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Thursday
Sep122019

Stony Brook Professor Indicted For Stealing Cancer Research Funds

Geoffrey Girnun, an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Director of Cancer Metabolomics at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University (“SBU”) was charged in a seven-count indictment unsealed today with theft of state and federal government funds, wire fraud and money laundering.  Girnun allegedly submitted fraudulent invoices for research equipment to SBU from sham companies he created to conceal his theft of funds from cancer-related research grants issued by the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) and SBU. Girnun was arrested this morning and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in federal court in Central Islip 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 Scott J. Lampert, Special-Agent-in-Charge, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), announced the charges.

According to the indictment, in or about 2013 and 2017, Girnun formed shell companies Atlas Metabolomics, LLC (“Atlas”) and Empyrean Biosciences, LLC (“Empyrean”), which purportedly provided research items and equipment for the defendant’s cancer-related research projects.  Girnun then submitted fraudulent electronic invoices to SBU for payment to the companies for equipment, goods and services that were never received or provided.  SBU used NIH and SBU grant funds to pay the shell companies over $200,000.  Girnun transferred the NIH and SBU grant funds into his personal bank accounts and used the funds for personal expenses, including payments toward the mortgage on his home.

“Professor Girnun’s alleged theft of federal and state grant funds earmarked for cancer research can be explained in two words: pure greed,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “He will now be held to account in a federal courtroom.”

“As millions of Americans place their faith in programs established to fund cancer-related research, Geoffrey Girnun, a professor, allegedly siphoned money from grant funds established for this very purpose,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “While people continued to suffer from their illnesses, Girnun made payments toward his personal mortgage with the money he stole. His conduct is despicable, and it won’t be tolerated.”

“Taxpayers fund medical research with the hope that promising scientific breakthroughs will result in much-needed treatments and cures for patients.  Because the money for medical research is limited and the need for scientific advances is great, it’s incredibly important to clamp down on those who would steal such grant money for personal gain,” stated HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Lampert.  “Professor Girnun will face the consequences of his actions.”     

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, Girnun faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Erin E. Argo and Madeline O’Connor are in charge of the prosecution. 

 

Monday
Sep092019

LI Business Owner Pleads Guilty To Providing False Records To IRS

In Central Islip, New York, a Brentwood, New York, business owner pleaded guilty to corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to court filings and facts presented at the plea proceeding, Jose Cerritos (Cerritos) owned and operated La Centro Americana Corp. (La Centro), a wholesale food distribution business based in Bay Shore, New York, that sold imported food products for resale to New York metropolitan area customers. Cerritos diverted cash receipts from the business bank accounts, which caused La Centro’s tax returns for 2011 and 2012 to significantly underreport the size of the business - and its profits - to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  He also filed his own individual income tax returns, falsely understating the income he received from La Centro.  Cerritos also gave the IRS false business records, which purported to show La Centro’s yearly sales for 2011 and 2012, but omitted millions of dollars in gross receipts for each year.

United States District Court Judge Joanna Seybert, who accepted Cerritos’ guilty plea, scheduled sentencing for March 6, 2020.  Cerritos faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison.  He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked special agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Sarah Ranney and Mark Kotila of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

Sunday
Sep082019

Say NO To Inviting Taliban Leaders To US Week Of Sept.11

“How about we end the war without inviting the Taliban to dinner on the week of 9/11?” Amash, an Independent who left the GOP earlier this year, said on Twitter after Trump announced that he’d canceled secret meetings with leaders of the Taliban and Afghanistan’s president.  Read The Hill

Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) on Sunday denounced President Trump for inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David for peace talks just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Friday
Sep062019

Have You Met Jan Singer? She Wants To Be Your Legislator 

By Pat Biancaniello

Jan Singer is a Kings Park resident who is running for Suffolk County Legislator in the 13th L. D. She is a Democrat running against Rob Trotta who will be completing his third term in December. Winning an election against an incumbent is challenging; and winning against a Republican incumbent in L.D. 13 is akin to David striking down Goliath.  Jan is more than willing to take on the challenge. Ask her why and she will tell you that Rob Trotta is not addressing the issues that are so important to residents in the district. She points to water quality both drinking and coastal, opioid abuse and taxes as issues residents are concerned about and she is passionate about.

Jan Singer taking a break from campaigning at Commack Dunkin’ DonutsMs. Singer is extremely confident in her ability to represent the interests of residents in the 13th LD. She points to her decades of work as an attorney and her responsiblity for putting the interests of clients before all other interests as evidence of her ability and willingness to get the job done. And she believes that there is much in the county that needs to be done.

She plans to bring together environmental groups, labor advocates and energy industry experts to protect the Suffolk County’s coastline, promote sustainable energy sources and to protect drinking water.  Water is her passion. She believes that increasing filtration in Suffolk County’s sewer system and increasing sewer availability will help protect drinking water keeping families healthy. She is committed to reducing water pollution from chemical contamination and will work to bring new business and create new jobs.  She is intends to focus on identifying funding sources to make increased efficiency and expansion of our sewer system affordable and achievable.

Before she does all of the above Jan knows she needs to get elected; and so she works, doing everything she can do to get the public to understand what’s at stake. She goes door-to-door meeting residents and jokes that sometimes the “Ring” homeowners have on doorbells is her greatest asset. She gets to leave a message which is so much more powerful than a piece of literature. Jan says the reception she receives from the surprised resident has been very positive. “I like it, I didn’t think I would but it has been very rewarding.”

Why now? Jan Singer is really bothered by Rob Trotta’s agenda. She claims he doesn’t want the job and points to his plan to run for County Executive, his talk about replacing Mike Fitzpatrick in the NYS Assembly if John Flanagan left and Mike moved to NYS Senate.  Anything she says, but being a Suffolk County Legislator. She says he’s a hypocrite for complaining about county contracts at the same time he is collecting a taxpayer funded pension and his county salary. She also questions the rationale for Trotta’s suggesting that the $20 million revenue generated by red lights be refunded. This, she says is not feasible and would put the County’s budget in a hole and would put taxpayers on the hook for the millions in refunds. 

Jan believes that the people in the district need tax relief not wasteful spending. She believes that residents want to know that their legislator is looking for answers to the opioid crisis and environmental concerns and she plans to do her best to address their concerns.

Jan Singer is running for Suffolk County legislator she wants you to know that “When elected, I will represent and work for all of the people in the 13th L.D..”

Thursday
Sep052019

Suffolk County Red Light Cameras Are Here For Another Five Years

By P. Biancaniello

Red-light cameras (RLC) in Suffolk County are here to stay - at least for the next five years. After hours of discussion with almost thirty members of the public stating their opposition to the program, legislators voted 11-7 to renew the contract with modifications. Legislators voted along party lines. Democrats citing safety supported the extension. Republican legislators citing safety and calling it a money grab opposed the renewal. 

Legislator Rob Trotta Sept. 4 discussion about red light camerasAccording to Hector Gavilla, an opponent of the RLC program and candidate for legislator in the 16th L.D.,the breakdown of camera placement is Brookhaven 38, Islip 24, Babylon 19, Huntington 15 and Smithtown 4.

Martin Buchman a member of NYS Bicyclist Coalition spoke in favor of the program saying that bicylists have a deadly fear of someone running a red light.  He urged legislators to keep the program and to ensure equity in distribution of cameras. 

Smithtown legislators Kennedy 12 L.D. and Trotta 13 L.D. voted against renewing the program. Legislator Trotta has been in the forefront of the movement to rid the county of the cameras, he claims the program is about revenue and has accused the Bellone administration of initiating the program to cover budget short falls. Red-light cameras have generated more than $25 million in revenue for the county. 

At a 2017 press event in Miller Place, at a site where two teens died in separate incidents, Trotta accused the county of improperly reporting statistics at intersections with cameras. The county through a spokesperson denied the allegation stating that the engineering firm Nelson and Pope was not instructed to exclude pedestrian and bicycle data and includes information not required by law.  

Suffolk County Committee Chairman Jesse Garcia in a statement issued to the press said, “Make no mistake - this is about shoring up the county’s failing finances. They should be called red-ink cameras because their real purpose is to prevent debt, not deaths.” 

Many of the speakers opposed the disproportionate number of cameras placed in poorer districts where fines and fees create economic hardship. Currently there is a $15 administrative fee in addition to a $50 fine late fees are added if fee is not paid on time. The approval of the contract renewal came with a commitment to look at the placement of the cameras as well as a payment plan.

Jason Elon, spokesperson for the Bellone administration referring to a proposed resolution supported by Republican legislators issued the following statement, “The same Minority Caucus that complained about red light camera fees is now introducing legislation to impose fees and ticket motorists with cameras on school buses.  Two-faced Rob Trotta and his band of conspiracy theorists should pick a side – and ours is on the side of public safety.”

 

Wednesday
Sep042019

FYI - September Job Fairs

 

 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that the Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center will host a range of employment events in September to assist residents in their job searches. In addition to hosting a job fair with a variety of employers in attendance, a number of individual businesses will seek new employees at hiring and career exploration events hosted by the Suffolk County Department of Labor. 

“Though unemployment in Suffolk County remains at historic lows, it is important to not take our eye off the ball and continue our efforts to connect residents looking for meaningful and gainful employment,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “I encourage all residents who are interested in furthering their career to reach out to our hiring experts and visit the One Stop Employment Center in Hauppauge today.”

JOB FAIR

Friday, September 13

10:00am – 1:00pm

Presented by the Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center at the The Smithtown Library

1 North Country Rd

Smithtown, NY  

Companies scheduled to attend include: AFLAC, Attentive Care, Certified Laboratories, CIRCOR Aerospace, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Core Business Technology Solutions, Contract Pharmacal Corporation, CulinArt, East/West Industries, Express Employment Professionals, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, First in Service Staffing, HEAP, Home Instead Senior Care, Life’s WORC, Lloyd Staffing, Marcum Search, Nature’s Bounty, New Vitality, NY Life Insurance, Office Team, Right At Home, SCO Family of Services, Suffolk County Water Authority, Shoprite, Supreme Screw Products, UCP of Suffolk, Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, US Postal Service, Well Life Network. No advance registration is required.

HIRING EVENTS

Thursday, September 12

9:00am – 12:00pm

Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center

725 Veterans Memorial Highway

Hauppauge, NY

A-1 Roofing is hiring immediately for Residential/Commercial Roof Mechanic. Pay ranges from $21 - $38 per hour.

CAREER EXPLORATION

Tuesday, September 10

9:30 am

SCCC HVAC/Manufacturing Industry

Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center

725 Veterans Memorial Hwy

Hauppauge, NY

A representative from Suffolk County Community College will present an Informational Session on HVAC/R, Comfort/Indoor Air Quality, Heating Systems for Oil, Gas & Electric, Commercial Refrigeration Processes, Industrial Cooling Processes, Manufacturing Technology, Precision Metal Work, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Computerized Machinery, Quality Control, Lean Manufacturing, Modern Manufacturing, OSHA/Safe Work Habits, Basic Hand Tools, Mathematics, Welding, CNC Mill and Lathe, IPC Soldering, AutoCAD, MasterCam, 3D Printing, Manufacturing Processes, Problem Solving and Team Work.

Space is limited and registration is required.  Call (631) 853-6600 to reserve your place.

Wednesday, September 18

9:30 am

Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center

725 Veterans Memorial Highway

Hauppauge, NY

A representative from the New York State Small Business Development Center will discuss how to start your own business and become a small business owner. Registration is required. Call (631) 853-6600 to reserve your place

Thursday, September 19

9:30am

Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center

725 Veterans Memorial Highway

Hauppauge, NY

A Suffolk County Department of Civil Service representative will discuss employment in the public sector, tips on navigating the Civil Service website, and offer examination application information.

Space is limited and registration is required.  Call (631) 853-6600 to reserve your place.

Tuesday
Sep032019

Flanagan Proposes Law To Help DMV Employees Conflicted By Green Light Law

Long Island, NY — Senate Republican Leader John J. Flanagan, unveiled a new piece of legislation to safeguard state Department of Motor Vehicle employees who yield to federal immigration law over conflicting state law known as the “Green Light Law”  which condones illegal immigration.

The new bill comes as the  New York law to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants faces legal challenges from county clerks and refusals from upstate county clerks to implement it. State employees would be required to verify foreign identification.

“Democrats in Albany didn’t yield to the will of the people who overwhelmingly oppose this bad policy that puts our state Department of Motor Vehicles employees in the awful predicament of choosing between whether to abide by federal law or to issue a state license to an illegal immigrant. It should not be up to our DMV workers to ferret out potentially fraudulent foreign documents that can open up our voting system to abuse, and if they feel uncomfortable with doing so they should not fear being fired. This legislation would protect our employees who act in good faith to follow federal law instead of abetting illegal behavior,” said Senate Republican Leader Flanagan.

The legislation permits an employee to hire an attorney to defend themselves in the event of any civil actions taken against them by the state. It would also protect the employee if they took action in good faith, and would prevent termination if their actions were in line with federal law.

The Green Light Law  allows illegal immigrants to provide foreign documentation, without a social security number, to obtain driver’s licenses. 

The law also prevents any data sharing with immigration related enforcement to shield immigrants from the federal law. 

 

 

 

Monday
Sep022019

Road Rage Incident On Southern State Corrections Officer Arrested For Menacing

On September 1, 2019, at approximately 8:23 pm, troopers responded to a reported road rage incident on the eastbound Southern State Parkway, near exit 21, in the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County. Investigation revealed that Rashad C. Hinton, age 31, of Uniondale, NY, operating a 2015 Lexus G35 and another driver, operating a 2006 Honda Civic, exited their vehicles and engaged in a verbal argument stemming from a lane merging conflict they had on the parkway. During the argument, Mr. Hinton made statements and movments toward his waist-band showing the other driver he was in possession of a fireman and also produced a badge. Mr. Hinton left the scene prior to troopers arrival, however he was located and arrested for Menacing 2nd shortly thereafter. Mr. Hinton was later identified as a New York City Corrections Officer and legally possessed the firearm and badge. Mr. Hinton is due to appear in Nassau County First District Court on September 30, 2019. 

Friday
Aug302019

"You Will Be Held Accountable" If You Drive Or Boat Drunk

Bellone, Hart Announce Crackdown On BWI and DWI During Labor Day Weekend

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart announced a comprehensive boating and driving while intoxicated crackdown plan to help keep residents safe during Labor Day weekend.

Suffolk County Police will be patrolling for DWI and BWI offenders on Suffolk roads and waterways. The enforcement effort will include officers from Highway Patrol, Motorcycle Section, SAFE-T (Selective Alcohol Fatality Enforcement) Section and Marine Bureau as well as precinct-level patrol officers.

During Labor Day weekend 2018, 41 people were arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and there was one arrest for Boating While Intoxicated.

“We do not want a weekend of fun to turn into a tragic one,” said County Executive Bellone. “If you plan to drink during the upcoming holiday weekend, use common sense and plan a way home because if you get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking, you will be caught and you will be held accountable.” 

“The safety of our residents and visitors is of the utmost importance,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “As always, the Suffolk County Police Department will take a zero tolerance approach when it comes to intoxicated drivers and boaters.”

 Residents and visitors are reminded if they see an intoxicated driver or boater, call 911.

Friday
Aug302019

Former Hauppauge HS Teacher Indicted In Sex Abuse Of Student

DA SINI: HAUPPAUGE HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER INDICTED FOR ALLEGEDLY SEXUALLY ABUSING STUDENT IN 2017

(RIVERHEAD, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced the indictment of a Hauppauge High School choir teacher for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage boy at the teacher’s home in Moriches in 2017.

“It can be extremely difficult for victims of abuse to come forward to law enforcement, particularly when the alleged abuser is someone in a position of authority, such as a teacher,” District Attorney Sini said. “We want to let victims know that they are not alone; we are here for you. We will seek justice for this victim as we do in each and every case.”

Mark Kimes, 53, of Moriches, is charged with two counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, a B felony; Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, a D felony; two counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree, an E felony; two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, an A misdemeanor; and three counts of Unlawfully Dealing with a Child in the First Degree, an A misdemeanor.

Kimes is alleged to have sexually abused a then-16-year-old student in September 2017 while at Kimes’ home in Moriches. The victim, now 18 years old, reported the alleged abuse to Suffolk County Police Seventh Squad detectives, who arrested Kimes on August 13.

Kimes is also alleged to have provided alcoholic beverages to the victim and two other minors and to have let the victim smoke marijuana in his home.

Kimes was arraigned on the indictment today by Suffolk County Court Judge Karen M. Wilutis. Bond was transferred in the amount of $100,000, which Kimes previously posted. He is due back in court on Sept. 25.

If convicted of the top count, Kimes faces a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Any additional victims or witnesses are asked to call the Seventh Squad at 631-852-8752 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Melissa Grier, of the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau.