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New York City Criminal Defense Law Blog

New York man charged after flying personal drone near hospital

Many people have probably heard about the domestic drone debate. Some argue that personal drones may allow others to spy on or record individuals without their knowledge. One New York man found himself in trouble after he flew a drone to a distance of within 15 feet of a hospital examination room where it was seen by patients and hospital staff. Police later took him into custody and charged him with a felony after he posted the resulting video to his Facebook page.

The man claimed that his drone, a DJI Phantom 2, was unable to see anything through the hospital's tinted windows, indicating that no filming of any of the patients took place. He has since apologized and was released from custody. He was scheduled to face the felony charges later, though the date was not specified in the report.

Dermatologist accused of drug possession and fraud

A prominent New York dermatologist has been accused of writing fraudulent prescriptions. The doctor would allegedly write the prescriptions for current and former patients but pick them up herself while telling the pharmacists that she was receiving the medications on behalf of her patients. The patients whose names were used in the alleged fraud reportedly had no knowledge of the doctor's activities.

The accused doctor was taken into custody on July 9 and charged with fraud and criminal possession of narcotics. She was detained at her office on Park Avenue and released later without bail. According to a prosecutor who spoke at her arraignment, the dermatologist possessed amphetamines, Percocet and other drugs that were obtained using fraud. The alleged criminal activity took place over a three-year period.

Hospital executive faces charges for stealing painkillers

A 47-year-old man faces charges in connection with narcotic painkillers, valued at approximately $5.6 million, stolen from a New York hospital. The man was detained on July 8 for allegedly stealing 200,000 pills in a five-year period. In addition to grand larceny, he faces drug charges for the possession of oxycodone, a controlled substance. He has also been charged under the state's Drug Kingpin statute. Potential penalties in the case range from eight years to life in prison.

According to prosecutors, the man made fabricated entries into the inventory system for the medical facility indicating that pills removed from the site's medication vault were taken to the research pharmacy for the hospital. He also allegedly filled prescriptions in the name of his wife. A company merger brought the issue to light, and a tip resulted in an audit of the pharmacy. The investigation is ongoing as authorities are uncertain about what was done with the pills.

Owner of head shop empire faces synthetic drug charges

The owner of 12 head shops in New York and Maine is facing a maximum sentence of nine years in prison for allegedly selling synthetic drugs. The father of six pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, 2012 and has remained behind bars since April of 2013. His six felony charges include money laundering and a drug charge for possessing synthetic drugs that are chemically similar to a controlled substance.

Federal agents say they discovered synthetic drugs equal to 5,000 pounds of marijuana in the accused man's stores. Police also raided his home where they seized seven cars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. Since his arrest, the accused man's family has been forced to move out of their former home.

Construction companies investigated for safety reporting fraud

Two managers at Avanti Building Consultants in New York are being investigated for fraud, forgery and grand larceny after allegedly hiring unqualified workers to fill out safety logs. Four interns at the company have also been charged for their part in the alleged fraud. The vice president of another company, NYCB Engineering Group, is also being charged for hiring Avanti to complete safety inspections at its work sites.

According to the Department of Investigation, Avanti hired workers off of Craigslist to fill out safety logs. The workers were allegedly given no training and were referred to as interns. Investigators concluded that the interns forged safety logs at 40 different constructions sites. Suspicion of Avanti's safety records apparently began after an inspector found a safety log containing the forged signature of a deceased individual.

New York assemblywoman guilty in marriage fraud case

New York Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa has pleaded guilty to charges of marriage and bankruptcy fraud and has admitted to accepting an illegal campaign contribution. The charges surround accusations that she entered a false marriage in order to regularize her immigration status. She entered her plea in Manhattan Federal Court on June 27 in a plea bargain that left her facing 12 to 18 months' imprisonment and a fine of up to $30,000.

The Dominican-born assemblywoman, who represents Inwood, Washington Heights and Marble Hill, arrived in New York in 1994 and married her first husband in 1996. Ms. Rosa allegedly married that man, who was a U.S. citizen, exclusively for becoming a permanent lawful resident of the United States and paid him $8,000 for doing so. She divorced the man in 1999 and later married her current husband.

New York police believe 1 person behind 25 burglaries

On June 21, New York police reported that they believed the same person was involved in the robberies of 25 homes. The alleged thief was accused of stealing money, electronics and jewelry from residences in College Point, Queens.

The spree was believed to have begun on March 4. Ten homes were reportedly burglarized by the end of March. Six homes were believed to have been burglarized in April, and six homes were believed to have been burglarized in May. As of the time the report was released, three homes were reportedly burglarized in June. According to police, the burglaries usually occurred during the daytime, and the suspect usually entered the target home through a backdoor or window.

Rapper claims that song lyrics should not be taken literally

On June 19, a New York City resident accused of murder explained that rap videos showing him talking about drugs and rival gangs were intended as entertainment and should not be used as evidence during his trial. The 32-year-old man previously spent six years in jail following a conviction for a felony offense. In prison, the man decided to turn his life around, and he used his experiences in jail as the foundation for his career as a rap artist. After he was accused of murder, prosecutors sought to introduce the man's rap videos as evidence that he committed the crime.

This example is the latest in a series of cases where prosecutors have sought to introduce rap lyrics as evidence. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the lyrics have been admitted in approximately 80 percent of the 18 cases tracked.

2 men in New York accused of running a homemade meth lab

On June 19, police detained a 39-year-old man and a 37-year-old man on drug charges after local and federal officials searched a Lancaster home. Law enforcement officials allege that the two men were running a meth lab out of the Field Street residence.

Officials reported discovering several items from the residence's trash consistent with makeshift meth labs, including lighter fluid, plastic laboratory bottles, empty drainer cleaner bottles, an empty cold pack and rubber tubing. Moreover, officials reportedly found pseudoephedrine packaging.

Fatal New York accident results in drug charges

The driver of a vehicle involved in a Staten Island pedestrian accident has been taken into custody on drug charges. Around 1:40 p.m. on June 9, a 23-year-old Lighthouse Hill man was driving a southbound Honda Accord in Great Kills where two pedestrians were walking on the sidewalk. According to reports, the Accord jumped the curb and struck both pedestrians.

One of the pedestrians, a 31-year-old woman, died at the scene. Her cousin, a 20-year-old woman, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Staten Island University Hospital. Police claim that the driver was in possession of two small packets of a substance believed to be heroin. They also say that they allegedly discovered a spoon and tourniquet in the driver's vehicle. The man was subsequently taken into custody and faces charges related to drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additionally, he was charged with operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license.

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