- Click for Restaurant Directory_____

 

A Sign of Our Times

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Grand Jury Report critical of Smithtown town
gover
nments supervision
of commercial
property demolition…

The Grand Jury Report is public record and available at the link below. It is 40 pages, but double spaced, and well worth the few minutes it takes to read it.

Please feel free to share your comments with us.

Click on link for Full Report

 

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Sign of our Times

By Eric Sailor

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Wednesday
Aug152018

NYS Fighting Opioid Epidemic Announces Lawsuit Against Perdu Pharma 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Pursue Frederick Company, Inc. (“Purdue”), alleging a decades-long and continuing pattern of persistent deceptive and illegal conduct, whereby Purdue’s misled prescribers and patients about the risks of its opioids, including OxyContin, intentionally understating the risks and overstating the benefits of these powerful and dangerous drugs.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that Purdue persistently made — directly and through third party groups — numerous misrepresentations about its products, including concealing the link between long-term use of opioids and abuse and addiction, masking the signs of addiction by referring to them as “pseudoaddiction,” falsely claiming that withdrawal from its products can be easily managed, overstating the risks of alternative pain relief therapies as compared to opioids, and misrepresenting the extent to which opioids improve body function.  These representations were part of Purdue’s concerted effort to increase sales of its opioid products and directly affected prescribing, public opinion, and consumption of those products. 

“The opioid epidemic was manufactured by unscrupulous distributors who developed a $400 billion industry pumping human misery into our communities. In this year’s State of the State, I pledged that we will hold these companies responsible for their reprehensible actions,” Governor Cuomo said. “This lawsuit sends a clear message all these who mislead the public to increase their profit margins that we will hold you accountable for your actions.”

“Our investigation found a pattern of deception and reckless disregard for New Yorkers’ health and wellbeing - as Purdue lined its own pockets by deliberately exploiting our communities and fueling an opioid epidemic that’s destroyed families across the state,” said Attorney General Underwood. “We’re now holding Purdue to account for this reprehensible and illegal conduct. Our work won’t stop with this lawsuit: our office will continue to lead the multistate investigation of opioid manufacturers and distributors across the country.”

As alleged in the Attorney General’s complaint, Purdue continued to engage in deceptive marketing of its opioid products even after pleading guilty to criminal conduct in 2007 and pledging to correct its misleading marketing, and after entering into an Assurance of Discontinuance with the New York Attorney General in 2015

Purdue’s conduct contributed to the over-prescription and overuse of Purdue’s opioid products, including the opioid epidemic impacting communities across New York. In New York alone, there were 3,086 deaths from overdoses involving opioids in 2016; 2,399 of those deaths were the result of opioid painkillers, including those sold by Purdue. 

The lawsuit seeks an order requiring Purdue to “abate the public nuisance and pay all costs of abatement.” The lawsuit also seeks an order prohibiting Purdue from engaging in deceptive, fraudulent, and unlawful practices; requiring Purdue to disgorge money obtained as a result of the violations of the law alleged in the complaint; and directing Purdue to pay civil penalties and damages to the state.

Monday
Aug132018

Suffolk County Establishes New Criminal Diversion To Treatment Program 

DA SINI & SUFFOLK COUNTY DISTRICT COURT ANNOUNCE NEW DRUG DIVERSION PROGRAM

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, Suffolk County District Administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrichs, Suffolk County District Court Supervising Judge Karen Kerr, Suffolk County Court Judge Derrick Robinson and members of the criminal defense bar today announced the creation of a new drug treatment program to divert eligible defendants charged with certain misdemeanor offenses from the criminal justice system.

The Comprehensive Addiction Recovery and Education Program, or C.A.R.E. Program, allows defendants suffering from substance use disorders to participate in the drug treatment program in exchange for the dismissal of the pending charges against them in Suffolk County. 

“The C.A.R.E. Program is the latest tool in our arsenal to combat the drug epidemic facing our communities,” District Attorney Sini said. “The goal of the program is to divert low-level offenders who commit non-violent crimes due to substance abuse disorders away from the criminal justice system and into treatment where they can get the help they need. By connecting these individuals to treatment, we will not only be helping to tackle the disease of addiction and the opioid epidemic we are facing here in Suffolk County, but we will also be improving public safety by addressing the underlying motivation to commit crimes fueled by drug abuse. This program will make our communities safer and healthier. I thank Judge Hinrichs and Judge Kerr for creating this critically important program and for partnering with my office.”

The C.A.R.E. Program is open to defendants who have minimal or no criminal record and who have no history of violence or gang involvement. Defendants are eligible for the program if they are charged with the misdemeanor crimes of Petit Larceny; Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fourth or Fifth Degree; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree; Criminal Trespass in the Second or Third Degree; Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument; Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree; Disorderly Conduct; or Loitering in the First Degree.

Eligible defendants who opt to participate in the program sign a letter of understanding to receive drug treatment for 90 days. They are evaluated by the Suffolk County Drug Treatment Team, which comprises members of the Suffolk County Department of Health Community Mental Hygiene Services, Suffolk County Department of Probation and other court staff, to determine the appropriate treatment plan and rehabilitation services provided to them. All services and treatment will be provided by agencies certified by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Participants can also opt to receive treatment for longer than the 90-day period.

Upon successful completion of the program, participants will have their cases dismissed in the interest of justice and sealed.

The program will run in addition to the Suffolk County Drug Treatment Court, in which eligible defendants suffering from substance abuse disorders are required to enter a plea of guilty in exchange for treatment. Defendants participate in the Drug Treatment Court for a minimum of 12 months on misdemeanor charges and 18 months on felony charges. If the defendant successfully completes treatment, the charges will be reduced or dismissed depending on the plea agreement in the Drug Treatment Court contract. Failure to complete the requirements of the Drug Treatment Court results in an agreed-upon breakout, which is typically a jail sentence.

In the C.A.R.E. Program, if the District Attorney’s Office determines that a violation of the agreement has occurred during the 90-day period, the case will be referred to the Suffolk County Drug Treatment Court where a plea will be offered to the defendant. If the defendant accepts the plea, he or she will enter into a Suffolk County Drug Treatment Court contract. If the defendant chooses not to enter into the Suffolk County Drug Court Treatment Court contract, the case will be referred to a regular courtroom for disposition.

Violations of the program include being arrested on new charges; not engaging in the treatment program as recommended by the Suffolk County Drug Treatment Team; or not reporting to court for scheduled appearances. Participants also agree to undergo drug testing prior to the completion of the C.A.R.E. Program. 

“We commend District Attorney Sini for once again piloting criminal justice programs in Suffolk that recognize addiction as a treatable disease, while at the same time safeguarding public health, safety and taxpayer dollars. While some defendants should and will make their way through the criminal justice system, a smarter approach that provides for earlier diversion into treatment for low-level offenders frees up critical law enforcement resources and may help end a revolving door of arrests, court dates, and jail sentences for Suffolk’s residents who are struggling with addiction,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President and CEO of the Family and Children’s Association.

Wednesday
Aug082018

DEC Warns LI Residents To Be Wary Of Offers Of Clean Fill

DEC Warns Long Island and Hudson Valley Residents to Be Wary of Offers of Free ‘Clean Fill’

DEC Urges Caution to Avoid Being Victimized by Illegal Solid Waste Dumping

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today urged Long Island and Hudson Valley residents to use caution when offered free fill material for use to level or grade properties. In July, the DEC announced (link leaves DEC’s website) the ongoing results of a crackdown on illegal dumping, and outlined how homeowners can be victimized by companies who offer free fill that is actually contaminated with solid waste materials.

“As the saying goes: A deal too good to be true probably is,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Landowners should be skeptical and ask tough questions when a contractor offers to provide fill material at no charge. This so-called ‘clean fill’ is sometimes mixed together with solid waste from construction sites and landowners could find their properties burdened with contaminated material.”

DEC offers the following suggestions to Hudson Valley and Long Island property owners seeking to obtain suitable fill for leveling or adjusting the grade of properties:

  • Look at the fill material as it is received. It should consist of natural soil, sand, gravel, or rock with no non-soil constituents (see below), and should be free of petroleum or any other odors;
  • Check to ensure the fill material is free of regulated wastes such as concrete, brick, asphalt, asbestos, drywall, plaster, roofing materials, wood, metal, tiles, paint chips, ash, slag, coal, pieces of particle boards, carpet, petroleum-contaminated soil, and other contaminated materials;
  • If material originates in New York City, the homeowner / generator must notify the respective DEC Regional Offices in Stony Brook and New Paltz five days prior to receiving the material about its placement. Homeowners should request that the generator provide them with documentation regarding the generating site location-and fill characteristic information. Make sure that the section for the Qualified Environmental Professional is signed and includes contact information. Copies of the Notification of Fill Material Transport form are available on DEC’s website
  • Each load that originates in New York City must also have a complete and accurate tracking document to identify the source of fill material. Copies of this form (Part 360 Series Waste Tracking Document - Construction and Demolition Debris) are available on DEC’s website. Homeowners should request a completed copy of this document for their records from the transporter.
  • If the generator and/or contractor cannot provide copies of the Notification of Fill Material Transport and Part 360 Series Waste Tracking Document, the homeowner should refuse the shipment;
  • Homeowners should only accept fill material from one source at a time; If the load is bigger than 10 cubic yards and is generated in New York City, ensure the truck delivering fill material is in possession of a valid Part 364 Waste Transporter Registration or Permit; and
  • Ensure the contractor is licensed by a government authority.

The most effective way landowners can protect themselves is by taking steps to prevent being victimized. Once contaminated soil is placed on a property and graded, the process of removal becomes costly and difficult.

Long Island residents should contact DEC’s Region 1 Office of Materials Management, at (631) 444-0375 or R1DMM@dec.ny.gov.

Hudson Valley residents should contact DEC’s Region 3 Office of Materials Management at (845) 256-3138.

Report illegal dumping

DEC urges anyone who witnesses illegal dumping activities, or may have been a victim of illegal dumping to report these crimes to NYSDEC 24-hour Poacher and Polluter hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).

http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/press.html

 

Wednesday
Aug082018

Five Smithtown Beaches Included In Bathing Advisory

 

Suffolk Health Issues Advisory Against Bathing at 35 Beaches

 

Due to the heavy rainfall, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services has issued an advisory against bathing at 35 beaches, including beaches within and adjacent to various north shore embayments (Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington Harbor and Bay, Centerport Harbor, Northport Harbor and Bay and along the northern shoreline of the Great South Bay. See list below.

The beaches covered by the advisory are located in areas that are heavily influenced by stormwater runoff from the surrounding watersheds and/or adjacent tributaries, and, because of their location in an enclosed embayment, experience limited tidal flushing.  

The department recommends that bathing and other water contact be suspended in affected areas until the waters have been flushed by two successive tidal cycles (at least a 24 hr. period) after the rain has ended. If heavy rains persist beyond today or sampling done by the Department finds elevated bacterial numbers persisting beyond the 24-hour period, this advisory will remain in effect.

 

Additionally, the following beaches remain closed to bathing: Amityville Village Beach, Tanner Park Beach, Sound Beach Property Owners Association West Beach, Corey Beach, Shirley Beach, Benjamins Beach, Bayport Beach, Sayville Marina Park Beach and Lake Ronkonkoma. 

For the latest information on affected beaches, call the Bathing Beach HOTLINE at 852-5822, contact the Department’s Office of Ecology at 852-5760 during normal business hours, or visit the website link: www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health

 

 

8/8/18 advisory against bathing at 35 beaches

Venetian Shores Beach

Babylon

8/8/2018 7:49:00 AM

Rainfall related

Eagle Dock Community Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:54:00 AM

Rainfall related

Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:54:00 AM

Rainfall related

West Neck Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:54:00 AM

Rainfall related

Lloyd Neck Bath Club Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:54:00 AM

Rainfall related

Lloyd Harbor Village Park Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:55:00 AM

Rainfall related

Gold Star Battalion Park Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:55:00 AM

Rainfall related

Nathan Hale Beach Club Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:55:00 AM

Rainfall related

Baycrest Association Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:55:00 AM

Rainfall related

Bay Hills Beach Association

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:55:00 AM

Rainfall related

Crescent Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:56:00 AM

Rainfall related

Knollwood Beach Association Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:56:00 AM

Rainfall related

Fleets Cove Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:56:00 AM

Rainfall related

Centerport Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:56:00 AM

Rainfall related

Huntington Beach Community Association Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:56:00 AM

Rainfall related

Centerport Yacht Club Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:57:00 AM

Rainfall related

Steers Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:57:00 AM

Rainfall related

Asharoken Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:57:00 AM

Rainfall related

Hobart Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:57:00 AM

Rainfall related

Hobart Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:57:00 AM

Rainfall related

Crab Meadow Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:58:00 AM

Rainfall related

Wincoma Association Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:58:00 AM

Rainfall related

Valley Grove Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:58:00 AM

Rainfall related

Prices Bend Beach

Huntington

8/8/2018 7:58:00 AM

Rainfall related

West Islip Beach

Islip

8/8/2018 7:58:00 AM

Rainfall related

Islip Beach

Islip

8/8/2018 7:59:00 AM

Rainfall related

East Islip Beach

Islip

8/8/2018 7:59:00 AM

Rainfall related

West Oaks Recreation Club Beach

Islip

8/8/2018 7:59:00 AM

Rainfall related

Brightwaters Village Beach

Islip

8/8/2018 7:59:00 AM

Rainfall related

Bayberry Beach & Tennis Club Beach

Islip

8/8/2018 8:00:00 AM

Rainfall related

Callahans Beach

Smithtown

8/8/2018 8:00:00 AM

Rainfall related

Short Beach

Smithtown

8/8/2018 8:00:00 AM

Rainfall related

Nissequogue Point Beach

Smithtown

8/8/2018 8:00:00 AM

Rainfall related

Long Beach

Smithtown

8/8/2018 8:00:00 AM

Rainfall related

Schubert Beach

Smithtown

8/8/2018 8:01:00 AM

Rainfall related


Wednesday
Aug082018

Congressman Chris Collins Charged With Insider Trading And Lying To FBI

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the arrests of CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, a Congressman representing the 27th District of New York, CAMERON COLLINS, the son of CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, and STEPHEN ZARSKY, the father of CAMERON COLLINS’s fiancée, on charges of participating in a scheme to commit insider trading relating to securities of Innate Immunotherapeutics (“Innate”), an Australian biotechnology company on whose Board of Directors CHRISTOPHER COLLINS served.  As alleged in the Indictment, in June 2017, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, who possessed material, nonpublic information through his service on Innate’s board of directors, betrayed his duties of trust and confidence to Innate by providing inside information to his son, CAMERON COLLINS, about confidential drug trial results so that his son and others, including ZARSKY, could trade before the drug trial results were publicly announced.  As a result of CHRISTOPHER COLLINS’s illegal tips, CAMERON COLLINS, ZARSKY, and others who received the inside information avoided a total of approximately $768,000 in losses.  When later interviewed by the FBI, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, CAMERON COLLINS, and ZARSKY each made false statements to cover up their participation in the insider trading scheme. 

CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, CAMERON COLLINS, and ZARSKY are each charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to the FBI.  All three defendants surrendered this morning and will be presented and arraigned at 2:30 p.m. today before United States District Judge Vernon S. Broderick in federal court in the Southern District of New York. 

In a separate action, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a civil action against CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, CAMERON COLLINS, and ZARSKY.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Congressman Christopher Collins is charged with insider trading and lying to the FBI, as are his son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron’s fiancée.  As alleged, Christopher Collins tipped confidential corporate information to his son, who traded on the inside information and passed it on to others, including Zarsky.  Zarsky allegedly also traded on the information and tipped others.  Representative Collins, who, by virtue of his office, helps write the laws of this country, acted as if the law did not apply to him.  These charges are a reminder that this is a nation of laws, and everyone stands equal before the bar of justice.  The charges demonstrate again that no matter what the alleged crime, or who allegedly committed it, we stand dedicated to the pursuit of justice, without fear or favor.” 

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Congressman Christopher Collins sat on Innate Immunotherapeutics’ Board of Directors for a period of more than three years, spanning the run-up to the company’s clinical drug trial announcement in 2017.  When he received confidential information that the drug had failed its trial, he tipped off investors with whom he shared a personal relationship, as we allege.  Congressman Collins thought giving his family and friends a heads-up about material, nonpublic information would benefit them in the long run, but here’s a better inside tip for those who think they can play by different rules:  Access to this kind of information carries with it a significant responsibility, especially for those who hold a position of trust in our society.  Act honorably and in accordance with the law, and do not lie to a special agent of the FBI.” 

According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

The Insider Trading Scheme

The Scheme 

In or about June 2017, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, who, in addition to serving on Innate’s board of directors, was also one of Innate’s largest shareholders, participated in a scheme to commit insider trading.  Specifically, on or about June 22, 2017, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS learned that MIS416 – a multiple sclerosis drug that Innate was developing – had failed a critical drug trial that was meant to determine the drug’s clinical efficacy (the “Drug Trial”).  The negative Drug Trial results were highly confidential, and, as an insider who owed duties of trust and confidence to Innate, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS was obligated to keep the Drug Trial results secret until Innate publicly released them.  Instead, in breach of those duties, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS tipped his son, CAMERON COLLINS, who was also a substantial Innate shareholder, so that CAMERON COLLINS could make timely trades and tip others before Innate publicly released the Drug Trial results.  CAMERON COLLINS traded on the inside information and passed it to ZARSKY, as well as to three conspirators not named in the Indictment (“CC-1,” “CC-2,” and “CC-6”), so that they could utilize the information for the same purpose.  ZARSKY, in turn, traded on the information and used it to tip three more conspirators not named in the Indictment (“CC-3,” “CC-4,” and “CC-5,”) so that they too could engage in timely trades in Innate stock.  All of the trades preceded the public release of the negative Drug Trial results.

In total, these trades allowed CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, CAMERON COLLINS, and ZARSKY, as well as CC-1 through CC-6, to avoid over $768,000 in losses that they would have otherwise incurred if they had sold their stock in Innate after the Drug Trial results became public. 

The Drug Trial Results

In or about October 2014, Innate initiated a Phase 2B clinical trial of its primary drug, MIS416.  Successful completion of the Drug Trial was a necessary prerequisite to the commercialization of MIS416.  Because Innate had no other significant products in development, its stock price was tied to the success of MIS416.

The Drug Trial was widely expected to be completed around the summer of 2017.  For example, on or about June 9, 2017, Innate’s chief executive officer (“CEO”) sent various individuals, including CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, an email stating that “the delivery date for [the] review and ‘verdict’” of the Drug Trial “will [] occur at COB on US Thursday June 22nd.”  As the summer progressed, individuals within Innate remained optimistic that MIS416’s Drug Trial results would be positive.  The initial Drug Trial results were made available by trial administrators to Innate’s CEO on June 22, 2017.  These results established that MIS416 lacked therapeutic value in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.  The results were not publicly released at that time.  Instead, they were released publicly on June 26, 2017, after the U.S. markets had closed (the “Public Announcement”).  Innate’s stock price subsequently crashed, dropping 92% on the first trading day following the Public Announcement. 

Dissemination of the Drug Trial Results

On or about June 22, 2017, at approximately 6:55 p.m., Innate’s CEO sent an email describing the Drug Trial results to the company’s board of directors, including CHRISTOPHER COLLINS.  The email explained to Innate’s board of directors for the first time that the Drug Trial had been a failure.  The email began, in part, “I have bad news to report,” and continued to explain that “the top line analysis of the ‘intent to treat’ patient population (ie every subject who was successfully enrolled in the study) would pretty clearly indicate[s] ‘clinical failure.’”  The email continued, “Top-line 12-month data … show no clinically meaningful or statistically significant differences in [outcomes] between MIS416 and placebo,” and concluded by stating, “No doubt we will want to consider this extremely bad news… .” 

At the time CHRISTOPHER COLLINS received this email, he was attending the Congressional Picnic at the White House.  At 7:10 p.m., CHRISTOPHER COLLINS replied to the email, stating, in part, “Wow.  Makes no sense.  How are these results even possible???”  After responding to the Innate CEO’s email, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS called his son, CAMERON COLLINS.  They traded six missed calls between 7:11 p.m. and 7:15 p.m..  At 7:16 p.m., CHRISTOPHER COLLINS and CAMERON COLLINS spoke for more than six minutes.  During that six-minute phone call, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS told CAMERON COLLINS, in sum and substance, that MIS416 had failed the Drug Trial.

CHRISTOPHER COLLINS did not trade himself, and his Innate stock ultimately declined by millions of dollars in value when the Drug Trial results were made public on June 26, 2017.  As CHRISTOPHER COLLINS well knew, however, he was virtually precluded from trading his own shares for practical and technical reasons.  For example, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS was already under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”) in connection with his holdings in, and promotion of, Innate.  Indeed, he had been interviewed by OCE personnel on or about June 5, 2017, just 17 days earlier.  Accordingly, he did not trade his own stock and instead tipped CAMERON COLLINS.

Trading and Tipping by CAMERON COLLINS and ZARSKY

CAMERON COLLINS began placing orders to sell his Innate shares the morning after he received inside information from CHRISTOPHER COLLINS.  Between the morning of Friday, June 23, 2017, and the close of the market on Monday, June 26, 2017, CAMERON COLLINS sold approximately 1,391,500 shares of Innate stock.  These sales allowed CAMERON COLLINS to avoid approximately $570,900 in losses. 

Furthermore, after learning the Drug Trial results from CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, on or about the night of June 22, 2017, CAMERON COLLINS provided the Drug Trial results to at least the following three sets of individuals so that they could trade in advance of the Public Announcement:  (1) his now fiancée, CC-1; (2) ZARSKY and ZARSKY’s wife, CC-2; and (3) CAMERON COLLINS’s friend, CC-6.  Collectively, these individuals avoided approximately $186,620 in losses as a result of their trading on inside information. 

On or about the morning of June 23, 2017, ZARSKY provided the negative Drug Trial results that he had learned from CAMERON COLLINS and CC-1 to at least the following individuals, among others, or otherwise caused them to trade or attempt to trade in advance of the Public Announcement: (1) his brother, CC-3; (2) his sister, CC-4; and (3) his longstanding friend, CC-5.  Collectively, these individuals avoided approximately $10,900 in losses as a result of their trading on inside information.

Concealment of Trading

After the Public Announcement, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS took steps to prevent the public from learning that CAMERON COLLINS had sold significant portions of his Innate stock on or about June 23, 2017, and June 26, 2017, before the Public Announcement.  For example, on or about June 28, 2017, one of CHRISTOPHER COLLINS’s staff members issued a statement to a local reporter.  This statement stated that “Neither Christopher Collins, [nor] his daughter … have sold shares prior, during or after Innate’s recent stock halt,” and that “Cameron Collins has liquidated all his shares after the stock halt was lifted, suffering a substantial financial loss.”  This statement was written in a manner designed to mislead the public into believing that CAMERON COLLINS had not sold any Innate shares prior to the Public Announcement.  As CHRISTOPHER COLLINS explained in an email about press coverage surrounding Innate, “We want this to go away.”

False Statements to the FBI

On or about April 25, 2018, Special Agents from the FBI separately interviewed CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, CAMERON COLLINS, and ZARSKY.  During these interviews, and as detailed in the Indictment, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, CAMERON COLLINS, and ZARSKY made false statements to the FBI to cover up their participation in the insider trading scheme. 

*                      *                      *

A chart identifying the charges and the maximum penalties applicable to CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, CAMERON COLLINS, and ZARKSY is below.

Count

Charge

Defendants

Maximum Penalty

1

Conspiracy to commit securities fraud (18 U.S.C. § 371)

All

5 years in prison

2

Securities fraud (15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) & 78ff; Title 18 U.S.C. § 2)

CHRISTOPHER COLLINS; CAMERON COLLINS

20 years in prison

3

Securities fraud (15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) & 78ff; Title 18 U.S.C. § 2)

All

20 years in prison

4

Securities fraud (15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) & 78ff; Title 18 U.S.C. § 2)

CHRISTOPHER COLLINS; CAMERON COLLINS

20 years in prison

5-7

Securities fraud (15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) & 78ff; Title 18 U.S.C. § 2)

All

20 years in prison

8

Securities fraud (15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) & 78ff; Title 18 U.S.C. § 2)

CHRISTOPHER COLLINS; CAMERON COLLINS

20 years in prison

9

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1349)

All

20 years in prison

10

Wire fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 & 2)

All

20 years in prison

11

False Statements (18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 & 2)

CHRISTOPHER COLLINS

5 years in prison

12

False Statements (18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 & 2)

CAMERON COLLINS

5 years in prison

13

False Statements (18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 & 2)

STEPHEN ZARSKY

5 years in prison

 

Defendants’ Ages and Residences

 

Defendant

Residence

Age

Christopher Collins

Clarence, New York

68

Cameron Collins

Morristown, New Jersey

25

Stephen Zarsky

Summit, New Jersey

66

 

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the work of the FBI and thanked the SEC for its assistance. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Hartman, Robert W. Allen, Max Nicholas, and Damian Williams are in charge of the prosecution.  

The allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Friday
Jul272018

Former NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Sentenced To 7 Years In Prison

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that former New York State Assembly Speaker SHELDON SILVER was sentenced this afternoon to seven years in prison after having been found guilty a second time by a federal jury of using his official position to obtain nearly $4 million in bribes in exchange for his official acts and obtaining another $1 million through laundering the proceeds of his crimes. SILVER had previously been found guilty of the same offenses by a jury in November 2015, but the conviction was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonnell v. United States.

SILVER was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who also presided over the two-week jury trial.   

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “When he assumed his powerful position at the top of New York State government, Sheldon Silver took an oath to do the work of the people.  Instead, he leveraged his tremendous influence to pad his bank account and line his pockets.  Sheldon Silver has been given a lengthy sentence of seven years in federal prison.  We hope today’s fittingly stiff sentence sends a clear message: brokering official favors for your personal benefit is illegal and will result in prison time.  I thank the career prosecutors of this Office for their perseverance in this important case for the people of New York.”

According to the evidence introduced at trial, court filings, and statements made in Manhattan federal court:

For more than two decades, SHELDON SILVER served as Speaker of the New York State Assembly, a position that gave him significant power over the operation of state government.  SILVER used this immense power – including, in particular, his power over the real estate industry and his control over certain health care funding – to unlawfully and corruptly enrich himself.  Among other things, SILVER unlawfully solicited and obtained client referrals worth millions of dollars in exchange for his official acts, and attempted to disguise this money as legitimate outside income earned from his work as a private lawyer.  In particular, SILVER claimed, on financial disclosure forms required to be filed with New York State and in public statements, that the millions of dollars he received in outside income while also serving as Speaker of the Assembly came from a Manhattan-based law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg P.C., where SILVER claimed to work representing individual clients in personal injury actions.  These claims were materially false and misleading – and made to cover up unlawful payments SILVER received due to his official power and influence as an elected legislator and the Speaker of the Assembly.

The schemes provided SILVER with two different streams of unlawful income: (i) approximately $700,000 in kickbacks SILVER received by steering two real estate developers with business before the state legislature to a law firm with which he was associated, and (ii) more than $3 million in asbestos client referral fees SILVER received by, among other official acts, awarding $500,000 in state grants to a university research center of a physician who referred patients made ill by asbestos to Weitz & Luxenberg.

Unlawful Income From a Real Estate Law Firm

SILVER, a lawyer, entered into a corrupt relationship with Jay Arthur Goldberg, P.C., later known as Goldberg & Iryami, P.C., which specialized in making applications to New York City to reduce taxes assessed on properties.  Beginning in at least approximately 2000, SILVER approached a prominent developer of residential properties in Manhattan, Glenwood Management Corp. (“Glenwood”), and later approached another developer, The Witkoff Group LLC (“Witkoff”), and asked them to hire Goldberg & Iryami.  The developers – both of whom lobbied SILVER and others on real estate issues because their businesses depended heavily on favorable state legislation – agreed to use Goldberg & Iryami as SILVER had requested.  Over the years, Witkoff and Glenwood paid millions of dollars in legal fees to Goldberg & Iryami.  SILVER received a cut from the legal fees amounting to nearly $700,000.  SILVER had no public affiliation with Goldberg & Iryami and performed no legal work to earn those fees, which were payments for SILVER having arranged the business through his official power and influence. 

While continuing to receive the fees and in furtherance of the scheme, SILVER took official action beneficial to Glenwood and Witkoff.  For example, while SILVER was publicly associated with advocating for tenants, a proposal that benefitted Glenwood was in substantial part enacted in real estate legislation in 2011 with SILVER’s support.  SILVER also approved more than $1 billion dollars in state financing for Glenwood.

Unlawful Income From Asbestos Client Referrals

SILVER also entered into a corrupt arrangement with Dr. Robert Taub, who was a leading physician specializing in the treatment of asbestos-related diseases, through which SILVER issued state grants and otherwise used his official position to provide favors to Dr. Taub and his family so that Dr. Taub would refer and continue to refer his patients to SILVER at Weitz & Luxenberg, a firm with which SILVER was affiliated as counsel.  Specifically, SILVER arranged for New York State to fund two grants – each for $250,000, and paid out of a then-secret and un-itemized pool of funds controlled entirely by SILVER – for a research center Dr. Taub had established.  SILVER used his official position to provide Dr. Taub with other benefits as well, including helping to direct $25,000 in state funds to a not-for-profit organization for which one of Dr. Taub’s family members served on the board, and asking the CEO of a second not-for-profit to hire a second family member of Dr. Taub. 

From approximately 2005 until his arrest, SILVER received more than $3 million from legal fees Weitz & Luxenberg received from patients Dr. Taub had referred to SILVER at the firm while SILVER was agreeing to and taking official actions to benefit Dr. Taub.  SILVER did no legal work whatsoever on these asbestos cases, his sole role having been to use his official position and access to state funds to induce Dr. Taub to provide him with these lucrative referrals. 

Silver’s Efforts to Cover Up the Schemes

SILVER took various efforts to disguise his unlawful outside income and prevent the detection of his criminal schemes.  For years, SILVER listed on his official public disclosure forms that his outside income consisted of “limited practice of law in the principal subject area of personal injury claims on behalf of individual clients,” which was false and misleading.  Beginning in 2010, SILVER’s disclosures changed to state that the source of his legal income was a “Law Practice” that “includ[ed]” being of counsel to Weitz & Luxenberg.  SILVER never disclosed his relationship with Goldberg & Iryami or any work beyond what he claimed was a “personal injury” practice.

SILVER also repeatedly made false and misleading statements about his outside work and income in his public statements, including the following:

  • SILVER claimed he performed legal work consisting of spending several hours each week evaluating legal matters brought to him by potential clients and then referring cases that appeared to have merit to lawyers at Weitz & Luxenberg.  In fact, SILVER did no such work on the asbestos cases and obtained those referrals to Weitz & Luxenberg based on his corrupt arrangement with Dr. Taub.
  • SILVER claimed his law practice involved the representation of “plain, ordinary simple people.”  In fact, SILVER steered legal work to Goldberg & Iryami for some of the largest real estate developers in the state, for which favorable state legislation was critical to their business interests.
  • SILVER claimed through his spokesperson that SILVER principally found clients by virtue of his having been a “lawyer for more than 40 years,” in a manner that was “not unlike any other attorney in this state, anywhere.”  In fact, SILVER received money from referring his lucrative asbestos and real estate developer clients solely by virtue of his official position.
  • SILVER stated through his spokesperson that “[n]one of his clients have any business before the state.”  In fact, SILVER’s outside income included millions of dollars of fees obtained through Glenwood and Witkoff, both of which had significant business before the state, and Dr. Taub, to whose benefit SILVER provided state funding and other benefits related to SILVER’s official position. 

In addition, SILVER attempted to thwart the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, by filing legal motions on behalf of the Assembly and taking other action to block the Moreland Commission’s investigation into legislators’ outside income.

Finally, SILVER laundered part of crime proceeds through private investment vehicles, not available to the public, which yielded him another $1 million in ill-gotten gains.

*                      *                      *

In addition to the prison sentence, SILVER, 74, of New York, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release. 

SILVER was found guilty by a unanimous jury on May 11, 2018, of two counts of honest services wire fraud, two counts of honest services mail fraud, two counts of extortion under color of official right, and one count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions.  

U.S. Attorney Berman praised the work of the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which jointly conducted this investigation.  

This case was prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel C. Richenthal and Damian Williams are in charge of the prosecution.

Thursday
Jul262018

***Swimming Advisory Issued For 51 Beaches***

Suffolk County Issues Advisory Against Bathing at 51 Beaches Due to Heavy Rainfall

Suffolk County Health Officials issued an advisory against bathing at 51 beaches, including beaches within and adjacent to various north shore embayments (Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington Harbor and Bay, Centerport Harbor, Northport Harbor and Bay, Port Jefferson Harbor Complex, and Stony Brook Harbor), along the northern shoreline of the Great South Bay and those Long Island Sound beaches that are directly impacted by nearby storm water discharges (list attached).

The advisory is based on the potential that bacterial numbers in excess of New York State standards, resulting from the heavy rain, will impact these areas.

The beaches covered by the advisory are located in areas that are heavily influenced by stormwater runoff from the surrounding watersheds and/or adjacent tributaries, and, because of their location in an enclosed embayment, experience limited tidal flushing. 

The Department recommends that bathing and other water contact be suspended in affected areas until the waters have been flushed by two successive tidal cycles (at least a 24 hr. period) after the rain has ended. Unless heavy rains persist beyond today or sampling done by the Department finds elevated bacterial numbers persisting beyond the 24-hr period, this advisory will be lifted Friday, 7/27/18 at 8:30 a.m.

For the latest information on affected beaches, call the Bathing Beach HOTLINE at 852-5822, contact the Department’s Office of Ecology at 852-5760 during normal business hours, or visit the website link: www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health.

 

                    Suffolk County Department of Health Services

                    51 Beaches Included in Bathing Advisory of 7/26/18 

Amityville Village Beach

Babylon

7/26/2018 8:33:00 AM

Rainfall related

Sound Beach POA East

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:34:00 AM

Rainfall related

Sound Beach POA West

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:34:00 AM

Rainfall related

Tides Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:34:00 AM

Rainfall related

Beech Road Beach (NSBA)

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:34:00 AM

Rainfall related

Broadway Beach (NSBA)

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:35:00 AM

Rainfall related

Friendship Drive Beach (NSBA)

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:35:00 AM

Rainfall related

Shoreham Village Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:35:00 AM

Rainfall related

Shoreham Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:35:00 AM

Rainfall related

Shirley Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:36:00 AM

Rainfall related

Stony Brook Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:36:00 AM

Rainfall related

Shoreham Shore Club Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:36:00 AM

Rainfall related

Miller Place Park Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:36:00 AM

Rainfall related

Scotts Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:37:00 AM

Rainfall related

Woodhull Landing POA Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:37:00 AM

Rainfall related

Bayberry Cove Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:37:00 AM

Rainfall related

Bayview Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:37:00 AM

Rainfall related

Grantland Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:37:00 AM

Rainfall related

Indian Field Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:38:00 AM

Rainfall related

Little Bay Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:38:00 AM

Rainfall related

Soundview Beach Association Beach

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:38:00 AM

Rainfall related

Terraces on the Sound

Brookhaven

7/26/2018 8:38:00 AM

Rainfall related

Eagle Dock Community Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:24:00 AM

Rainfall related

West Neck Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:25:00 AM

Rainfall related

Lloyd Neck Bath Club Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:25:00 AM

Rainfall related

Lloyd Harbor Village Park Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:25:00 AM

Rainfall related

Gold Star Battalion Park Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:26:00 AM

Rainfall related

Head of the Bay Club Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:26:00 AM

Rainfall related

Nathan Hale Beach Club Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:26:00 AM

Rainfall related

Baycrest Association Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:26:00 AM

Rainfall related

Bay Hills Beach Association

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:27:00 AM

Rainfall related

Crescent Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:27:00 AM

Rainfall related

Knollwood Beach Association Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:27:00 AM

Rainfall related

Fleets Cove Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:27:00 AM

Rainfall related

Centerport Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:27:00 AM

Rainfall related

Huntington Beach Community Association Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:27:00 AM

Rainfall related

Centerport Yacht Club Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:28:00 AM

Rainfall related

Steers Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:28:00 AM

Rainfall related

Asharoken Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:28:00 AM

Rainfall related

Hobart Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:29:00 AM

Rainfall related

Hobart Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:29:00 AM

Rainfall related

Crab Meadow Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:29:00 AM

Rainfall related

Wincoma Association Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:29:00 AM

Rainfall related

Valley Grove Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:29:00 AM

Rainfall related

Prices Bend Beach

Huntington

7/26/2018 8:30:00 AM

Rainfall related

Bayberry Beach & Tennis Club Beach

Islip

7/26/2018 8:33:00 AM

Rainfall related

Callahans Beach

Smithtown

7/26/2018 8:50:00 AM

Rainfall related

Short Beach

Smithtown

7/26/2018 8:50:00 AM

Rainfall related

Nissequogue Point Beach

Smithtown

7/26/2018 8:50:00 AM

Rainfall related

Long Beach

Smithtown

7/26/2018 8:50:00 AM

Rainfall related

Schubert Beach

Smithtown

7/26/2018 8:51:00 AM

Rainfall related

Additionally, the following beaches remain closed to swimming

Tanner Park Beach

Babylon

Venetian Shores Beach

Babylon

Corey Beach

Brookhaven

Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club Beach

Huntington

West Islip Beach

Islip

Benjamins Beach

Islip

Islip Beach

Islip

East Islip Beach

Islip

West Oaks Recreation Club Beach

Islip

Brightwaters Village Beach

Islip

Bayport Beach

Islip

Sayville Marina Park Beach

Islip

Lake Ronkonkoma - Islip Town Beach

Islip

 

 

Wednesday
Jul252018

East Setauket Man Indicted In Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme

Defendant Charged With Defrauding More Than a Dozen Elderly Investors 

A nine-count indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Central Islip, charging Steven Pagartanis, a formerly licensed financial advisor and affiliate of a registered broker-dealer, with securities fraud, mail and wire fraud conspiracies, as well as money laundering, for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme over the course of more than 18 years.  Pagartanis was arrested today, and will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay.      

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the charges.

According to the indictment and other court documents, from January 2000 to March 2018, Pagartanis solicited elderly victims to invest in real estate-related investments, including those affiliated with a publicly traded Canadian company.  Pagartanis promised the victims that their principal would be secure and earn a fixed return, which he typically claimed to be between 4.5 to 8 percent annually.  At Pagartanis’s direction, the victims wrote checks payable to an entity that was secretly controlled by Pagartanis.  Pagartanis utilized a network of bank accounts to launder the stolen funds, which he then used to pay personal expenses, buy luxury items and make the guaranteed “interest” or “dividend” payments to other victims. Pagartanis created fictitious account statements reflecting ownership interests in the purported investments to induce investment and conceal the scheme.  In all, the victims invested over $13 million and sustained actual losses of over $8 million.  Many lost substantial portions of their life savings as a result of the scheme.

 “As alleged, Pagartanis conned vulnerable members of the community who had entrusted him with their hard-earned savings,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “Protecting the elderly and the community at large from predators like the defendant is a priority of this Office and the Department of Justice and with our law enforcement partners we will continue to pursue that mission.”  Mr. Donoghue also thanked the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for their assistance in the investigation.

“The elderly are among the most vulnerable members of society, as they are common targets of fraudulent schemes,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “As alleged, Pagartanis preyed on the elderly with his own interests in mind. While causing significant financial loss to his victims, Pagartanis experienced significant financial gain – allegedly paying personal expenses and making extravagant purchases. As we persistently investigate bogus Ponzi schemes, we aim to protect all targeted citizens from the threat of financial loss.”

 “The agents of IRS-CI along with our law enforcement partners will vigorously pursue fraudsters who allegedly victimize the elderly,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Robnett.  “We will gladly dedicate our specialized skillset to such investigations to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”  

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, Pagartanis faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Artie McConnell is in charge of the prosecution. 

Tuesday
Jul242018

County Exec Bellone Comes To Kings Park Talks School Safety

By P. Biancaniello 

County Executive Steve Bellone held a press conference at Kings Park High School where he signed legislation to fund a $2 million bond to provide an enhanced security program for schools accross Suffolk County called Rave Panic App. The bond was approved by the Suffolk County Legislature last week with a 17-1 vote.

Calling school safety one of government’s most important responsibilities Bellone stated, “In Suffolk County we are not waiting for Washington to get its act together on an issue of this importance. Today we are turning words into action in fulfilling our duty in making sure our students are protected in their place of learning.”

With an emphasis on school safety and security the Rave Panic Button smartphone app will provide users with immediate access to an emergency response by law enforcement and first responders who have intimate knowledge of the school’s emergency plan. Faced with an emergency, the user presses an app button on their phone triggering a call to 911, at the same time the system alerts personnel in the building and provides for immediate communication between first responders and designated personnel at the site.

Stressing the importance of having information readily available for responders Bellone stated, “Instantly our police, our first responders will have critical information as that Rave app notifies them of an emergency situation… critical information that’s provided by our schools and partners, floor plans, entry and exit points and emergency contact information.”  

Currently schools develop emergency plans and disseminate them to NYS Department of Education and law enforcement. The Rave app takes that plan, which the schools provide digitally, and makes it available to law enforcement and first responders.

County Executive Steve Bellone shakes hands with Kings Park School Superintendent Dr. Tim Eagen, Legislator Spencer (middle) and Kings Park Civic Association President Linda Henninger standingKings Park Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tim Eagen said, “Unfortunately, we know that when tragedy strikes every second  every minute is crucial and the Rave Mobil App is the best way that we can get emergency management, first responders, SCPD and even our own staff in the know immediately in  terms of what’s going on… At the end of the day we know it’s all about keeping the kids and the staff as safe as we possibly can.”

Suffolk County is providing the funding for the licensing fees so there is no cost for schools. In addition to providing the information digitally, schools will be required to make a commitment to update the information regularly. According to Bellone many schools have expressed an interest in the program. 

The $2 million bond allows the county to provide without cost access to the app to schools, both public and private. Currently, all suffolk county libraries use the program.