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New York City Criminal Defense Law Blog

Definition of insurance fraud

According to state law, people can be found guilty of insurance fraud if they knowingly include any false information during the preparation or presentation of an insurance claim. However, New York residents may not know that insurance fraud may also include the purposeful concealment of any information used for an insurance claim. In these cases, false information or concealed information usually comes in the form of written statements.

People may also face insurance fraud charges for knowingly withholding information or including misleading information while applying for an insurance policy. This includes insurance policies dealing with private health care coverage or health care coverage sponsored by the government.

What are the penalties for burglary in New York?

In New York, burglary is considered a felony offense. A conviction on the charge of burglary may result in imprisonment for as little as one and as many as 25 years. However, the situation surrounding the burglary charge may affect the length of the sentence.

Burglary in the third degree, which involves entering a building with the intent to commit a crime within, carries the lowest possible penalties. This felony charge is often increased to second or third degree if the building entered is a home or dwelling or if a deadly weapon is utilized. Charges can also be increased if anything that appears to be a deadly weapon is displayed, including toys.

New York teen charged with DWI after school bus crash

According to the Ontario County Sheriff's Office, a 17-year-old driver was under the influence of drugs during an Oct. 15 accident involving a school bus. The 4 p.m. incident reportedly occurred on Trimble Road in Phelps.

According to deputies, the teen driver failed to obey a stop sign near State Road 488 prior to striking the school bus. Purportedly, the bus was transporting a girls' soccer team to play a game at Midlakes High School in Clifton Springs, and three of the bus' occupants required hospitalization as a result of the accident.

Man detained on drug and firearms charges

A 35-year-old New York resident was held in custody at the Otsego County Correctional Facility after a follow-up investigation led to drug and firearms charges. The narcotics unit of the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, the Oneida County Drug Enforcement Task Force and New York State Parole conducted a search of a Gray Avenue apartment in Utica on July 18. The investigation was prompted by a tip from the Otsego County Sheriff's Office that the accused possessed an illegal firearm inside his home.

Prior to this incident, the accused was under the New York State Parole's supervision. The investigation took place for approximately three months. On Oct. 9, the accused was indicted on charges that included criminal use of drug paraphernalia, criminal possession of a firearm and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. In executing the search, police claim to have recovered a small amount of marijuana, a loaded magazine of .45-caliber ammunition, dilutants and cutting agents typically used for making narcotics, a loaded Smith & Wesson .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and a digital scale.

New York City investigators bust 2 heroin rings

New York City authorities announced the bust of two drug rings Oct. 1. The two investigations led to nine arrests and the seizure of 55 pounds of heroin with a street value of $12 million.

The first drug ring involved the 42-year-old owner of a Queens trucking company and one of his employees. Police allege the owner sent one of his drivers, a 40-year-old man, to retrieve 15 kilos of heroin from Riverdale, California. Authorities, who had been tipped off to the plan, tracked the driver's journey and searched the truck when he returned. They reportedly found the drugs in a secret compartment of the vehicle. Both men were taken into custody on Aug. 26. They face conspiracy and drug possession charges.

Former lawmaker convicted for marriage fraud

On Oct. 3, a former New York State Assembly representative was convicted for charges of marriage fraud and hiding assets during a bankruptcy filing. The 47-year-old woman pleaded guilty to the fraud charges in June, but her lawyer and supporters asked the court for leniency. At the sentencing hearing, the judge reportedly disagreed with the validity of the defendant's explanation of why she had committed marriage fraud.

According to prosecutors, the Dominican Republic native allegedly paid a U.S. citizen $8,000 in 1996 to enter into a sham marriage with her. Afterwards, she had allegedly lied about the reason for the marriage when speaking with immigration officials. In letters that were presented to the court, the woman's supporters argued that her actions were common amongst immigrants hoping to live the American dream.

Psychiatrist in New York faces prescription drug charges

A 48-year-old woman has reportedly been charged with 15 counts of criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, and she faces up to five and a half years in jail for each count. The woman, who was arraigned in Suffolk County court, practiced psychiatry in Long Island and is accused of selling prescriptions for Xanax, Ritalin and other controlled substances.

An investigation into the woman's activities reportedly began after two families claimed that she was over-prescribing addictive controlled substances. The release also stated that the woman offered prescriptions for these types of drugs to undercover agents pretending to be patients who were seeking them illegitimately.

Man indicted for selling heroin while on probation

A New York man was taken into police custody and served with a grand jury indictment for allegedly selling heroin. The 51-year-old man is accused of selling the drug in Walton while on probation for a prior felony drug charge. Before he received his latest charges, the man was the subject of an investigation by the Delaware County Sheriff's Office for two and a half years.

After he was detained, the man was transported to the Delaware County Jail and held on a $40,000 bond or $20,000 cash bail. The sheriff's office stated that the man was charged for two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. If he is convicted for both of the charges, the man could spend a maximum of 24 years in prison.

Holder: US, New York public defense systems 'in a state of crisis'

In 2007, Kimberly H. visited her incarcerated husband. A registered nurse and mother of two, she was working both full-time and part-time jobs, caring for her 4-year-old and teenager, and providing post-stroke care for her mother. She had no criminal record but, whether through exhaustion or simple poor judgment, she brought about three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana to the prison for her husband, and she got caught.

Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor in New York, but bringing it to a correctional facility can get you charged with first-degree introduction of prison contraband, a felony. Kimberly was represented by a public defender but, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, that representation was grossly inadequate.

Her case should have been straightforward, because strong court precedent in New York allows felony contraband charges to be reduced to misdemeanors, virtually upon request, in cases like just Kimberly’s. Her public defender didn’t request that.

Several individuals detained during a New York drug investigation

A number of people in New York were arrested because of coordinated drug busts that occurred during the morning of Sept. 18. According to the attorney general, the state's organized crime taskforce worked on the 'Operation Horseback" investigation for nine months. Police allegedly recovered almost $1 million in cocaine and heroin, more than 100 OxyContin pills and three firearms while making the 34 arrests. The attorney general claims that several major traffickers and ringleaders were arrested in the operation.

A ringleader of a group consisting of 19 people, nine of which are related, was arrested in the operation. Three people were also charged for being major traffickers, a narcotic charge that could lead to life imprisonment in New York. The three defendants are suspected of leading the second drug ring, which consisted of 24 individuals. State and local police in Syracuse claim that 'Operation Horseback" was successful in dismantling two drug pipelines.