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New York City Criminal Defense Law Blog

Man who previously defrauded stars admits new fraud

According to federal court documents, a man who once spent two years in prison for defrauding Hollywood celebrities out of more than $10 million was sentenced for committing a new fraud in New York on Dec. 11 in U.S. District Court. Documents indicate the man pleaded guilty to $10,000 in credit card thefts earlier in the year.

The man allegedly used a credit card belonging to a person who had invested in a play for which the man had been working. He then reportedly racked up charges using the victim's card before being caught. Charges on the card were reportedly made for liquor, food, air travel, moving expenses and dental work.

Drunk driving violations in New York

Motorists in New York may benefit from learning more about the penalties associated with drunk driving violations. The state assess a driver's level of impairment based on gender, body weight, time of consumption, amount of alcohol consumed and amount of food consumed with alcohol. In New York, alcohol and drug-related violations may include zero tolerance law, chemical test refusal, driving while ability impaired charges, aggravated driving while intoxicated and driving while intoxicated.

On average, the human body processes approximately one drink per hour. Commercial drivers who register a blood alcohol content level of .04 percent and motorists who register .08 percent may be convicted of DWI. The first DWI or driving while impaired on drugs charge has a maximum penalty of up to $500 to $1000 in fines, up to one year in jail and a six-month license suspension. A subsequent charge within 10 years may warrant $1000 to $5000 in fines, up to four years in jail and a one-year license suspension.

New York man charged with DUI

Broome County sheriff's deputies were called to a Baker home near Joyner Road when the homeowner found a truck parked on his front lawn. The homeowner told authorities that the man inside the truck was unconscious.

When the deputies arrived at the home, the man in the truck began to rouse and allegedly admitted to operating the vehicle. Officials reported that they administered a pre-screening device that reportedly indicated that he had been drinking.

Man accused of DWI after police find him asleep in traffic

A 39-year-old man was accused of drinking and driving on Nov. 27 in New York after he failed to keep up with traffic. The report stated that the man, from Allentown, Pennsylvania, fell asleep while traveling on the West Share Expressway while heading towards New Jersey.

A spokesperson for the Port Authority claimed that an officer approached the sleeping man's vehicle after other vehicles began to pass it. The officer stated that the man's cup holder was holding an open can of beer. When the authorities had the man exit his vehicle, they smelled alcohol on his breath and observed him swaying. At this point, they reportedly conducted a series of field sobriety tests on the man before taking him into custody.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade protest leads to arrests

Officers with the New York Police Department took six protesters into custody shortly prior to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 27. Five were detained on charges of disorderly conduct, while the sixth received the charge of unlawful assembly. The NYPD issued a summons for a seventh protester on the charge of disorderly conduct as well. The individuals detained were protesting the Nov. 24 grand jury's decision not to indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer for the lethal shooting of an 18-year-old on Aug. 9.

The incident comes on the heels of much larger New York City protests on Nov. 24 and 25 involving thousands of individuals. The NYPD took 10 protesters in Times Square into custody on Nov. 25 and planned to oppose protests during the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Protesters allegedly organized Thanksgiving Day protests on social media sites with the hashtags #stoptheparade and #handsupdontshoot.

Man sentenced to 3-9 years in prison for DWI, manslaughter

A New York judge sentenced a 31-year-old man to between three and nine years in state prison on Nov. 24 for his role in a 2013 alcohol-related accident that claimed the life of a 19-year-old woman. The man accepted responsibility for his actions and told the judge that he hoped his experience would deter others from drinking and driving. He was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and DWI.

The drunk driving accident occurred in November 2013 on Interstate 490 between Child Street and Ames Street in Rochester. Police claim that the man was driving without headlights and in the wrong direction when he struck an oncoming vehicle head-on. Emergency services personnel pronounced the driver of the oncoming vehicle dead at the scene.

What is a Ponzi scheme?

In New York and other major financial sectors in the U.S., some investors may be accused of trying to lure other investors into a fraudulent investment plan called a Ponzi scheme. Through such a scheme, an investor persuades individuals to place their money into low-risk, high-return funds. Then, to make it appear as though there is a successful return, the person will use some of the money to pay existing investors.

The infamous fraudulent investment activity traces its roots to a scam artist named Charles Ponzi, an investor who lived in America during the early part of the 20th century. Promoting a false postage stamp investment plan, he tricked thousands of New England investors into contributing money to his plan, promising them that they would receive a 50 percent return in only three months. As a fa├žade to give a sense of legitimacy to his scheme, he purchased a small amount of international mail coupons while carrying on his false allegations of successful returns.

'Cake Boss' star arrested for DWI in Manhattan

"Cake Boss" star Buddy Valastro was taken into police custody on suspicion of DWI in New York on Nov. 13. He was charged with three misdemeanor counts of drunk driving.

According to the New York City Police Department, Valastro, 37, was pulled over because his yellow 2014 Chevy Corvette was allegedly seen swerving on 10th Avenue near Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen at around 12:30 a.m. Officers said the television personality appeared unsteady on his feet, had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol.

2 men face drug charges after traffic stop

Two men in New York received drug charges after they were pulled over in a traffic stop on Nov. 13. According to New York State Police, a 30-year-old man was driving a pickup truck with a 20-year-old male passenger when he was stopped in Rochester. Authorities allegedly found a backpack in the truck that contained nearly 200 bags of suspected heroin.

Police allegedly conducted the nighttime traffic stop because the accused driver did not use a turn signal and his truck did not have a license plate lamp. As a result of the drugs that were found, both occupants of the truck received a drug charge for possession with intent to sell. When asked, an attorney for one of the men refused to comment about the charges.

What types of alcohol and drug violations are there in New York?

The State of New York has taken a firm stance against drunk driving by imposing severe penalties for those found guilty of this crime. The penalties can include fines of up to $10,000 along with the suspension or revocation of driving privileges and possibly jail time. With steep penalties in place for the crime, it is important for all drivers to understand what the different DWI violations in the state are.

The zero tolerance law pertains to drivers below the legal age of 21 who drive with a .02 percent blood alcohol content or higher. There is also a chemical test refusal charge for any driver who refuses to undergo a breath, blood or urine test. Either of these charges may result in a license suspension or revocation and civil penalties between $125 and $500.