Articles Posted in Value Based Grand Larceny

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. is at it again. No, Vance’s band of prosecutorial marauders have not just hopped, skipped and jumped from county to county or state to state, but Vance’s seemingly infinitely long appendages have grabbed yet another alleged fraudster. According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office website, junior Ponzi schemer and United States Naval Academy graduate, Bryan Caisse, duped friends and former classmates out of more than $1 million when law enforcement finally caught up to him in airport in Bogotá, Colombia. Although in the aggregate the crime(s) exceeded $1,000,000, and therefore could be the basis of a First Degree Grand Larceny arrest, Caisse dodged a proverbial bullet. Instead, it appears that DA Vance’s minions charged Caisse with multiple lesser offenses including Second Degree Grand Larceny and Third Degree Grand Larceny on an individual basis. Of course, avoiding mandatory state prison on a plea or conviction of First Degree Grand Larceny is a hollow victory. There is no doubt prosecutors will ask for, and many judges would sentence, a term of incarceration in a New York State prison.

Prosecutors claim that commencing sometime in 2008, Caisse said he was going to start a company, Huxley Capital Management. Friends and former classmates contributed and gave Caisse more than $1 million. What is right out of Bernie Maddoff’s DIY handbook, it is alleged that Caisse pocket the money for such items as rental payments, car services, personal debts, credit cards, cash withdrawals, and restaurants. Ultimately, when the the “investors” sought repayment, Caisse couldn’t deliver. Prosecutors have gone as far as to assert that Caisse even claimed he was in a car accident to avoid repayment. Unfortunately for some of the investors, it is believed only some folks were paid back from stolen proceeds of others.

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Some people wait to reorder toner and ink when their printer spews out documents with faint vertical stripes. Others jump to purchase more when their computer screen flashes the low ink warning. Rumor has it that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. could care less when his staff speed dials Staples to replace ink (well, with budget cuts throughout NYC he probably prefers waiting until the former and not the latter). Its not so much the timing of when one orders copy machine or printer toner that gets DA Vance’s goat, but whether or not the person is authorized to do so and does so in a manner that is consistent with his or her employment. Setting the tone for future work place malfeasance, DA Vance announced the indictment of Adrian Rodriguez, a former Fried Frank LLP employee, for allegedly purchasing north of $375,000 worth of ink and toner that he then sold at a fraction of the cost to line his own pockets.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office worked with Fried Frank LLP to catch the duplication department desperado by setting up a sting operation whereby undercover investigators hid inside refrigerator sized boxes of copy machine toner and ink delivered to the unsuspecting toner thief (small pencil sized holes were poked throughout to enable viewing and oxygen flow). When Rodriguez attempted to sell the ill gotten gains the following day, investigators immediately jumped out and exclaimed, “gotcha!” Shortly thereafter, Rodriguez voluntarily supplied prosecutors with a written confession on 48 blue and pink Post-its.

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According to the New York Daily News, a yarmulke sporting thief allegedly stole two “torah crowns” from Young Israel of Queens Valley. Posing as a congregant, it is alleged that the unapprehended varmit’s ill gotten gains netted him in excess of $1,000. Assuming the alleged perpetrator of this synagogue theft is ultimately caught, what potential crimes could he face?

One of the first thing that prosecutors do in any theft case is ascertain the value of the stolen property. Once the aggregate value of stolen property from one victim exceeds $1,000 (and is $3,000 or less as in this case), Assistant District Attorney know that they have a Fourth Degree Grand Larceny felony. More specifically, adding the value of the two torah crowns together, prosecutors will have on charge of New York Penal Law 155.30(1). While the theft of an individual torah crown may only be a misdemeanor Petit Larceny (New York Penal Law 155.25), the aggregation law allows law enforcement to pursue felony Grand Larceny prosecutions where there are multiple thefts over any period of time and from the same complainant.

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An arrest or investigation in New York involving any type of fraud or theft is a concerning one. When investigators, detectives or Assistant District Attorneys want to “speak” with you or have some “questions,” your defenses should automatically be raised. Whether your first step is reaching out to a criminal lawyer or not, when the state or federal government is the potential victim of a larceny crime remember that identifying your defense as soon as possible may be the best way to protect yourself going forward from felony Welfare Fraud, Grand Larceny, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Forgery and Offering a False Instrument for Filing arrests, indictments or convictions.

In a scenario that repeats itself routinely throughout New York City, individuals who are alleged to wrongfully receive certain benefits from New York City and New York State – unemployment benefits, Medicaid or food stamps – may not be contact by criminal law enforcement first, but by investigators from the Bureau of Fraud Investigation of the New York City Human Resources Administration (250 Church Street 3rd Floor). Make no mistake. What you say to these investigators can and will be used against you when fraud investigators share their findings with prosecutors for the purpose of commencing a criminal case.

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When accused or arrested for any Grand Larceny crime in New York, each and every dollar or cent can potentially be relevant in determining the appropriate degree of Grand Larceny you may face. In fact, having a New York Grand Larceny lawyer or criminal defense attorney analyze the value of the property allegedly stolen can potentially be a critical piece of any defense. While an arrest for Grand Larceny Embezzlement may not require the same review due to the nature of the stolen property (cash or money), when the stolen property consists of computers, vehicles and televisions have a more subjective value that diminishes (or increases) over time, determining the correct market value can mean the difference between facing no jail and up to four, seven, fifteen and even twenty five years of incarceration.

As I have addressed through this blog as well as our sister blog (NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com), the initial assessment in ascertaining value of property is to determine the market value of the property at the time of the theft or larceny. So, for example, if someone steals your iPad, laptop computer and iPhone, who better to testify or establish the market value than the owner? After all, an owner knows the condition of the property, what applications were installed and the age of the items in question. Can’t a victim of theft merely assert a particular value to satisfy the legal burdens of the New York Penal Law? The simple answer to this question is that there is no easy answer. However, this is where the value or importance of your criminal lawyer may truly rear its head. Whoever that person is who establishes value, what must be done to ensure that it is accurate and fairly represents the market value of the items in question and how can your attorney challenge that determination?

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In a move reminiscent of “doubling down,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. is showing us all that he has earned his chops as New York’s top prosecutor (and 90th President of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York). Unfortunately, for two accused felons, these chops are being achieved, in part, on their respective backs. According to the press releases of two unrelated arrests, Fordin Francois and Edward Lewando are alleged to have committed the crime of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 155.40) for stealing more than $700,000 and $300,000 respectively.

Prosecutors believe that Francois, a personal banker at JP Morgan Chase, defrauded at least seventeen bank accounts between January and June 2012. It appears that after obtaining personal identifying information of the bank’s clients, Francois shared this information with others who posed as account holders and made wire transfers. Additionally, it is believed that the fake checks were deposited into the accounts and ultimately drawn upon. Compounding matters, prosecutors claim that Francois had a briefcase with personal identifying information of JP Morgan Chase banking clients.

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It seems that no matter where you turn, someone, somewhere is being charged with a theft or larceny crime in New York. Certainly, baggage handlers at New York City’s airports at JFK and LaGuardia are not immune from these arrests. According to District Attorney Richard Brown, the Queens County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting another alleged case of fraud and theft by airport personnel. Rajendranauth Ramsahai, a baggage cart employee who works at John F. Kennedy International Airport, is accused of stealing some cash from a bag that was left in an airport parking lot. Not just “some cash,” prosecutors claim that there was $20,000 cash inside the computer bag.

Mr. Ramsahai is charged with two crimes. The more serious offense, Third Degree Grand Larceny, is a “D” felony. As such, New York Penal Law 155.35 is punishable by a sentence of up to two and one third to seven years in prison. The lesser crime, the misdemeanor of Petit Larceny, is an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Petit Larceny, New York Penal Law 155.25, as well as Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, are both based in the same language. In substance, if you steal property belonging to another person you are guilty of the lesser offense of NY PL 155.25. This is true regardless of the value. However, in order for prosecutors to prove the felony of NY PL 155.35 beyond a reasonable doubt they must prove this theft as well as the value of the property exceeding $3,000, but not greater than $50,000.

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Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos have struck another blow against alleged criminal disorder in the great City of New York. Led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., prosecutors believe that Abacus Federal Savings Bank and eleven former employees were the central platform behind the sale of fraudulent loans to Fannie Mae. Not merely one or two loans, prosecutors contend these men and women perpetrated a false document mortgage fraud scheme involving sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Beyond the eleven individuals arrested in this scheme and the indictment of Abacus Bank, eight other former employees have already pleaded guilty to various felony offenses.

Among other crimes, the 184 count indictment against Abacus Bank and her eleven former employees charges Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 187.25), Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 187.20), Grand Larceny in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 155.42, Second Degree Grand Larceny (New York Penal Law 155.40) and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 175.10). The most serious of these offenses, NY PL 187.25 and NY PL 155.42, are “B” felonies that require a minimum of one to three and a maximum of eight and one third to twenty five years in prison post conviction. The “C” felonies of NY PL 155.40 and NY PL 187.20 do not have mandatory terms of incarceration for first time felony offenders, but carry a maximum sentence of five to fifteen years in prison. NY PL 175.10 is an “E” felony with a potential punishment of up to four years in state custody.

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While an arrest for Grand Larceny can lead to an indictment charging only one crime, in New York City it is far from atypical for that Grand Larceny arrest to be a part of a much larger scheme. In fact, as shown by the recent arrest and indictment of Robert Giuliano, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree may just be the tip of his alleged criminal iceberg.

According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., the Alpha Flight crew has caught up with the allegedly villainous Giuliano who is accused of defrauding at least two clients linked to a fraudulent concierge services website that he operated. It is believed by prosecutors that Giuliano’s high end luxury service promising VIP access to hot events from award shows and movie premieres to fashion shows and inaugural balls had a criminal element. Clients utilized Giuliano’s company, Giuliano Group Concierge, through its website at www.giulianogroup.tv. Using their credit cards online, clients were offered access to swank parties including the film premiere and after party for “American Pie: American Reunion” starring Jason Biggs, the TV premiere and after party for “Mad Men” starring Jon Hamm, January Jones and Christina Hendriks as well as a Russell Simmons privately hosted event for President Obama.

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A prosecutor needs to protect all people regardless of whether they are citizens, residents or even illegally living in the United States. While members of the defense bar can, and usually do, spar with their prosecutorial counterparts in order to ensure the burden of proof is met in any criminal complaint or allegation, it does not diminish the role of the District Attorney (or defense lawyer for that matter). In fact, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., who championed protecting immigrants as one of his platforms, is exercising the power of the New York Criminal Justice System to assist people who fall pray to those seeking to take advantage of immigrants. According to the DA website, Vance Inc. has obtained the arrest and indictment of Hit Shrestha, “a Nepalese national, for systematically defrauding other Nepalese nationals of thousands of dollars.” As such, Shrestha faces multiple felony charges including Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (New York Penal Law 155.30) and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 190.65).

According to the New York County District Attorney’s Office, Shrestha allegedly convinced multiple Nepalese immigrants to pay her a fee ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 so she could arrange for their family members to come to the United States. These fees included air travel and immigration forms. Prosecutors further claim that Shrestha bonded with new immigrants from her home country of Nepal by inviting them to dinner, introducing them to local people in the Nepalese community and helping them find employment.

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