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Journal Archives

Cryptocurrency scammer who sold bogus digital 'coins' pleads guilty in securities-fraud-case

A Brooklyn businessman who tricked investors into buying cryptocurrency coins he claimed were backed by read estate and diamonds pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges Thursday.

Maksim Zaslavskiy, 39, marketed “RECoin” as “The First Cryptocurrency Backed by Real Estate,” and sold another currency, “Diamond” claiming it was “hedged by physical diamonds.”

Investors later learned there was no real estate backing RECoin, and no physical diamonds hedged Diamond, prosecutors said.

And the coins were also not backed by blockchain technology, which is used to securely record bitcoin transactions across a computer network.

Read more: https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-metro-cryptocurrency-scammer-guilty-20181115-story.html

With $32 billion in needed repairs NYCHA now faces possibility of federal receivership

Facing $32 billion in needed repairs and an ongoing criminal investigation, the nation’s largest housing authority now confronts the very real possibility of the “R” word — receivership.

This drastic remedy emerged in between the lines of Manhattan Federal Judge William Pauley III’s ruling Wednesday shooting down a proposed consent decree reached in June between NYCHA, Mayor de Blasio and federal prosecutors.

That decree called for the appointment of a monitor whose job would be to ensure NYCHA was in compliance with laws requiring apartments to be safe and clean. At the time, prosecutors filed a damning complaint detailing years of NYCHA lies and failures, and revealed they’d opened a criminal probe as well.

But the decree stated that the monitor would have had no involvement in NYCHA’s day-to-day operations and would instead have to rely on broadly-worded enforcement powers to get the authority to fall in line.

Read more: https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-nycha-federal-receivership-looms-20181115-story.html

Seven women sue Dartmouth, alleging sexual assault in 'Animal House' climate

Seven women accuse Dartmouth College in a lawsuit of allowing three prominent professors to harass and sexually assault students in a “21st-century Animal House” atmosphere.

For more than a decade, the lawsuit contends, female students in the school’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences “have been treated as sex objects by tenured professors Todd Heatherton, William Kelley, and Paul Whalen. These professors leered at, groped, sexted, intoxicated, and even raped female students.”

The lawsuit describes a culture in which well-regarded professors who helped build a powerhouse department at the Ivy League school acted with impunity and repeatedly mistreated students who were dependent on their academic support. It asserts that professors regularly held professional lab meetings in bars, invited students to late-night hot-tub parties, and conditioned academic support on participation in a hard-drinking party culture and tolerance of unwanted sexual attention.

“This was an open secret,” said Andrea Courtney, one of the plaintiffs, who earned her doctorate at Dartmouth. “This was happening in front of everyone, in the department, in the town of Hanover, at academic conferences -- these men had reputations as . . . gropers and predators. It was very widely known, yet no one in positions of power stepped up to do anything to change that.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2018/11/15/seven-women-sue-dartmouth-alleging-sexual-assault-animal-house-climate/

Long Islanders, Florida men laundered more than $3M in stock scheme, prosecutors say

Two Long Islanders and two Floridians were charged with defrauding often elderly individuals of millions of dollars by persuading them to buy price-manipulated shares with a Plainview boiler room, federal prosecutors said.

Jeffrey Miller, 63, of Bellmore; Mark Burnett, 59, of Roslyn; Christian Romandetti, 58, of Indialantic, Florida; and Frank Sarro, 63, of Palm Bay, Florida, were charged with conspiring to commit securities and wire fraud and money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“As alleged, the defendants conducted a classic pump and dump scheme designed to defraud the investing public, many of whom were senior citizens, by pressuring them to purchase shares of the manipulated stock,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement. An indictment was unsealed in federal court in Central Islip on Thursday.

Romandetti was the CEO of First Choice Healthcare Solutions Inc., based in Melbourne, Florida, according to prosecutors. He and the three other defendants, along with other individuals, are alleged to have carried out schemes with Plainview-based boiler room Elite Stock Research from May 2013 to June 2016.

Read more: https://www.newsday.com/long-island/crime/health-care-fraud-scheme-1.23472808

Lawsuit: In 'chilling' retaliation, university expelled women who reported sexual assaults

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, two former students claim they were expelled from Purdue University after the school couldn’t find enough evidence in their sexual assault reports.

The suit, filed under the pseudonyms of Mary Doe and Nancy Roe, claims that Purdue is working under a policy – “either written or unwritten” – in which “women who cannot prove their claims to the satisfaction of Purdue decision-makers face discipline up to expulsion.”

The women initially were expelled from Purdue, with their discipline reduced to two-year suspensions.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Indiana’s Northern District, names Purdue, along with Katie Sermersheim — Purdue’s dean of students, and Alyssa Rollock — vice president for ethics and compliance at the university.

Read more: https://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/nation/2018/11/15/purdue-accused-retaliation-sex-assault-reports/2020246002/

Ithaca auctioneer ordered to pay nearly $250,000 in restitution, fines

An Ithaca-based auction house has been ordered to pay nearly $250,000 in restitution and fines after the state Attorney General's Office obtained a judgment for failing to pay consignment fees to customers.

The judgment means Finger Lakes Estate and Auction, and owner Charles Dorsey must pay $237,739 in full consumer restitution for profits from sales of consigned items that were never paid, as well as $12,000 in civil penalties. The auction house also must retain a trustee to handle all of the money from future auction sales to ensure that the proceeds go to the consigning consumers.

“New York consumers rely on companies to be trustworthy and responsible,” said Attorney General Barbara Underwood. “No matter the industry, my office will continue to protect New Yorkers from businesses that defraud their customers.”

The Better Business Bureau gives Finger Lakes Estate and Auction an "F" rating. The company's profile lists eight unanswered complaints dating back to 2016, many of which allege mishandling of estate and consignment sales.

Read more: https://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/2018/11/13/ithaca-auctioneer-nearly-250-000-judgment-state-attorney-general-finger-lakes-dorsey/1991060002/

Alexandria Vs. Goliath? Ocasio-Cortez Calls Amazon Move To NYC Area 'Extremely Concerning'

No one can accuse Yorktown High School graduate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of not sticking her neck out, or taking the road less traveled.

The newly elected congresswoman, the youngest ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, said she opposes the state and New York City tax breaks being handed over to Amazon for creating a secondary headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.


She was not alone in her criticism of the Amazon headquarters' deal. New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson blasted the multi-billion taxpayer giveaway as being secretive and "fundamentally wrong."

Ocasio-Cortez, a political rock star who will now be a part of the new Democratic House majority, was not shy about expressing her concerns about the Amazon deal lauded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MYC Mayor Bill de Blasio during a Tuesday, Nov. 13 news conference.

Read more: https://yonkers.dailyvoice.com/politics/alexandria-vs-goliath-ocasio-cortez-calls-amazon-move-to-nyc-area-extremely-concerning/744546/

Legislative pay panel may enlist an attorney

ALBANY — A four-member panel of current and former comptrollers, tasked with deciding whether New York's 213 lawmakers, statewide elected officials and state department heads get a pay raise, may hire outside counsel to assist in the task.

Members of the New York State Compensation Committee, created by this year's $168 billion budget, outlined their objectives during the first committee meeting in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, before moving into a private executive session to discuss the "personnel" issue.

"We want to make sure we are doing things within the bounds of the law. To assist with that, we believe we need counsel," said SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman and former state Comptroller Carl McCall, who led the meeting. "If any decision is made, we will publicly report what that decision is."

The panel also includes state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Thompson, formerly New York City's comptroller.

Read more: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Legislative-pay-panel-may-enlist-an-attorney-13389112.php

Voting in New York poised for overhaul

ALBANY - Voting on the weekend could be coming in 2020 for New Yorkers.

An overhaul of the state's election procedures is expected to be one of the consequences of the Democratic takeover of the state Senate, which will likely be more receptive to proposed reforms that had passed the Democratic-controlled state Assembly, including early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and a single legislative primary date.

Progressive activists and Senate Democrats anticipate voting reforms will be near the top of the Legislature's agenda when state lawmakers return to Albany in January. Many of these proposals were held up in the state Senate's committee process during GOP control of the chamber.

Adding seven days of voting had been approved the last three years by the Assembly, and is supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, whose early voting language in the state budget was stripped away this year by Senate Republicans.

Read more: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Voting-in-New-York-poised-for-overhaul-13395424.php

New York's third parties plot their future

ALBANY - Ballots in New York are getting a shakeup.

As a result of last week's elections, the state's third-party landscape is shifting, with two new parties recognized, two recent creations put on life support and ballots getting reorganized.

Libertarian Larry Sharpe's 90,816 votes for governor put him more than 3 million votes behind Democrat Andrew Cuomo, yet he easily surpassed the 50,000 vote threshold needed for his party to earn a spot on the ballot for the next four years. Also bringing home the Election Day consolation prize for the first time was Stephanie Miner, who collected 51,367 votes for the Serve America Movement Party.

They join the ranks of the Democratic, Republican, Conservative, Working Families, Green and Independence parties, as recognized political parties in New York. The designation means they can nominate candidates for statewide offices without collecting signatures from voters, and have a lower threshold for fielding legislative candidates.

Read more: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/New-York-s-third-parties-plot-their-future-13391378.php
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