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New York City Criminal Defense Law Blog

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.

Making a terroristic threat can bring a felony charge

Under New York State law, a person could receive a felony charge for making a terroristic threat regardless of whether or not they had the intention or capability of carrying through with the actions specified in the threat. A terroristic threat is a threat that is used to coerce or intimidate a civilian population or government and, in some cases, influence government policy.

In order to be charged for making a terroristic threat, the defendant must have threatened to commit a specific offense. The threat itself would in turn cause a reasonable person to expect or fear that the offense would be carried out. An example of a terroristic threat could be a threat to murder, kidnap or assassinate an individual that is made with the intention of influencing the conduct of authorities.

What is the definition of drug trafficker in New York?

Like most other states, New York has varying levels of charges for selling drugs. Those charges largely depend on the amount of drugs sold over a certain period. Perhaps the most serious charge is that of trafficking. In New York, a conviction for operating as a major trafficker is a class A-I felony. That means it carries a sentence of between 15 and 25 years in prison.

What makes a trafficking different from other drug charges? There are a few important distinctions. To be considered a controlled substances trafficker, an accused must meet one of three criteria. The first is that he or she must be the director of a controlled substance organization. That organization must have sold at least $75,000 worth of controlled substances over a 12-month period.

Woman charged for drunk driving twice in the same day

On Oct. 25, a 26-year-old New York woman was charged twice for drunk driving in a span of three hours. When she was pulled over the first time, the woman had reportedly just left a Halloween party and was driving in the dark with no headlights on.

After police conducted the first traffic stop on Buffalo Road, the woman's blood alcohol content was determined to be .11 percent. The woman was picked up by a friend after receiving a DWI charge. Just under three hours later, police stopped the accused woman for drunk driving a second time. This time, her blood-alcohol content was found to be .09 percent, still over the legal limit of .08 percent. She received another charge for DWI.

Police search for 1 man ends with 3 people in custody

Three people in New York received various drug charges while authorities were executing an arrest warrant for one man on Oct. 20. According to a media release from the New York State Police, troopers were looking for a 27-year-old man when they visited the home of a 37-year-old man in Plattsburgh. As a result of what was found in the residence, both men and a 23-year-old woman were all taken into custody.

When troopers visited the home on Rugar Street, they allegedly discovered hypodermic needles and several alleged precursors to meth, including Sudafed and ammonium nitrate. All three of the individuals were arraigned at Town of Plattsburgh Court for a drug charge of unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine in the third degree, unlawful possession of marijuana and criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree as well as various counts for criminal possession of a controlled substance. The accused woman received an additional charge for criminal tampering with physical evidence.

Man charged for felony after making suicide threats

On Oct. 22, a 25-year-old man in New York was taken into police custody after his mother reported that he was threatening to kill himself. Before the man was handed a felony charge for tampering with physical evidence, a standoff had reportedly taken place at his apartment the night prior. The standoff lasted several hours, was conducted by multiple agencies and involved the use of the bomb squad's remote-controlled robot.

After reports came in about an armed man who was talking about committing suicide, officers visited the man's apartment in the Town of Union. Believing that the man was on the second floor, officers tried to negotiate with him. When they heard no response, a remote-controlled robot was sent up into the apartment, and officers determined that the apartment was empty.

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.