5 Are Charged in Alleged Schemes at Agency on Housing

June 6, 2012

The New York Times on June 5, 2012 released the following:

“By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN

By the time Wendell B. Walters, a former top official at a New York City agency that builds affordable housing, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in March, he was known to be cooperating with the F.B.I. and federal prosecutors.

On Tuesday, details of what Mr. Walters has so far told the authorities began to emerge, as federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged five more people in bribery and kickback schemes involving the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where Mr. Walters was an assistant commissioner until last year.

The charges provide further details about the $2.5 million in bribes and other benefits Mr. Walters has pleaded guilty to accepting, and also assert that he was not the only corrupt official with oversight of the city’s affordable housing program.

A criminal complaint charged one Brooklyn contractor, Panayiotis Papanicolaou, who had received contracts for several Department of Housing Preservation and Development projects, with paying $12,390 to send Mr. Walters on a honeymoon trip to Greece. A real estate developer, William B. Clarke, subsidized $50,000 worth of renovations to Mr. Walters’s home, according to a second criminal complaint, which charges that Mr. Walters promised to help Mr. Clarke’s company secure subsidies for an affordable housing project in the Bronx in return.

Prosecutors also charged a current department official, Michael Provenzano, 49, with receiving a $10,000 annual retainer between 2004 to 2009 from a contractor who wanted inside information from the agency. Mr. Provenzano supervised the inspectors who visit work sites and began providing the contractor with paperwork from the agency’s site inspections, prosecutors said.

This allowed the contractor to tailor his payrolls to match what the housing agency had observed at the job sites, prosecutors said. In fact, prosecutors said, laborers at the contractor’s job sites were routinely paid less than the required prevailing wage, and the remaining money was used to hire illegal immigrants.

Prosecutors also charged a housing official who left the agency earlier this year, Luis Adorno, 48, with participating in a kickback scheme.

The five criminal complaints unsealed against the various defendants on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn do not mention Mr. Walters by name. But several of the complaints mention a cooperating witness who appears to be Mr. Walters; the witness is described as someone who began working at the housing agency in 1998 and rose to the level of assistant commissioner before pleading guilty this year.

“Instead of fulfilling their charge to create affordable housing for deserving New Yorkers, these defendants looked for ways to line their own pockets,” the United States attorney in Brooklyn, Loretta E. Lynch, said in a statement. The five defendants were in court on Tuesday afternoon and entered pleas of not guilty, Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office, said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Indictments brought against suspect in Queens mosque, temple attacks

March 20, 2012

CNN on March 19, 2012 released the following:

“By Kendall Green, CNN

New York (CNN) — Authorities on Monday unsealed parallel indictments against Ray Lazier Lengend, who is accused of firebombing a mosque and a Hindu temple in Queens in January.

The seven-count federal indictment and 36-count state indictment charge Lengend with hate crimes and explosives offenses.

“Hate crimes offend the very principles upon which this country was founded, and those who engage in such conduct will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This defendant allegedly sought to fan the flames of ethnic and religious tension. Those flames will always be extinguished by the rule of law,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch.

The 40-year-old unemployed tow-truck driver, who confessed to a firebombing spree on New Year’s Day, is no stranger to confinement.

New York City police said Wednesday that Lengend had been arrested at least six times before they detained him in connection with a series of attacks that spanned two neighborhoods in the city.

Police say the attacks are thought to stem from a list of grievances he tallied against his alleged victims over the course of a few years. The gripes range from Islamic center personnel refusing him use of their bathroom to a grocer who caught him stealing.

Police accuse Lengend of filling Frappuccino bottles from Starbucks with an accelerant and flinging them against buildings and residences in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, as well as against the home of one of his relatives living in neighboring Elmont, on Long Island.

But one of the attacks, targeting a Hindu temple, was actually the result of a wrong address, authorities later reported.

Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne added that Lengend, who had “a gripe with someone at each location,” was taken to Bellevue Hospital because he was demonstrating what police described as irrational behavior.

A dramatic video released by police two days earlier showed a person lobbing a flaming object toward a building, and a fiery explosion erupting an instant later.

No injures were reported in any of the incidents.

Authorities say they found Lengend by way of a stolen car with Virginia license plates spotted near at least one of the attacks.

The Buick, which police believe he stole from a rental car lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 30, may have been used to flee the scene following the bombings.

Prior to the New Year’s charges, Browne noted, the most serious charge lodged against the Queens resident occurred in 2009 over the alleged possession of a loaded firearm in Long Island’s Nassau County.

Lengend is currently jailed on Rikers Island, according to spokeswoman for New York City Department of Corrections. He will be arraigned March 26 at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse.

Lengend is charged with arson as a hate crime, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child and other charges, according to a press release from the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, Lengend faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Lengend’s lawyer, Kenneth Dean, could not be reached for comment.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.