VILLA RICA, Ga. Oct 12 2011A popular Carroll County bank employee is scheduled to go before a judge Tuesday.
Consumer investigator Jim Strickland obtained a police report that said an internal audit at Community and Southern Bank in Villa Rica revealed fraudulent dealings.
“It was an employee. Her name is Sherri Hines,” District Attorney Pete Skandalakis said. An indictment accuses Hines, 40, of 13 counts of theft and identity fraud.
A long time bank employee, Hines is accused of skimming money from several accounts, and creating other accounts to cover the losses.
“It is a big case. I mean, $50,000 or $60,000 is a lot of money,” Skandalakis said.
No one answered when Strickland knocked on Hines’ door, despite two vehicles in the driveway.
Later in the afternoon, Strickland met Hines’ lawyer.
“She wants people to know that she’s not a thief. She did nothing wrong,” attorney Mac Pilgrim said.
Pilgrim said Hines had been terminated from the bank before the audit, and that the Department of Labor sided with her and granted unemployment benefits.
Pilgrim hinted that turmoil at a bank that’s seen three different owners in recent years could be part of his defense strategy.
“It’s been mass turnover, huge turnover at the top end, and we’re not sure if it’s an internal issue or if someone has framed her to make it look this way or if she’s being used as a scapegoat,” said Pilgrim.
Branch workers in Villa Rica refused to comment, and Strickland’s calls to management in Carrollton were not returned, but the bank released a statement saying, “Protecting our account holders’ information is of the utmost importance at Community & Southern Bank. We are committed to protecting the privacy and security of our customers’ personal and financial information. Accordingly, while we are assisting local authorities in working to resolve this matter, it is not appropriate for us to publicly comment any further. We are committed to delivering excellent service in all of the communities we serve.”
The prosecutor sees this as a case of a banker acting alone, bilking long-time clients.
“She was there for some time and had developed these friendships and relationships, and they trusted her, and she violated that trust,” Skandalakis said.
The sheriff’s department reports Hines is free on $25,000 bond.
LAS VEGAS NV Oct 12 2011 – Criminals have more to worry about than just being caught on camera. They could end up on the Internet.
Ryan Borcherds is co-creator of Crookstube.com. The site shows crimes caught on tape and is aimed at bringing suspects to justice.
“To me even if it just solves one, one a year – I don’t care if it’s petit larceny. I don’t care how small the crime is,” Borcherds said.
One surveillance video on the site depicts a murder in a North Las Vegas casino in 2006. The security footage from the Silver Nugget shows the killer in action. Years later, he’s still at large.
The site hosts more than 1,000 videos uploaded by users from around the country and a handful from Nevada.
“It’s either people turning them in to us or people uploading it themselves,” Borcherds said. “I’ve got some website marketing or Internet marketing. So, I’ve never actually bought a video sharing website in my life, and so this was just something I kind of learned along the way.”
The site is a side project for its creators, who say they do it all for free.
“To me, this should be a tool. Ultimately, what we would like to do is work completely in cohesion with the police departments,” Borcherds said.
Metro Police, which has its own channel on YouTube, says every little bit helps. Metro reminds people, however, any tips or video should be shared with them first.
“If you have something on video, it’s great that you then turn it over to police, so that it can help the investigator further the investigation that much more,” Metro Police Officer Jay Rivera said.
Crookstube creators hope to form partnerships with every police department. They know any exposure could help find a missing person or get killers off the street.
“We actually have had two cases we’ve directly been involved in that resulted in arrests,” Borcherds said.
Crookstube also allows users to set up local e-mail alerts. While Metro agrees more exposure could help close a case, it does not officially endorse the Florida-based website.
BLACKSBURG Va.Oct 12 2011 — Planes and helicopters are routinely used in law enforcement, but Virginia Tech’s Police Department is putting something a bit different up in the sky.
It’s not your typical police vehicle.
“It’s almost like being in a balloon,” said pilot Kevin Kochersberger. “It’s very slow and peaceful.”
It’s called a powered parachute. It looks similar to a dune-buggy, with an open seat and a small motor, except there is a parachute strapped on the back to make it fly.
“It’s fun, without a doubt,” said pilot Kenny Smith. “It’s almost like it’s not a job.”
The powered parachute was given to Virginia Tech through a grant from the Department of Justice. It will be used for both law enforcement and for research.
“I love flying,” said Smith. “I love being in the air.”
Virginia Tech Police Officer Kenny Smith is one of two police pilots. He’ll use the powered parachute for aerial surveillance, search and rescue, and crime prevention.
“It won’t be a tool that we can use every day, of course. It will be a call-out basis, as needed,” Smith explained.
Kevin Kochersberger will fly the aircraft for research. The mechanical engineering professor will use the powered parachute for testing things like 3-D cameras used for mapping terrain.
“In my case, I’ll be able to put imaging payloads on it and test the sensing capabilities that my lab is developing,” said Kochersberger, who works in the Unmanned Systems Laboratory at Virginia Tech.
Both pilots are still in training, learning to navigate the aircraft’s 30 miles an hour average speed, at altitudes of up to 10 thousand feet.
With just a few test flights under their belts, the pilots are already feeling confident in their newest high-flying tool.
‘You’re on a parachute,” said Smith about the aircraft’s safety. “So in all scenarios, if you’re engine goes out or anything like that, you’re not going to fall out of the sky. You’re going to glide down to the ground.”
The powered parachute should be in use around Blacksburg in the next couple of months.
WHEELING, W.Va.Oct 12 2011 — Police said a high-speed chase ended with a drunken driver jumping into the Ohio River.
John Rush, 48, of Wheeling was arrested and suffered minor injuries during the incident Sunday night.
Sgt. Scott Adams of the West Virginia State Police said the chase started in Wheeling when he noticed a green BMW swerving and speeding on the National Road in the Woodsdale area of the city.
Adams said the driver, Rush, picked up speed on Interstate 70 and exited at 16th Street. Adams said Rush continued driving and nearly struck a car on U.S. 250. Adams said he turned his lights and sirens on, but Rush crossed the state line into Ohio onto the Interstate 470 bridge.
Rush then headed north on state Route 7 into Bridgeport, then made a U-turn and started driving the wrong way on a ramp to Wheeling Island, police said.
“He stopped his car on the Bridgeport Bridge because I believe he saw Wheeling police officers coming at him in his direction,” Adams said. “I was behind him, Wheeling (police) were in front of him.”
Adams said Rush stopped his car and got out, but then he “ran around the front of it and jumped right off the Bridgeport Bridge into the back channel of the Ohio River.”
Rush suffered minor injuries and was transported to Ohio Valley Medical Center, where he spent the night.
Adams said Rush is facing charges of a third-offense driving under the influence, fleeing DUI, driving without the interlock system and numerous traffic offense.
Rush is expected to be released from the hospital Monday and booked into the West Virginia Northern Regional Jail.
BALTIMORE MD Oct 12 2011 – A Transportation Security Administration security officer is out on bail after he was arrested and charged with child pornography.
Michael Scott Wilson, 41, has been suspended from his job following the arrest.
Wilson was charged Monday with possession and distribution of child pornography after agents searched his Perry Hall home.
Neighbors said he’s married with no children. They said they’re stunned and disturbed by the charges, especially since most of them described Wilson as a straight-laced federal worker who took pride in his position and the trust that comes with it.
“As a parent, it’s disturbing to find out that someone is living so close, especially employed in his capacity,” said neighbor Malik Kelly.
“I travel sometimes twice a week, so to think that one of those screeners could live in your neighborhood and face charges like this is alarming. Definitely alarming,” said neighbor Brian Ryerson.
The TSA released a statement regarding Wilson’s arrest, saying, “The TSA holds its security officers to the highest professional and ethical standards and aggressively investigates allegations of misconduct. The allegations against this individual in no way reflect on the outstanding job our more than 50,000 security officers do every day to ensure the security of the traveling public.”
RICHMOND, Va.Oct 12 2011 (AP) – A Virginia State Police trooper is recovering after a driver hit his cruiser in a work zone.
Sgt. Thomas Molnar says 55-year-old Dianna Gilmore of Glen Allen was charged with reckless driving after hitting Trooper Joseph Brown around 3 p.m. Monday on Route 288 in Chesterfield County.
Brown was sitting in his cruiser inside a work zone with his emergency lights activated. Molnar says Gilmore struck Brown’s cruiser in the rear as she tried to exit onto Route 1.
Brown suffered minor injuries. He was transported to VCU Medical Center for further evaluation. Gilmore was not injured.
Both Brown and Gilmore were wearing seat belts. Molnar says both vehicles were a total loss.
The man who was carrying the .357 was trying to board a flight to Las Vegas. The gun had six rounds of ammunition and one in the chamber, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said.
Two days before the Saturday incident, a passenger going to Minneapolis was found with a loaded handgun in a carry-on bag.
“We’re not talking incidents that were potential threats,” Sea-Tac spokesman Perry Cooper said. “These were not people trying to do something with them, fortunately. But what it ends up doing is delaying the people behind them.”
More than 800 firearms have been found by Transportation Security Administration workers nationwide, Dankers said. Last year, TSA workers at Sea-Tac found 21 weapons at security checkpoints.
“Responsible gun owners should know where their guns are at all times,” Cooper said. “In this case, you should know how to pack them and the proper procedures to get through an airport. And there’s no problem when you know how to do that.”
Passengers are allowed to transport firearms on airplanes, but federal law requires they be unloaded, packed in checked baggage and declared to the airline. Realistic firearm replicas are also prohibited in carry-on baggage.
The TSA also encourages travelers wanting to transport firearms to check with their airline for possible additional firearm and ammunition policies. The man in the Saturday incident has not been charged.
“Hopefully,” Cooper said, “when word gets out that will reduce the numbers we see.”
FRESNO, Calif. Oct 12 2011 — A Fresno County jailor was arrested on charges of sexual contact with an inmate. Correctional Officer Akinsoji Okin was arrested Saturday after other inmates reported the behavior.
The officer is officially charged with sexual contact with a confined person along with other felony charges. The incident is alleged to have occurred on Friday night. After being questioned by detectives Saturday, Akinsoji Okin was arrested. He posted bail and no longer in jail.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said this kind of behavior will not be tolerated and she is pressing for prosecution. “It was important to take quick action. This kind of conduct is not to be tolerated. In fact he has been arrested. We will go going to the District Attorneys Office to request filing of felony charges against Okin.
The incident is alleged to have been witnessed by inmates, and captured on a security camera. It’s alleged to have occurred while the correctional officer was standing in the corridor, next to a cell door. He is alleged to have reached into the cell.
“The conduct included physical contact between the correctional officer and the inmate and it constitutes a felony charge,” said Mims.
Mims said it doesn’t matter if the inmate consented or not. Such incidents are seen as an abuse of authority. She is urging the District Attorney to file the strictest charges possible. “I’m disappointed because we hold our employees to a higher standard. However, they are human beings and whenever this kind of inappropriate incident takes place we need to hold our employees accountable and make sure that happens.”
Officer Akinsoji Okin goes by his middle name of Oscar. While he has been a correctional officer at the Fresno County Jail for six years, Action News learned he was fired from the Sheriff’s Department in 2006 shortly after he was stopped and by Fresno Police for picking up a prostitute. Police records obtained by Action News show he was given a citation but not arrested.
Okin was reinstated to his job in the jail in 2008 after he appealed his firing to the Civil Service Board.
Action News spoke with Okin by phone on Monday. He said he had nothing to say about the incident and is in the process of retaining a lawyer.
A club patron fired several time at the club’s bouncer, a 40-year-old man, outside the lounge.
Police say that the bouncer was shot in the chest.
He was treated at the scene by EMS and later listed in serious but stable condition. Police said the shooter was about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighed about 160 pounds, wearing a light-blue button-down shirt.
Police do not know what started the brawl.
WILLOWS CA Oct 12 2011 — Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones said a plan to consolidate patrols starting next week may leave the county without an on-duty deputy for brief periods each day, but he hopes it will improve service and safety.
He said the plan will remain in effect for up to three months, then be re-evaluated.
The success or failure of the experiment will be based on how many calls for service the office receives during early morning hours with no active patrol, Jones said.
With mornings becoming light earlier due to the upcoming time change, Jones said he hopes the call volume will naturally diminish somewhat.
Jones said two deputies will be on call to respond during no-coverage times, and will only be deployed to the most serious calls, including threats to life and felonies in progress.
Only one deputy will be on duty at certain other times.
Jones said they’ll be instructed to remain at the Willows office, or the sheriff’s substation in Orland, until called out.
Even then, Jones said, they’ll have to wait until an on-call deputy can arrive as backup.
Jones said there may be delays to some overnight and routine calls, but by making the changes, he said he hopes to have more deputies available to cover the busiest time, which is 6-10 p.m. each day.
He said his plan will lead to a “higher quality response” to incidents, better investigation of crimes, and greater safety for his deputies.
“In addition, we hope it will help us become more proactive, rather than just responding to calls as they come in,” Jones said.
Jones has lost two deputies recently who took higher paying jobs with other agencies. He said he is currently advertising to fill one vacant deputy position, but even with a patrol staff of nine, will still be 50 percent under full strength.
Monday was the last shift for Ronelle Knouse, a veteran deputy who took a job with Glenn County. Jones said he hates to see her leave, but on a bright note said her vacation and sick time will transfer over to her new job, and his office won’t have to cover the payout.
While the Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments in Willows and Orland rely heavily on each other for mutual assistance, Jones said it seems like his deputies are increasingly asked to back up city cops, who are also understaffed.
“If we lose another deputy, we’ll be in real trouble,” Jones said. “The Sheriff’s Office is traditionally the go-to law enforcement agency in rural counties,” Jones said. “It’s embarrassing that we aren’t able to respond to cover that need.”
Jones said would-be criminals who listen to scanners won’t be able to tell when deputies are going on and off duty, because it will be done by phone, rather than over the radio.
Law enforcement officials throughout Glenn County are betting K-9 units can take up some of the slack in patrol coverage.
Jones was able to hang on to his K-9 unit through recent rounds of brutal budget cuts. Willows has a police dog currently in training and possibly able to hit the streets by December. Efforts to raise money for the purchase of a police dog in Orland are nearing their goal.
Gilbert Cameron, a “special patrol” officer employed by the DA’s office, was found on a rooftop landing at 198 E. 161st St. with a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest, sources said.
A 911 caller reported the fatal shooting at about 12:30 a.m.
Police sources said that foul play was not suspected and that Cameron, 45, of Brooklyn, had apparently committed suicide.
Cameron’s sister, Karlene Cameron, also of Brooklyn, said her brother’s death was apparently unrelated to the massive ticket-fixing scandal currently being probed by Bronx prosecutors.
“I don’t think that anything about work was bothering him,” she said.
“He lost his wife over a year and a couple of months ago to ovarian cancer.”
The Jamaican native, who didn’t have any children, enjoyed watching action and comedy movies.
“He was quiet and kept to himself most of the time, apart from when he came here and had something to eat and we would talk and laugh,” his sister said.
Simi Valley CA Oct 12 2011 A high school science teacher in Simi Valley has been arrested for allegedly robbing a convenience store at knifepoint.
David Considine, 47, an employee of the Simi Valley Unified School District since August 2005, was arrested Oct. 6 in connection with the Sept. 29 robbery of a 7-11 store in Simi Valley, KTLA-TV reported.
Police say Considine took an unknown amount of cash from the store and fled in a vehicle. No one was injured.
He was being held at the Ventura County Jail on a charge of felony second-degree robbery, with bail set at $50,000.
Considine was placed on administrative leave, KTLA reported.
Sean Harris, 24, of the 4200 block of Lynn Ora Drive was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital, where he died about 9:45 p.m. Monday.
Auxiliary Trooper Tabbatha Nussbaumer was in the shower in her upstairs bathroom when her 9-year-old son told her a man he didn’t recognize was in the house, the Pensacola Police Department said.
When Nussbaumer left her bathroom, Harris was at the bottom of the stairs holding the bow and arrow, police said.
Nussbaumer said Harris asked for money.
In an effort to get Harris out the house, Nussbaumer told him she had money in her truck. As Nussbaumer went out the front door, Harris followed and removed his clothes, police said.
Nussbaumer’s truck was parked on the street.
Police said Nussbaumer removed a handgun from the truck, turned around, faced Harris, who was standing a few feet from her, and shot him as he walked toward her, police said.
When police arrived on Lynn Ora Drive, Harris was lying nude in the street.
He was shot once in the lower abdomen. An autopsy is set for today.
The Police Department’s investigation into the shooting is continuing.
Warren OH Oct 12 2011 Authorities in Ohio say that a security guard at a Warren elementary school who appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol was escorted off the premises last Thursday.
Police reports state that the man, who police nor school officials have not identified, smelled like marijuana, was staggering in a hallway and had a large knife in his book bag. It happened at the Willard K-8 school.
The report also states the man went to the cafeteria with children and was “in their faces to the point he was touching them constantly.” No drugs were found and the guard said the jacket that smelled like marijuana belonged to someone else.
No charges have been filed but police are investigating.
AlliedBarton Security Services teams up with DeVry University to offer employee programs www.privateofficer.com
Through this affiliation with DeVry and its Keller Graduate School of Management, employees of AlliedBarton are eligible for savings on tuition at one of the largest, private universities in the country.
“There are more than 95 DeVry campus locations across the United States and online courses are also available for our employees to take a variety of programs related to our industry or in other concentrations,” said Rich Cordivari, Vice President, Learning & Development, AlliedBarton Security Services. “This partnership is part of our ongoing effort to make higher education more accessible to all of our employees.”
DeVry University and the Keller Graduate School of Management are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. DeVry offers additional benefits and scholarships to AlliedBarton employees with military experience and their families.
AlliedBarton Security Services is the industry’s premier provider of highly trained, responsive security personnel. Client-focused security officers and managers located across the country are supported by national resources developed from over 50 years of security experience. More than 50,000 employees and 100 offices provide security for several thousand clients in many industries, including approximately 200 Fortune 500 companies. As the most honored security officer services company, AlliedBarton leads the industry in award-winning programs. AlliedBarton has been recognized by Training magazine, ASTD, Corporate University Xchange, Leadership Excellence and the American Business Awards, among others. For more information call 1.866.825.5433 or visit http://www.AlliedBarton.com .
Casino security-Atlantic City police to share radio communications/video feeds www.privateofficer.com
The sharing will be provided by a new interoperability system, called Mutualink, which will be deployed within each casino and will give responding law enforcement and other public agencies access to surveillance feeds and allow all parties to communicate over disparate radio systems.
Put simply, the system “provides a good highway system to move information around very quickly to participating partners,” Tom Gilbert, commander of the Atlantic City Tourism District for the state Attorney General’s office, told Security Director News. “The quicker you move that information the better, the more timely that information is the better. If you can accomplish that with an information network such as this, you can achieve real-time sharing of information, and that really is the optimal goal.”
The system will not provide local or state law enforcement with 24/7 access to the casinos’ security cameras, but will allow easy access when necessary. The cooperative agreements enumerate the circumstances during which sharing of video feeds will take place, whether during a weather emergency, a potential disaster, a barricaded subject, or an active shooter. “We’ve had these types of incidents on these properties,” Shep Stein, security director at the Trump Taj Mahal, told Security Director News. “You have multiple agencies responding and assisting all with their own radio systems. The Mutualink allows that interoperability between those radio systems, really by the push of a button.”
As an example, if the Taj Mahal experienced an event that required the response of police and other first responders, the casino’s security department can, using Mutualink, “invite them into our system,” Stein said. “We now are joining each other in radio communications, as well as video coverage, as well as cell phone coverage. So if I’m off property, they can call me, alert me to this event and I can be tied in through my cell phone and participate in the radio communication.”
The cooperative agreements and deployment of Mutualink at the casinos is part of a larger initiative–called “Eyes on Atlantic City”–to identify and leverage all the public and private video surveillance capabilities within the city to enhance public safety, said Gilbert. Atlantic City has unique challenges, according to Gilbert. It’s on a barrier island, surrounded on all sides by water. It has significant critical infrastructure and many locations in the city that are gathering points for large numbers of people, including the concert arenas, casinos, outlet center. “What we’ve tried to embark on is an all-crimes, all-hazards, all-threats, all-the-time doctrine that we’ve adopted at the state level,” Gilbert said.
Once the casinos are all tied into the Mutualink system, which will happen over the next seven to 11 months, Gilbert said other private entities will be brought on board, such as the convention center and the boardwalk. “This is essentially building a community of common interest in the public safety arena,” he said. “And what Mutualink allows us to do is bring information out to that community away from the site of an incident in real time and build a collective situational awareness and partnership in dealing with whatever the incident is at hand.”
According to a press release from New Jersey’s Attorney General’s office, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security Preparedness will fund the hardware purchase, installation and licensing of the Mutualink system through a $350,000 federal grant administered through the New Jersey State Police. Stein said after two years, the individual casinos will inherit the annual maintenance fees of the hardware. Given the relatively low cost to the private entities, Stein called the partnership a “no-brainer.”
When it comes to cooperation within the public safety arena, interoperability provided by Mutualink is the future, Gilbert said. “One of the major findings that came in the aftermath of 9/11 was the need for timely sharing of information and knocking down silos,” he said. “Mutualink is on point with achieving those goals.”
Northport AL Oct 12 2011 The Northport Police Department lost its police dog in a car crash Saturday night that also left the dog’s handler injured.
Officer Darren Miller and his dog Be-Low were en route to a stand-off on 60th Court when Miller lost control of his police cruiser on Alabama Highway 171. Be-Low was thrown from the car and later died at a veterinarian’s office, Northport Police Chief Robert Green said.
Miller and Be-Low, a dog trained to detect explosives and track suspects, had been working at the University of Alabama football game on Saturday. They were en route to a home where a man had barricaded himself in his attic after allegedly attacking his wife, Green said.
Be-Low had been with the department for about five years, and was known for his no-nonsense, aggressive but well-trained attitude.
“That dog did not play around,” Green said, after recalling stories of officers who had made the mistake of petting Be-Low’s back instead of sticking to his head.
A funeral at NPD headquarters is being planned, since Be-Low was killed in the line of duty.
Miller’s accident was the second time he has been injured while on duty. On Feb. 19, 2007, he suffered from broken ribs, a back injury and a concussion after he collided with a Jeep Cherokee at Clear Creek Parkway and U.S. Highway 43. He was out of work for around two years while he recovered, Green said.
Green, citing privacy concerns, did not describe Miller’s injuries from Saturday’s crash.
The man who had barricaded himself in the attic had assaulted his wife, Green said. The man’s eight-year-old son ran to a Northport Police sergeant’s nearby home for help. The officer witnessed the man choking his wife before the man ran inside the house. Officers searched the two-story house and eventually saw the man’s foot hanging from the ceiling entrance to the attic. He refused to come down for nearly three hours, Green said, but surrendered after officers used pepper spray.
“We didn’t know if he was armed or not when we went in,” Green said.
The man was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree domestic violence. He is accused of choking his wife and pushing his 12-year-old son who tried to stop him.
Green said that the department will try to find money in its budget to buy a new dog. The department bought Be-Low from a trainer in Germany for about $13,500, he said. Training and a special K-9 vehicle that has continuous air conditioning brings the total cost of a police dog to around $30,000, he said.
Marshall Dixon was arrested Oct. 3 at his home on suspicion of organized retail theft, trafficking stolen property and participation in a fraudulent scheme.
According to police, on several occasions and most recently Sept. 20, Dixon stole video games from the Walmart store, located at Deer Valley Road and Lake Pleasant Parkway, and then re-sold them to the GameStop store in the same shopping plaza.
The stolen games were valued at $1,700 dollars, according to a court document.
Dixon admitted to police that he stole the games to pay for gas, cigarettes and heroin, the filing said.
Police are still searching for two other suspects in connection with the case.
Police arrest 111 people including security agency owner in massive identity theft scheme www.privateofficer.com
The bust was the largest identity theft takedown in U.S. history, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
So far, police have arrested 86 individuals who were allegedly involved in the operation, while another 25 are being sought, the DA said.
“These weren’t holdups at gunpoint, but the impact on victims was the same,” city Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. “They were robbed.”
The operation was made up of five organized forged credit card and identity theft rings that were based in Queens, but had ties in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Members of the operation are accused of stealing the personal credit information of thousands of Americans and Europeans and costing them more than $13 million in losses over a period of 16 months, the DA said.
Nearly 25 of the defendants are charged in six indictments with participating in burglaries and robberies throughout Queens.
In one instance, four defendants have been charged with conspiring to rob a Flushing Savings Bank in Forest Hills, while another five have been charged with stealing more than $95,000 worth of cargo, which included power tool accessories and drill bits, from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Seven defendants are accused of stealing $850,000 worth of computer equipment from Long Island City’s Citigroup Building, the DA said.
“This is by far the largest—and certainly among the most sophisticated – identity theft and credit card fraud cases that law enforcement has come across,” Brown said. “Credit card fraud and identity theft are two of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, afflicting millions of victims and costing billions of dollars in losses to consumers, businesses and financial institutions.”
A number of the defendants busted in the ring are alleged to have gone on nationwide shopping sprees, stayed at five-star hotels, rented luxury automobiles and private jets and purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of electronics, handbags and jewelry with forged credit cards, Brown said.
It could take years for the identity theft victims to repair their credit ratings, he said.
More than 90 of the defendants have been indicted on charges of enterprise corruption under the state’s Organized Crime Control Act.
The crime ring operated between May 2010 and September 2011, defrauding thousands of customers and financial institutions, including American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover, the DA said.
The defendants are alleged to have fraudulently obtained credit card account numbers to manufacture forged credit and identification cards.
Once the cards were created, the defendants allegedly sent out teams of “shoppers” on purchasing expeditions in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Los Angeles and other U.S. cities, according to the indictments.
Then, the operation would fence or resell the items on the Internet.
During one instance, members of the operation allegedly rented a private jet to take them from New York to Florida and, in another instance, members stayed at Miami’s The Royal Palm and Puerto Rico’s El Conquistor, a high-end private villa.
An investigation into the group began in October 2009 when officers assigned to the NYPD’s Identity Theft Squad looked into an operation being run out of South Ozone Park.
During that investigation, thousands of conversations in Russian, Mandarin and Arabic were intercepted, the DA said.
The recent indictments charge that Imran Khan, Ali Khweiss, Anthony Martin, Sanjay Deowsarran and Amar Singh were the “bosses” of the operation, Brown said.
Individuals working at bars or restaurants in Russia, Libya, Lebanon, China would use skimming devices to swipe a customer’s credit card information.
The stolen account numbers would be sent to a “manufacturer,” who recoded the information onto the magnetic strips of blank credit cards and then created new cards. They are also alleged to have created fake government documents, such as driver’s licenses to match the credit cards, the DA said.
The enterprise targeted specific malls to carry out their shopping sprees, including the Queens Center Mall, the Americana Mall, the Roosevelt Field Mall and several other centers.
According to the indictments, some store owners and employees aided the shoppers, while one defendant, attorney Susan Persaud, allegedly advised the enterprise on how to evade law enforcement.
One defendant, security firm owner Nelson Feliciano, allegedly allowed members of the group to create a counterfeit credit card using his business account information, which was then used to make $50,000 in purchases, the DA said. He is accused of claiming the charges were fraudulent and that he was an identity theft victim.
Additional charges brought against the defendants include identity theft, grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument, petit larceny, criminal facilitation, conspiracy, criminal possession of stolen property and robbery.
The teenager and a 21-year-old friend, Chase Vinson, each been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, aggravated arson and theft exceeding $10,000 in connection to the shooting death of Gary and Tammy Moore.
The victims’ son’s name has not been released.
According to Linzy, Vinson and the 17-year-old robbed the parents in their home in the Cottontown area of rural Sumner County on Highway 25. They then attempted to set the house on fire and left in a stolen vehicle.
“Between the two, they had shot the parents and taken off with jewelry, guns and prescription medication,” Linzy said. “Then, they tried to set the bedroom, where the deaths were, on fire, and they had stolen the white pickup truck off the property.”
The 17-year-old was discovered in a vehicle at a nearby service station in Robertson County about 4:30 p.m. Monday.
An unknown person called the Robertson County Sheriff¹s office, and when the medical workers and a sheriff’s deputy responded, they found the teenager.
He was unresponsive and was transported to NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, Lt. Richard Head said.
“Once he was at the hospital, we found identification on him and contacted Sumner County Sheriff¹s Office to find the parents,” Head said. “That¹s what we do when you¹ve got a juvenile in the hospital that¹s unresponsive.”
Sumner deputies went to the home to do a welfare check and discovered the deceased couple.
Robertson County Sheriff Bill Holt confirmed that it is standard operating procedure to send a deputy to the scene of a medical call. Identification was found on the 17-year-old, and it was at that point that Sumner County was notified to find the parents or guardians.
Police took the 17-year-old into custody Monday night, and during the investigation, officers also arrested Vinson at his Cross Plains address at approximately 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Vinson is being held at the Sumner County Jail without bond and is scheduled to appear before Sumner County General Sessions Judge Jim Hunter on Nov. 9, according to jail records. The 17-year-old also remains in custody.
Officials expect to charge a third person, said Maj. Don Linzy, chief of detectives with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the investigation.
“We will have charges on another person who assisted the suspects after the murder,” Linzy said. “This is still an ongoing investigation.”
The Moores were not well known in the community, and at least two neighbors said they didn’t know the small yellow house was even occupied.
“It’s rural out here and sometimes people drive their cars too fast, but nothing like this happens,” said Deborah Payne, a resident from the group of homes nearest to the crime scene.
Her mother-in-law, Effie Payne, she can see the house in the winter when the trees begin to lose their leaves, and she was not aware that anyone was living there.
Cindy Harris, who works at the Sweet N Savory Diner, about a mile or two from the crime scene, didn’t know the family.
The home, painted yellow with green shutters and with a green door, is far back in the woods. A hose was in the garden near a patch of tomatoes, as if someone had stopped watering or was about to begin.
It happened just before noon Saturday, October 1 near the entrance of the store on Brightleaf Blvd.
Benjamin Moye, of Newport News, Virginia, allegedly told investigators he mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of the brake.
Moye’s Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck tore through the crowd at the store entrance.
Lois Shannon, 73, Debra Holmes, 53, and Jeanna Holley, 35, all of Smithfield, were taken to Johnston County Memorial Hospital.
Shannon later died. Holmes and Holley were released from the hospital two days after the crash.
Police said Moye was issued a criminal summons and released Tuesday. He is to appear in Smithfield District Court on November 8.
Queensbury woman faces felony charges in assault og hospital security, police officers www.privateofficer.com
Erica C. Curley, 31, of Manor Drive faces two charges of second-degree assault as well as lesser counts of resisting arrest, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment, Glens Falls Police said.
Police gave the following account of the incident:
Officers were flagged down by a man reporting that he was taking Curley, his girlfriend, to the Behavorial Health Unit of Glens Falls Hospital shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday when she got out of the car on Glen Street.
Curley was located a short time later, but fought with Glens Falls Police Officer Ryan Ashe, punching him and scratching his neck. Pepper spray was used to get her into custody.
When taken to the hospital, she punched a security guard, injuring him, and threw a phone at a nurse.
Curley was arraigned and sent to Warren County Jail for lack of bail.
Police say that they have arrested 19 year old Orlando Benedetto who was involved in a struggle with the officer on duty.
An ambulance was called and the security officer transported to a local hospital for treatment.
It’s not clear what led to that altercation but police say Benedetto was arrested on charges of assault on a security officer.
It’s not sure what injuries the security officer sustained or if anyone else was involved in the assault.
Police say that the driver of the vehicle identified as Yvette Jadine Smithen, 42, was charged with DWI.
A 4-year-old boy was in the car at the time.
Smithen had also been charged days earlier with resisting arrest after police came to her house where she was hosting a party.
Keith Moon, Gaston County DSS director and Smithen’s boss, said Smithen has been with the department for a month. Moon said Smithen reported the first arrest to him, as she was required to do.
Smithen, he said, wasn’t penalized at work for the first arrest, but Moon found the second charge more serious and said he’d investigate the matter before deciding what action Smithen might face.