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 - 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

Click to view larger

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Monday
Dec102018

Congressman Zeldin Calls On DOJ To Investigate NYS Justice Center

PATCHOGUE, NY - Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) was joined by Reps. Peter King (R, NY-2), Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21) and Tom Reed (R, NY-23) requesting that the Department of Justice investigate the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs’ failure to protect individuals with disabilities and Medicaid recipients who have died under state care, including nine who died while in state care in Suffolk County since 2013.

Dozens of allegations related to staff abuses, patient neglect, sexual assaults and even patient deaths have been reported over the last few years, yet the New York State Justice Center, which is authorized to investigate all reports of abuse and neglect, pursue administrative sanctions against staff found responsible for misconduct, and prosecute criminal offenses through its Special Prosecutor/Inspector General sharing jurisdiction with local district attorneys, has consistently failed to perform these responsibilities and continues to operate without any added oversight or scrutiny. Since its inception in 2013, the Center has failed to take meaningful steps to address systematic failures, and as such, it is critical the Department of Justice investigate.    

“Individuals with disabilities deserve full and equal protection under the law. However, in the State of New York, abuses have been ignored and swept under the rug due to the lack of action taken by the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin. “It is unacceptable that the State of New York continues to pocket billions of federal tax dollars to care for these patients while neglecting to investigate suspicious deaths of patients that happen in their very facilities, and it is clear the State of New York refuses to hold itself accountable. It is critical that there is a thorough investigation to finally secure justice for individuals with disabilities who have died in state care as a result of criminal misconduct.”

Thursday
Dec062018

James Dolan To Pay $609,810 Civil Penalty

 

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., against James Dolan for violating the premerger notification and waiting period requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act of 1976 when he acquired voting securities of Madison Square Garden Company in 2017.  At the same time, the department filed a proposed settlement, subject to approval by the court, under which Dolan has agreed to pay a $609,810 civil penalty to resolve the lawsuit.

The HSR Act imposes notification and waiting period requirements for transactions meeting certain size thresholds so that they can undergo premerger antitrust review.  Federal courts can assess civil penalties for premerger notification violations under the HSR Act in lawsuits brought by the department.  The maximum civil penalty for an HSR violation, which is adjusted annually, is currently $41,484 per day.

Further details about this matter are described in the FTC’s press release issued today, and in the attached complaint and competitive impact statement.

Consistent with the requirements of the Tunney Act, the proposed settlement, along with the competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register.  Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement during a 60-day comment period to Roberta S. Baruch, Special Attorney, United States, c/o Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, CC-8407, Washington, D.C. 20580.  At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia may approve the proposed settlement upon finding that it is in the public interest.

Wednesday
Dec052018

Suffolk County to Waive All Late Fees and Penalties for Outstanding Tickets

SUFFOLK COUNTY TRAFFIC AND PARKING VIOLATIONS BUREAU ANNOUNCES TICKET AMNESTY PROGRAM

Suffolk County to Waive All Late Fees and Penalties for Outstanding Tickets

The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violation Agency and Suffolk County Legislator Doc Spencer (D-Huntington) today announced an amnesty program that will waive all late fees and penalties for moving violations, parking tickets, and red light camera citations. The amnesty program will run from December 5, 2018 through February 20, 2019, after which time offenders’ vehicles with multiple outstanding fines will be subject to booting and towing.

Amnesty will apply to Red Light Camera Safety Program citations, as well as those with moving violations and parking tickets. It will not apply to cases where a judge has suspended the driver’s registration/privilege to register a motor vehicle in New York State or cases in which a hearing for suspension is pending. The program will also apply to moving violations, including those which may have been pled to parking tickets.

Following the amnesty program, offenders’ vehicles with multiple outstanding fines are be subject to booting and/or towing. Parking tickets with an existing judgment on said ticket will be eligible for amnesty as well. For Red Light Camera citations with an existing judgment but not with a suspended registration or pending suspension hearing, the TPVA will waive late fees of $25.

Those interested in taking advantage of the amnesty program can visit Suffolk County Traffic Court in the H. Lee Dennison Building, located at 100 Veterans Memorial Highway, in Hauppauge, before February 20, 2019.  For any questions, please call 866-637-0008 between 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday, except during the holidays.

 

Tuesday
Dec042018

Four Suffolk County Residents Charged With Petition Fraud In 2018 Election

 

DA SINI: FOUR CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH PETITION FRAUD DURING THE 2018 ELECTION 

Defendants Include Two Employees of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, Two Political Party Officials

(CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced the filing of charges against four individuals, including two employees of the Suffolk County Board of Elections and two political party officials, in connection with the alleged forgery of more than 50 signatures on nominating petitions for the 2018 election.

“Through their alleged actions, the defendants corrupted the democratic process and violated the public’s trust,” District Attorney Sini said. “This brazen scheme to get preferred candidates on the November 2018 ballot by any means necessary included the alleged filing of petitions with forged signatures, some of which included forged signatures of deceased individuals. In addition, one of the defendants is alleged to have used his position as a member of the Suffolk County Board of Elections to deceive voters into signing petitions they might otherwise have declined to sign. This kind of conduct is unacceptable; if you abuse your position of public trust and attempt to disrupt the integrity of the election process, you will be brought to justice.”

Amos Goodman, 35, of East Hampton, former Chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Party, is charged with ten counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a D felony, and ten counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, an E felony. Goodman is alleged to have submitted nominating petitions that contained at least 43 forgeries. The petitions were for Green Party judicial candidates, an Independence Party candidate for East Hampton Town Council and a Republican Party candidate for East Hampton Town Council. In one instance, Goodman submitted a nominating petition containing the signature of a person who is deceased.

William Mann, 60, of Cutchogue, a Board of Elections employee, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a D felony; Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, an E felony; and two counts of Official Misconduct, an A misdemeanor. Mann is alleged to have submitted nominating petitions for Green Party judicial candidates containing three forged signatures, including one signature of a resident who is deceased.

Gregory Dickerson, 55, of Mattituck, a Board of Elections employee, is charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a D felony, and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, an E felony. Dickerson is alleged to have submitted two nominating petition forms for Green Party judicial candidates containing two forged signatures.

Patricia Mansir, 72, of East Hampton, Vice Chairperson of the East Hampton Town Independence Party and former East Hampton Town Councilwoman, is charged with four counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a D felony, and four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, an E felony. Mansir is alleged to have submitted nominating petitions for an Independence Party candidate for East Hampton Town Council containing eight forged signatures, including one signature of a resident who is deceased.

After receiving complaints from representatives of the Suffolk County Green Party, the East Hampton Town Republican Party and the East Hampton Town Independence Party, the District Attorney’s Office’s Public Integrity Bureau launched a comprehensive investigation into the allegations.

The investigation revealed evidence of alleged schemes in which the defendants knowingly possessed and submitted nominating petitions containing forged signatures.

Mann is charged with Official Misconduct for allegedly falsely representing to voters that he was working in his official capacity as an employee of the Board of Elections to collect signatures on behalf of the Green Party.

The investigation did not reveal evidence that any of the candidates were aware of or involved in the alleged schemes.

Mann, Dickerson and Mansir were arraigned today and were released on their own recognizance. Goodman is expected to be arraigned on Dec. 5.

If convicted of the top count, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of two and one-third to seven years in prison.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kevin Ward, of the Public Integrity Bureau.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Tuesday
Dec042018

County Executive Bellone Reminds The Public Help Is Available This Winter

COUNTY EXECUTIVE BELLONE ANNOUNCES WINTER WEATHER PROTOCOLS FOR RESIDENTS IN NEED OF SHELTER

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced available housing and heating assistance for residents through the county during the cold weather months.  The Suffolk County Department of Social Services Safe Beds Program is operational and will provide emergency shelter to those in need during inclement weather, which is defined when the air temperature is at or below 32°F, including wind chill.

“As winter approaches, the county will provide available heat and shelter for those seeking to escape the frigid conditions.” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “We encourage anyone who is in need of temporary housing, emergency fuel or other assistance to contact the Suffolk County Department of Social Services immediately.”

Dennis Nowak, Acting Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services said: “The Department of Social Services stands ready to assist Suffolk County residents that require our services during severe cold weather.”

Housing Assistance:

 

Temporary housing assistance is available for those who wish to apply in-person at Suffolk County service centers located in Deer Park, Coram, Hauppauge and Riverhead. Specific addresses and information on these centers can be found below and at www.suffolkcountyny.gov. Outside of normal business hours please contact emergency services at 631-854-9100.

Service Center Locations

South West Center

2 South 2nd Street

Deer Park

(631) 854-6600

Smithtown Center

200 Wireless Blvd.

Hauppauge

(631) 853-8714

Coram Center

80 Middle Country Road

Coram

(631) 854-2300

Riverhead Center

893 East Main Street

Riverhead

(631) 852-3500

MacArthur Center         

3455 Veterans Memorial Highway

Ronkonkoma, New York 11779

HEAP

 

Residents who receive Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits and are in need of fuel or emergency burner repair are advised to contact the Suffolk County Department of Social Services Home Energy Assistance Program immediately at 631-853-8820. If assistance is needed on weekdays after 4:30 p.m., weekends or holidays, residents can call the Department of Social Services Emergency Services Unit at 631-854-9100.

For Renters

 

Between October 1st and May 31st, when outside temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, internal dwelling temperatures must be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit, day and night. Each dwelling is required by law to have heating facilities that are properly installed, and maintained in safe and good working conditions, and are capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water closet compartments. Residents whose landlords are not in compliance with this requirement are advised to call the Suffolk County Department of Health Temporary Residence Unit at 631-852-5900. Temporary interruptions necessary while performing repairs or alterations are permissible.

The County Executive additionally provided the following winter weather tips for homeowners and residents to stay safe: 

  • Protect your pipes. Run water at times to help prevent your pipes from freezing.
  • Make sure portable heaters are placed on a flat, leveled surface and to keep all flammable objects, including cloth, papers and rugs, away from it.
  • Drive with caution and be mindful of your surroundings.  During the winter, roads may ice over and become slippery even if no precipitation is present.  
  • Check on friends and loved ones who are elderly or may be sick during the extreme cold or during snowfall.
  • When outdoors, cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  • Be aware of the warning signs of hypothermia, which include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech.  Infants and children who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin.
  • Unvented or malfunctioning space heaters can emit carbon monoxide so make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operating properly and have fresh batteries.
  • Pets should never be left outside while you are at work or out of the house for any extended period of time.
  • Walks should be limited to less than 15 minutes if the temperature is below freezing.
  • If your dog must be outside for any reason this winter, monitor them closely and be sure to bring them indoors if they begin to show signs of distress.

For more information on the County’s winter weather protocols and snow removal preparations or for more winter weather safety tips, log on to www.facebook.com/stevebellone or www.suffolkcountyny.gov.

 

Monday
Dec032018

Suffolk County Will Meet Tuesday Three Public Hearings On The Agenda

Legislature Weighs Increasing E-Cigarette Fines, Approving Funds for BOMARC Improvements, Strengthening County’s Public Nuisance Law, Criminal Conduct Reporting at Water and Amusement Parks, Ok for Vector Control Plan

RIVERHEAD, N.Y.  – Members of the Suffolk County Legislature are expected to consider increasing fines for the sale of e-cigarettes to persons under the age of 21 at their December 4 meeting at the Evans K. Griffing Suffolk County Legislature Building at 300 Center Drive in Riverhead which begins at 9:30 am.

The local law would increase the fine from a maximum of $1,000 per offense to a maximum of $1,000 for a first offense and $2,000 for each subsequent violation for those selling e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine to anyone under the age of 21. 

The law currently views each violation as a separate and distinct offense, which will continue under the revised fine structure. If adopted, the change will take effect 120 days following its filing with the Secretary of State.

Legislators will also weigh appropriating $110,000 for improvements to the BOMARC property to expedite productive use of the land by testing soil and groundwater to determine its environmental health status. 

Lawmakers will consider expanding the County’s Nuisance Properties laws by adding violation of New York State Penal Law Section to prohibit certain conduct, including gang assault, sex offenses and sexual performance by a child. 

In addition, the bill will add the Department of Social Services Commissioner to receive copies of violation of the Nuisance Property Law notifications. 

Finally, existing reference to “crack” are proposed to be eliminated and the term “crack house” be replaced with nuisance properties. The changes will take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.

Requiring amusement and water parks within Suffolk County to report serious crimes occurring on their premises to appropriate law enforcement agencies will also be on the agenda. The proposed fine for not notifying authorities is $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for each subsequent violence. 

In addition, approval of the County’s multi-tiered Vector Control Plan, which is responsible for the suppression of mosquitoes, ticks and other arthropods which are vectors of human disease, will be considered as well. 

Other items on the Agenda include: 

  • Appropriating $350,000 in the Capital Budget for the construction of Aviation Utility Infrastructure at Gabreski Airport;
  • Accepting the donation of land now owned by Dowling College and transferring the land to the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation for Open Space Preservation;
  • Amending the composition and streamlining the operation of the Suffolk County Senior Citizen’s Advisory Board.

There are several Public Hearings scheduled as well, set to begin at 2:00 pm. They include:

  • Amending the Suffolk County Code to ensure that animals in pet stores are treated in a humane and safe manner;
  • Expanding and amending the Grant Assistance Program for the Installation of Innovative and Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems;
  • Limiting the Flavoring of Liquid Nicotine and E-Cigarettes sold in Suffolk County;
  • Authorizing conveyance of Real Property previously taken for delinquent taxes, Linden Lane, Farmingville.


 For additional information, visit www.scnylegislature.us/ or contact Fran Evans at (631)853-5499. 

Friday
Nov302018

Registration Open For Suffolk County 2019 Police Exam

 

SUFFOLK COUNTY EXECUTIVE BELLONE, POLICE COMMISSIONER HART ANNOUNCE REGISTRATION OPEN FOR 2019 POLICE EXAM

Applicants Can Register Online at www.JoinSCPD.com or Call SCPD Recruitment Office at 1-88-SCP-EXAM

 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart today announced that registration is now open to sign up for the upcoming Suffolk County Police Department entrance exam that will be held on June 15, 2019.  The deadline to register for the highly competitive exam is April 3, 2019.  Registration for the 2019 Suffolk County Police Department and the Police Spanish Speaking exam can be found at www.JoinSCPD.com.

“Crime in Suffolk County is at the lowest level in recorded history, and we expect this trend to continue by recruiting the very best to serve and protect,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “I encourage anyone interested in pursuing a career in public safety to take the exam and give strong consideration to joining the ranks of our respected law enforcement professionals.”

“We only offer this test once every four years, and with all of the progress we’ve made, we want to make the most of this tremendous opportunity,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart. “It is our responsibility to bring along the next generation of leaders, those who will dedicate their lives to protecting our residents and to keep our communities safe and I have no doubt these new recruits will carry the touch with honor and integrity.”

The exam is offered every four years and lures thousands of applicants who are interested in a career in law enforcement.  Registrants must be between the ages of 19 – 34 with a six-month exception for applicants with active military duty experience.  They must also have graduated from a standard high school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma recognized by the New York State Department of Education Registration. Possession of a valid New York State drivers’ license is also required. 

Candidates who pass the written test will be called for the following qualifying tests and evaluations as needed.

Comprehensive Medical Evaluation

Candidates will be required to meet the medical standards for Police Officer and/or Police Officer (Spanish Speaking) prescribed by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council and by Suffolk County.

Psychological/Personality Evaluation

This evaluation will consist of written tests and an interview designed to assess the suitability of the candidate’s personality for the position of Police Officer and/or Police Officer (Spanish Speaking).

Physical Fitness Screening Test

Candidates will be required to meet the qualifying fitness screening test standards for Police Officer and/or Police Officer (Spanish Speaking) as prescribed by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council.

New Recruitment Effort

In order to ensure the diversity of the Suffolk County Police Department is reflective of the communities that it serves, the county will be launching an extensive multimedia and social media outreach campaign after the holiday season.  The outreach campaign will focus on attracting minority and women candidates who are most likely to meet the requirements to be a police officer. The campaign will utilize both, English and Spanish, through television, social media, radio stations and print media – including outlets that primarily serve or are directed towards the African-American and Hispanic communities.  In addition, the Police Department will be performing grassroots outreach to community organizations, local churches, college campuses and more throughout Long Island and the tri-state area. 

The Department selected Crown Advertising based in Hauppauge earlier this year through a request for proposal (RFP) process to lead the campaign.  The Suffolk County Police Department has additionally quadrupled the amount of staff that is committed to recruitment within its community relation’s bureau. 

For more information on the application process, please visit www.joinscpd.com or call the Suffolk County Police Department’s recruitment office at 1-800-SCP-EXAM. 

 

Wednesday
Nov282018

Head Of The Harbor - Public Notice Of Local Law On Bed And Breakfasts

                          PUBLIC NOTICE
          PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Board of Trustees of the
Village of Head-of-the-Harbor will hold a public hearing on the
19th day of December, 2018, at 7:00 P.M., at the Village Hall,
500 North Country Road, Head-of-the-Harbor, New York, to
consider the adoption of a local law as follows:
               LOCAL LAW (Intro.) NO.  3   OF 2018
                           A LOCAL LAW
                        BED AND BREAKFASTS
          BE IT ENACTED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE
OF HEAD-OF-THE-HARBOR AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1.  PURPOSE.
          The purpose of this local law is to enable the use and
maintenance of existing residential structures as a bed and
breakfast establishment.
SECTION 2.  ENACTMENT OF VILLAGE LAW § 165-26.1.

Village Code § 165-26.1 is enacted as follows: § 165-26.1. Bed and Breakfast
A. Definitions.
BED AND BREAKFAST ESTABLISHMENT

               An owner-occupied building designed, used and
          occupied as a single-family residence, managed by the
          property owner and having bedroom accommodations and
          breakfast provisions served in the host's private
          dining room or kitchen for those accommodated as
          paying guests who are referred to, for purposes of
          this section as "guests."
page1image11536 page1image11696 page1image11856 page1image12016

GUESTS

     Person(s) who pay to stay overnight at the bed
and breakfast establishment.
HOST-HOSTESS
     Owner and occupant of the bed and breakfast
establishment.

B. Location.

     A bed and breakfast may be established in an
existing single family residence located on or
adjacent North Country Road.
C.   Permit Required; Application; Issuance.
     A permit for a bed and breakfast shall be a
special permit issued upon application to the Board of
Trustees and completion of a public hearing conducted
in accordance with the provisions of this section.
Any application fee shall be fixed by resolution of
the Board of Trustees.
D.   Conditions.
     A special permit shall be granted upon
satisfaction of the following:
          1.   The premises shall be the primary
     residence of the owner/host.
          2.   Any special permit issued hereunder
     shall have a duration of one (1) year.
          e.   In no event shall there be more than
     four (4) guest bedrooms, and occupancy is limited
     to two persons per guest bedroom.
          4.   Applicant shall demonstrate compliance
     with all state and local health, electrical,
     fire, building, sanitation and maintenance codes
     applicable to the bed and breakfast use.
          5.   Each guest room shall have one or more
     windows allowing emergency egress.

-2-

                    6.   A smoke and carbon monoxide alarm shall
               be installed and maintained in each guest room
               and on each floor.
                    7.   Required on site parking shall be one
               space per guest room plus two spaces.
                    8.   Only one sign not exceeding two square
               feet may be installed at the premises.
                    9.   No cooking facilities are permitted in
               a guest room.
                    10.  Occupancy for any guest is limited to
               seven nights.

E. Renewal.

               Any special permit for a bed and breakfast
          establishment may be renewed for successive one year
          periods provided any such renewal shall require a
          public hearing and a report of an inspection of the
          Building Inspector addressing current compliance with
          all applicable conditions.
SECTION 3.  SEVERABILITY.
          Should any part or provision of this local law be
decided by the courts to be unconstitutional or invalid, such
decision shall not affect the validity of the local law as a
whole nor any part thereof other than the part so decided to be
unconstitutional or invalid.
SECTION 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE.
          This Local Law shall take effect immediately upon
filing with the Secretary of State as provided by law.
page3image12160 page3image12320 page3image12480 page3image12640

-3-

All persons in interest will be heard by the Board of
Trustees at the public hearing to be held as aforesaid and may
appear in person or by representative.  The Village Hall is
accessible to handicapped persons.
Dated:    November 20, 2018
BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF
THE VILLAGE OF HEAD-OF-THE-HARBOR
BY:  Margaret O'Keefe, Village Clerk
Monday
Nov262018

"Operation Pay Dirt" NYS's Largest Takedown Of Alleged Illegal Dumping Offenders

DA SINI, NYS DEC & SCPD ANNOUNCE 130-COUNT INDICTMENT AGAINST 30 INDIVIDUALS, 9 CORPORATIONS IN “OPERATION PAY DIRT,” LARGEST TAKEDOWN OF ALLEGED ILLEGAL DUMPING OFFENDERS IN NY STATE HISTORY

Defendants Indicted for Allegedly Conspiring to Illegally Dump Solid Waste at 21 Locations in Suffolk County, 3 in Nassau County

Click Here for Photos of the Defendants and Photos of the Alleged Dumping Sites

(RIVERHEAD, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) and the Suffolk County Police Department today announced the unsealing of a 130-count indictment that charges 30 individuals and nine corporations for an alleged conspiracy to illegally dispose of solid waste at 24 locations on Long Island.

“What we’re dealing with here is an epidemic of illegal dumping in Suffolk County,” District Attorney Sini said. “It’s gone on far too long, and our message is very clear: we will not tolerate this criminal conduct in our county. We will do whatever it takes to uncover illegal dumping.”

An investigation by the District Attorney’s Office, DEC and Suffolk County Police Department into the alleged conspiracy by the defendants to illegally dump solid waste in various locations across Long Island began in February 2018. The months-long investigation, known as “Operation Pay Dirt,” involved the use of electronic surveillance, including court-authorized eavesdropping, and physical surveillance.

The alleged conspiracy centered around Anthony Grazio a/k/a “Rock,” 53, of Smithtown, who acts as a “dirt broker” by arranging for locations where trucking companies could illegally dispose of solid waste. Grazio posted advertisements on Craigslist for “clean fill” for landscaping projects and solicited homeowners over the phone and in person for locations to use for dumping.

The material that was illegally dumped came from recycling and transfer stations located in New York City and Long Island, including Queens-based Durante Bros Construction Corp. It was then transported and dumped at the sites by trucking companies including DJCI Enterprises, Inc.; IEV Trucking Corp.; Kris Trucking Corp.; Modern Leasing, Inc. doing business as Dumpmasters; New York Trucking and Carting Corporation; NYTAC Corp.; ClairCo Industries, Inc., doing business as St. Clair Trucking; and Starfire Industries, Inc., doing business as Platinum Aggregates, Inc.

“During their phone conversations, Rock and the owners or operators of the trucking companies would discuss residential and commercial sites and the amount of material that could be dumped at a particular site,” District Attorney Sini said. “The bigger the property, the better for the defendants, as this scam was all about making money. When an ideal property was found, Grazio could often be heard directing his co-conspirators to ‘hit it hard.’ Grazio approved material being dumped at residential locations even when notified that material smelled like diesel fuel or had pieces of wood, asphalt, concrete, large boulders, or even glass contained in the material.”

Kris Trucking Corp. is alleged to have taken construction and demolition debris directly from construction sites in New York City and illegally dumped it at residential and commercial locations.

“They did this to make money, they did this to save on operating costs, and they did it at the expense of the health of our residents,” District Attorney Sini said.

DEC testing of the illegally dumped solid waste found that six of the locations contained acutely hazardous substances  and 17 of the locations contained hazardous substances under New York State Environmental Conservation Law. The acutely hazardous substances included aldrin, dieldrin and heptachlor, which are all pesticides. The hazardous substances included arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc and mercury, which are all metals.

Nineteen of the 24 locations are residential, four are commercial, and one is a school. The solid waste dumped at the school was immediately removed.

“It’s bad enough to dump solid waste and dangerous materials in someone’s front or backyards given the dangers that it poses to children and others,” District Attorney Sini said. “But what’s even worse here in Suffolk County is that we live on an aquifer where we get our drinking water, so when we deal with illegal dumping, there is also the potential for it to affect our water supply.”

The top count of the indictment is Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree, a D felony, which carries a maximum sentence of up to seven years in prison.

“Illegal solid waste dumping poses a serious threat to New York’s environment and burdens communities across Long Island,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Through Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has stepped up enforcement on unscrupulous businesses that continue this criminal behavior. By collaborating with partners like the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, New York will help put an end to potentially hazardous materials entering our communities.”

“This case sends a message that we will not tolerate the dumping of prohibited materials into our communities,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “Many of those who engage in illegal dumping do so because it is cheap, convenient and is perceived as the cost of doing business. The Suffolk County Police Department is committed to curbing such activity. We will not stop until we are able to apprehend those who are responsible for these crimes for financial gain. The Suffolk County Police Department is not only committed to serving our residents, but takes pride in working with our partners to protect the land that makes our communities such a great place to live and raise a family.”

The following defendants are charged by way of the indictment in connection with the illegal transport and dumping of solid waste:

 

  1.  Alberto Santiago, 49, of Shirley
  2.  Alex Bermeo-Bajana, 40, of Queens
  3. Alix Aparicio Gomez, 50, of Huntington
  4. Angel Cornejo, 47, of Queens
  5. Anthony Grazio a/k/a Rock, 53, of Smithtown
  6. Anthony Grazio Jr., 19, of Smithtown
  7. Carlos Melgar, 41, of Patchogue
  8. Cesar Ivan Bermeo, 33, of Queens
  9. Dwayne Sanders, 56, of Central Islip
  10. Edgar Mera, 48, of Queens
  11. Fausto De Los Santos, 21, of Queens
  12. Feliciano Cruz, 57, of Queens
  13. Frank Rotondo Jr., 47, of Miller Place
  14. Santos Ivan Delgado, 39, of Bay Shore
  15. James Perruzza, 18, of Northport
  16. James Williams,  56 of Copiague
  17. John Durante, 44 of Old Bethpage
  18. Jose Adamez, 51, of the Bronx
  19. Joseph Lamberta, 68, of Hauppauge
  20. Louis Durante, 46 of Queens
  21. Michael Heinrichs, 48, of Port Jefferson Station
  22. Milan Parik, 46, of Centereach
  23. Robert Hirsch, 43 of Commack 
  24. Robert Walter, 31, of Nesconset
  25. Steven Nunez Genao, 24, of Port Jefferson Station
  26. Thomas St. Clair, 51, of Saint James
  27. Vito Fragola, 44, of Commack
  28. Wilfred Torres, 44, of Ronkonkoma
  29. William Romero, 38 of Brentwood
  30. Yasmael Nunez, 48, of Queens

This case is being prosecuted by Deputy Bureau Chief Nicholas Mauro, who oversees the Enhanced Prosecution Bureau’s Electronic Surveillance Unit, and Assistant District Attorneys Luigi Belcastro, Laura Sarowitz and Adriana Noyola, of the Enhanced Prosecution Bureau.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Monday
Nov262018

Brentwood Woman Pleads Guilty To Helping ISIS

Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, of Brentwood, New York, pleaded guilty to providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. 

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. for the FBI’s New York Field Office, and Commissioner James P. O’Neill for the NYPD announced the guilty plea.  The guilty plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert.

According to court filings and facts presented at the plea hearing, between March 2017 and the date of her attempted travel to Syria on July 31, 2017, the defendant engaged in a scheme to defraud numerous financial institutions.  Specifically, Shahnaz obtained a loan for approximately $22,500 by way of materially false pretenses, representations and promises.  She also fraudulently applied for and used over a dozen credit cards, which she used to purchase approximately $62,000 in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies online.  She then engaged in a pattern of financial activity, culminating in several wire transactions totaling over $150,000 to individuals and shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey that were fronts for ISIS.

During the time she was committing bank fraud and laundering money overseas, the defendant was accessing ISIS propaganda online, including violent jihad-related websites and message boards, and social media and messaging pages of known ISIS recruiters, facilitators and financiers.  Additionally, the defendant conducted numerous internet searches for information that would facilitate her entry into Syria, but ultimately was intercepted by the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Queens, New York, while attempting to board a flight with a multi-day layover in Istanbul, Turkey – a common point of entry for individuals travelling from Western countries to join ISIS in Syria. 

As part of her plea agreement with the government, Shahnaz admitted to defrauding numerous financial institutions and laundering the stolen proceeds out of the country with the intent to support a specified unlawful activity, namely the provision of material support to ISIS, after which she attempted to leave the United States and travel to Syria. 

When she is sentenced, Shahnaz faces up to 20 years in prison, as well as restitution, criminal forfeiture and a fine.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.  Any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Mr. Demers and Mr. Donoghue extended their grateful appreciation to the FBI’s JTTF, which comprises a number of federal, state and local agencies from the region.

The government’s case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Artie McConnell of the Eastern District of New York and Trial Attorney Joseph Attias of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.