining Blackmail in New York? Is Blackmail merely another word for Extortion? Are either one or both of these – Blackmail or Extortion – technically crimes in New York State? What is my recourse if I am either a victim of Extortion or, alternatively, accused of Blackmail?

As a preliminary matter, whether you choose to pursue criminal charges against an extorter or not, New York makes any Extortion a class “E” felony irrespective of the property the blackmailer takes from you or the value of that property. The crimes is more serious and a higher degree felony based on the value of the property as it exceeds $3,000.00, $50,000.00 and $1 million. Further, when violence or threats of violence are part of a Blackmail, crimes of this nature further ratchet up what might otherwise be a base level violation of New York Penal Law 155.30(6).

Without getting too lost in the weeds, this particular blog entry will address when words on their face may not clearly reflect an extortive intent, but circumstantially and practically establish a violation of Grand Larceny by Extortion.

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Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, Orange County, is an outlet center that opened in late 1985 and has since expanded repeatedly over the years. The outlet center now how has about 220 stores and is one of the largest outlet centers in the country. The outlets are not only a destination for locals in Orange, Rockland and other nearby counties, but also for tourists visiting New York City, and City residents.

The size and nature of the complex attracts countless shoppers every year in addition to shoplifters and those using forged credit cards or other means of theft. Those arrested for these theft-related crimes will be prosecuted in Town of Woodbury Justice Court, and the County Court for Orange County in Goshen, NY if the case is indicted. This blog will address some of the crimes and criminal offenses prosecutors in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office can pursue for a shoplifting arrest or misuse and fraud involving credit cards.

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Theft crimes in New York are found in a variety of statutes. Some are clearly designated theft offenses such as either Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny. Similarly, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property and Theft of Services relate directly to a larceny or theft crime. However, there are many other crimes in the New York Penal Law that are not clearly theft offenses. For example, Scheme to Defraud does not have “theft” or “larceny” in the title of the statute, but it too is a theft and larceny crime. With this in mind, it begs the question, if you were convicted of a New York Penal Law Article 155 crime, New York Penal Law Article 165 crime, New York Penal Law Article 140 crime, New York Penal Law Article 160 crime or a even an Article 1800 New York State Tax Crime offense that related only to a theft are larceny are you guaranteed eligibility pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 to have your criminal conviction “expunged” or sealed assuming you have met the other strict eligibility requirements?

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Can I have my felony conviction sealed in New York? Will New York expunge a felony regardless of the arrest charge? Do criminal records – misdemeanor or felony – remain open to the public forever? What if I am convicted of a non-violent theft crime? Is there a way to screen or hide this record or conviction? More specifically, what if I stole or embezzled $7,500.00, $75,000.00 or even $750,000.00 from an employer? Now that you have asked the questions, the answer to these inquiries are all found in New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59.

NY CPL 160.59, New York’s sealing statute, does not provide for expunging or expungement of criminal convictions, but allows people with certain eligible criminal convictions to have those cases sealed on and from their records. Subject to many relevant factors and mandatory requirements that can be vetted with your New York expungment or sealing attorney, Grand Larceny, New York Penal Law sections 155.30, 155.35, 155.40 and 155.42, is a statutorily eligible offense.

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A question that I routinely field as a criminal defense attorney and sealing lawyer in New York is whether or not a mistake made in one’s youth relating to a conviction for petty theft, stolen property, shoplifting or larceny can be sealed or expunged later in life. Although there is no short answer to the question, the answer is both yes and no. Yes, New York now permits or allows a person convicted of Petit Larceny, Fifth Degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, New York Penal Law 155.25, New York Penal Law 165.40 and other crimes relating to shoplifting to have those offenses sealed as of October 2017. However, the answer still remains a firm “no” as to expunging these crimes. Despite this lack of expungement, however, because New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 is fairly expansive as to sealing, the potential value of a motion to seal pursuant to NY Crim. Pro. Law 160.59 cannot and should not be overlooked by anyone who wants to shield themselves from their criminal past. In fact, a successful application for sealing pursuant to NY CPL 160.59 can “block” the prying eyes of potential public or private employers.

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When you are a professional and your career depends on your name and character, the mere allegations of an arrest can be devastating. An allegation is often the equivalent to a conviction. Whether you work in banking and finance, you are regulated by FINRA or the FDIC, you are an attorney of physician that maintains a professional license, or the product you sell is “you,” an arrest in New York for a crime of fraud, deceit or theft is life altering in the most adverse way. Recently, a client arrested for stealing clothing from Bergdorf Goodmans in Manhattan faced such a embarrassing dilemma when she was accused of shoplifting gloves retailing for well north of $1,000.00. Technically a felony shoplift as a class “E” felony of Fourth Degree Grand Larceny, New York Penal Law 155.30, our client was fortunate enough to receive a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) for Petit Larceny, a class “A” misdemeanor. While the criminal complaint ultimately reflected Penal Law 155.25 and Penal Law 165.40, the latter offense is Fifth Degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, the crimes our client faced technically involved felonies due to the value of the clothing our client was accused of shoplifting after our client exited the store without paying for the property.

Despite the magnitude of potential felony charges, the uncertainty of what might happen to our client’s otherwise pristine and clean record, the New York criminal defense attorneys and shoplifting defense lawyers at Crotty Saland PC delivered the best result possible for our client in this New York City shoplifting arrest. No, our client did not receive a Disorderly Conduct or ACD on the PL 155.25 and PL 165.40 arrest, but instead the case was both dismissed and sealed unconditionally.

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There are few things more frightening then when you are taken into custody by special agents of the United States government and charged with Federal crimes in a District Court. Whether it is the FBI, Secret Service, IRS or any other agency and whether it’s the Eastern District of New York or the Southern District of New York, the fear and anxiety is equal. Will there be bail? If so, how can you post it and who will sign for you? Will there be conditions of your release? What are the sentencing guidelines that you will face? Is there a mandatory minimum and what is the maximum term of imprisonment you can be held in a Federal prison? Will you seek to cooperate and secure a 5K1 letter from the United States Attorney’s Office? There are countless questions you will likely have that relate to many factors ranging from whether you were initial a subject or target, the length of the investigation and what, if any, steps you and your Federal criminal defense lawyers took to address these countless issues and concerns with the AUSA prior to your surrender.

The fears and concerns identified above were only a few of those faced by a Crotty Saland PC client who was accused of being a key player in scheme whereby stolen and fraudulent tax returns in excess of $2 million were deposited into various banks accounts unknown to any party and immediately withdrawn to the benefit of those engaged in the scam against the United States Treasury and IRS. Accused of, among other crimes, Conspiracy to Exchange and Convert United States Treasury Checks, 18 USC 371, our client faced up to five years incarceration and a $250,000 fine. Concerning to our client, the United States Probation Officer calculated and asserted that our client should receive 30 to 37 months imprisonment. Complicating our client’s predicament further, our client was not a United States citizen and only a few months earlier became a father.

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Theft and larceny related arrests in New York involve crimes that not only have immediate impacts in terms of incarceration and criminal charges, but have the collateral consequence that complicate careers and jobs. For example, if you are an employee of New York City, your arrest whether by Desk Appearance Ticket or due to a felony allegation, will trigger a formal action on the part of the administration. What is of critical importance, and something that your criminal lawyer should stress to you, the ultimate outcome of your case. Yes, an arrest is bad, but a felony or misdemeanor conviction is worse. Far worse. Fortunately for a client of Crotty Saland PC, an arrest for Fourth Degree Grand Larceny, New York Penal Law 155.30, resulted in a non criminal violation of Disorderly Conduct. Checking off the box of avoiding a criminal conviction, our client’s shoplifting arrest from Century 21 involving just shy of $2,000.00 in clothing will ultimately be sealed without any public record.

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Possessing stolen property in New York is a crime. Its likely surprising to no one – from your second cousin to your criminal defense attorney – that in addition to the theft of property, Petit Larceny or Grand Larceny, when you knowingly possess stolen property you have committed either a misdemeanor or a felony. Without breaking out each and every subsection of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property where certain types of property equate to specific felony crimes, the routine way the NYPD, local or county police, and the District Attorney determine the applicable degree of a Criminal Possession of Stolen Property arrest charge is value based. That means if it the property, no matter what it may be, is less than $1,000.00 it is a misdemeanor and if the value is greater than $1,000.00, $3,000.00, $50,000.00 or $1 million, then the crime is a felony that escalates from an “E” to a “B” respectively.

Well, the above is all great and good, but what if the property you are arrested for possessing was not stolen in the first place? Does it make a difference if you believed it was stolen even though it was not? What about if in fact it was stolen property, but you believed it was not? Why is this worthy of discussion? Because as you can consult with your criminal defense lawyer, should you be charged with any degree – misdemeanor or felony – of Criminal Possession of Stolen property – PL 165.40, PL 165.45, PL 165.50, PL 165.52 or PL 165.54 – and you are either unaware the property was stolen or it in fact was not stolen, then you have a defense to this set of crimes.

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Depending how aggressive or creative a District Attorney gets, sometimes what is one simple act becomes multiple criminal charges from the onset of an arrest or at some point during the prosecution. While the law allows an Assistant District Attorney in New York to supersede an information (criminal complaint) or present criminal charges to a Grand Jury that were not initially on a felony complaint, when such actions are taken a criminal defense lawyer must be on his or her respective “game.” Why? Some charges may be obvious on their faces but others not so much. Complicating matters, what may seem like a simply case with limited exposure can ultimately involve a crime with potentially significant consequences. People v. Gavrilov, 2015 Slip Op. 51562 (App. Term 2nd Dept. 2015) is such a case where the conduct and the charged crimes did not exactly coalesce. There, the defendant entered a vehicle and stole some property. Charged with Petit Larceny, New York Penal Law 155.25, and Fifth Degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, New York Penal Law 165.40, the defendant also found himself facing Third Degree Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, New York Penal Law 165.05. Although not a more serious offense, a very interesting question was raised. Did prosecutors overreach by charging the defendant with PL 165.05 or does wrongfully entering and stealing from a vehicle also violate the Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle statute?

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