What’s News, Breaking: Friday, December 2, 2022
WOMAN SOUGHT IN CHEMICAL BURN ATTACK: Police ask the public to help identify a woman who splashed a chemical substance in a commuter’s face early this morning (Friday, December 2) at the Nostrand Avenue/Winthrop Street subway station, within the 71st Precinct. A 21-year-old woman was standing on the southbound 2/5 train platform when the unidentified woman assailant instigated a verbal dispute, followed the victim up the stairs and then splashed the chemical on the victim’s face.
The victim was removed to NYC Health & Hospitals/Jacobi in critical but stable condition with burns to the left side of the face.
NYPD’S JEFFREY MADDREY PROMOTED TO CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT: NYPD’s Jeffrey B. Maddrey, who has most recently served as Chief of Patrol, on Friday was promoted and named as the Chief of Department as part of Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell’s sweeping appointments of several NYPD commanders to new leadership positions within the Department’s executive team. Chief Maddrey, a 31-year veteran of the NYPD, with this promotion becomes the agency’s highest-ranking uniformed officer and the four-star leader charged with overseeing the Department’s crime-fighting strategies and implementing its operational plans.
The Commissioner has also begun the first of a number of planned moves to consolidate and streamline the organizational structure of bureaus within the Department to achieve maximum efficiency and an effective use of resources.
SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS FOR $18 MILLION HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME: Two New York diagnostic testing facility owners were sentenced today to three years in prison for their roles in a more than $18 million health care fraud scheme. Court documents show that Tea Kaganovich (50), and Ramazi Mitaishvili, (62), a married couple who co-own several diagnostic testing facilities in Brooklyn. The couple paid over $18 million in kickbacks for the referral of beneficiaries who submitted themselves to diagnostic testing and other purported medical services, and falsely reported these payments as business expenses, claiming deductions to which they were not entitled.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program.
NYU BUYS 3 METROTECH CENTER TO EXPAND TANDON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING’S PROGRAMS: New York University has purchased 3 MetroTech Center, a 350,000-square-foot building adjacent to NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. The purchase, which NYU President Andrew Hamilton announced yesterday, will support an ongoing $1 billion investment in Tandon to significantly advance engineering at NYU by recruiting 40 new full-time tenure-track faculty, fueling groundbreaking research, and growing and modernizing its Downtown Brooklyn campus.
The funding will enable basic and applied research in key interdisciplinary areas of global import — secure wireless ecosystems and supply chains, health engineering, sustainable engineering, and data science to improve the human condition.
GUN TRAFFICKING TAKEDOWN YIELDS RECOVERY OF 57 FIREARMS: Three individuals have been charged in a 438-count indictment for their role in a gun trafficking operation that illegally sold 47 firearms, including ghost guns which were shipped to New York and Pennsylvania from various online retailers, New York Attorney General Letitia James and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force announced yesterday. Devon Smith-Martin, Fritz Pierre-Louis, and Hakeem Solomon are charged with trafficking numerous ghost guns — weapons without serial numbers or other identifying markers — including assault weapons, machine guns, and semiautomatic pistols — as well as sold rapid-fire modification devices, silencers, high-capacity magazines, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
The sting, which led to the recovery of 57 firearms, 51 of which were ghost guns, was the result of a six-month joint investigation between the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, consisting of agents and officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), New York State Police (NYSP), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
CONGRESS VOTES TO END RAILROAD LABOR DISPUTE, ENFORCE AGREEMENT: The Senate on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to impose a labor agreement between rail companies and their workers, and worked with alacrity to prevent a strike that would have crippled shipping and supplies during the holiday season. This marked the first time since the 1990s that Congress has used its power under the Constitution’s commerce clause, allowing it to intervene in a national rail labor dispute.
As of press time, President Biden was expected to sign the bill.
FEDERAL APPEALS COURT NIXES ROLE OF SPECIAL MASTER IN JUSTICE DEPT. PROBE: A federal appeals court on Thursday has cleared the way for the U.S. Justice Department to continue investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents, according to a New York Times story that broke Thursday night. The decision centered around the appointment of a special master, Brooklyn federal judge Raymond J. Dearie, to conduct an independent review of the documents seized in the August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago. The U.S. Court of Appeals’ 11th District three-member panel ruled in strong terms that “the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction, and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required.”
The Times article pointed out that two of the three judges on the Appeals Court panel are Trump appointees.
JUDGE SUSTAINS KEY PARTS OF CONCEALED CARRY GUN LAW: A federal judge in New York City on Tuesday maintained key portions of New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act on Tuesday — including the requirement that applicants provide their social media accounts, character references, and complete an enhanced 18-hour level of training in order to be licensed. Judge Lorna Schofield of the U.S. District Court-Southern District of New York ruled against Jonathan Corbett, a part-time Brooklyn resident who had sued New York State to toss the above-mentioned segments, on the grounds that his argument lacked standing because law took effect before he applied for his gun license, according to news reports.
Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James released a joint statement on Thursday (excerpted here) on Judge Schofield’s decision, saying “Challenges to New York’s gun laws undermine public safety and increase the presence of guns in our communities. We will continue to fiercely defend the constitutionality of our laws and protect New Yorkers from these baseless attacks.”
FEDERAL CONVICTION IN BRIBERY AND DRUG SMUGGLING CASE: Today, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted James Albert of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances while he was incarcerated at the George R. Vierno Center at Rikers Island. James Albert was part of a scheme to bribe correction officers to smuggle illegal drugs and other contraband into the jail for sale to other inmates.
The verdict followed a four-day trial before United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, during which the government’s evidence included testimony from Patrick Legerme, a former New York City Correction Officer who accepted bribes from Albert to smuggle marijuana into the jail.
MTA TO RECONFIGURE BROOKLYN BUS NETWORK: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on Thursday released a draft plan for the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign to create a modern bus network that, based on commuter feedback, will better meet the needs of Brooklynites’ travel patterns. The first overhaul of Brooklyn bus service in decades, the redesign seeks to expand all-day service, and proposes 69 local routes and 19 express routes, for a total of 88 routes, representing an increase from the 62 local and nine express routes that operate currently.
The redesign would create four new proposed routes, B40 Rush, B53, B55 Crosstown (between Brooklyn and JFK Airport) and B66 would operate 24 hours during the weekday; and several other routes would be re-aligned.
GEAR UP GRANT OFFERS COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS: New York State was awarded a $28 million, seven-year Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase college and career readiness for more than 6,200 low-income students, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday, December 1. Students beginning in 7th grade through their freshman year in college will have access to support services, including tutoring and homework assistance, academic counseling, mentoring, college and career counseling, financial literacy, college tours, and summer academies to help them enroll and succeed in college.
This grant marks the fourth consecutive GEAR UP award that New York State has received and one of only two GEAR UP states funded in 2022 by the U.S. Department of Education.
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