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New York City Criminal Defense Law Blog

False memories may convince innocent people that they're guilty

When New York residents hear or read about certain cases where individuals either plead guilty or are convicted of a crime, they may believe that the accused person actually did commit the crime. However, it was reported on Jan. 15 that research indicates that some adults can be convinced that they committed the crime even though they were completely innocent.

The researchers involved in the study used university students in Canada as their subjects. The students' caregivers provided the researchers with a list of events that the students experienced between the ages of 11 and 14. Sixty of the students who had not been involved in any of the crimes were picked to be targets for the false memory experiment. They were then subjected to three 40-minute interviews that were held one week apart from each other. In each case, the students were told about a number of events that occurred in their childhood, though all but one of the events never actually occurred.

Banks may face charges for mortgage securities

The attorney general in New York says that he is aggressively taking action against banks that sold mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial meltdown. He says that the Martin Act gives the state the authority to pursue cases involving fraud. So far, claims have been made against Barclays Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG as well as Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

Bank of America, Citigroup and Chase are the three largest U.S.-based banks while Barclays and Creidt Suisse are two of the largest international banks. In December 2014, a judge rejected a claim by Creidit Suisse to have the case against it dismissed. A compliant filed against the bank alleges that investors were misled regarding the safety of $11.2 billion worth of mortgage-backed investments.

New York woman charged with DWI after drinking vanilla extract

On Jan. 5, a Seneca Falls woman was taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving after she allegedly drank two small bottles of pure vanilla extract and became lost in a Walmart parking lot. Police said her blood alcohol content level was more than three times the legal limit.

According to authorities, the 46-year-old woman was discovered driving erratically around the Macedon Walmart parking lot. She stated to police that she was lost and could not find her way out. She had been in Lyons and was attempting to return to her home in Seneca Falls.

3 Dunkirk residents charged in methamphetamine drug bust

A Jan. 6 arrest in New York left three people with charges of unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, criminal weapon possession and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. The two men and one woman were taken into custody at approximately 8:30 p.m. while staying at an apartment on Lake Shore Drive West.

Police first obtained a search warrant before entering the apartment complex where methamphetamine manufacturing and packaging equipment was allegedly found. Police also entered the apartment in order to serve an arrest warrant from the City of Dunkirk.

Police accuse son of shooting father

New York police have taken a 30-year-old man into custody following a shooting that occurred in Manhattan. The deceased, a 70-year-old hedge fund founder, was reportedly killed on Jan. 4, and the accused is said to have been his son.

Police have suggested that the defendant may have been motivated by a dispute with his father regarding money. Reports indicate that the deceased and his wife provided the defendant with $2,400 per month as a personal allowance and another $2,400 per month to cover his rent. However, in recent weeks, the defendant's father allegedly suggested reducing his allowance to $1,600 per month.

Man rescued from Niagara River, then charged with DUI

According to reports, deputies with the Erie County Sheriff's Department charged a man with suspicion of DUI following a dramatic rescue from the Niagara River on Dec. 29. Reportedly, the man's vehicle was partially submerged in the water approximately 100 feet from the shore.

Sources indicate that rescue workers from several agencies responded to the scene, including the Sheriff's Department, the Grand Island Fire Department, the Tonawanda Fire Department and the New York State Police. The rescue involved a rescue boat sent by the Tonawanda Fire Department. The man was guided to the shore by the Grand Island Fire Company after they reportedly coaxed the man into exiting his vehicle.

What is a Ponzi scheme?

While many readers in New York may recall hearing about Ponzi schemes in recent years, they may not know exactly what they are. In order to avoid being the victim of such schemes or accused of perpetrating them in the future, it can be beneficial to understand the nature of Ponzi schemes and some of the red flags that can indicate their existence.

Ponzi schemes are fairly simple in principle. Investors typically provide money to a fund of some kind with the expectation of receiving a return; in a Ponzi scheme, however, the "return" is generated by invested money contributed by new investors, so the new investors end up paying the old investors, and the scheme's perpetrator presumably pockets the actual money. In order to avoid being victimized by such schemes, the Securities and Exchange Commission has advised that investors thoroughly scrutinize any potential investment opportunity before giving their money away.

New York man charged with DUI and drug possession

On Dec. 19, a 39-year-old man in New York was arrested for allegedly driving while under the influence of drugs. The traffic stop was conducted on Route 390 at approximately 8:30 p.m. Deputies say the vehicle was pulled over for committing a routine traffic violation. The officers realized the driver was under the influence of drugs once their investigation was underway. After searching the driver, deputies claim they discovered that he was in possession of cocaine and driving with a revoked license.

After conducting a drug evaluation, the deputies suspected that the driver was under the influence a narcotic and marijuana. The Andover man was arrested and was ultimately detained at the Livingston County Jail. He was scheduled to appear before court in Avon Town on Dec. 23. He was required to post $16,000 bond or $8,000 in cash for his release. He was charged with several traffic violations and criminal offenses.

Aggression may be related to genetics and environment

Some New York residents may be interested in a new study that links genetic variance to antisocial behavior. The study, a collaborative effort between researchers from the University of Montreal and a Swedish university, concludes that the presence of specific genetic variants and an abusive environment in childhood leads to socially aggressive behavior in young adulthood.

Investigators charge 9 tied to New York drug pipeline

Nine people were indicted by a Long Island grand jury on numerous drug conspiracy and trafficking counts in connection with an alleged Mexico to New York City and Long Island drug pipeline. According to documents, the accused are facing allegations that they trafficked millions of dollars worth of heroin, MDMA, cocaine and anabolic steroids into the city for distribution.

According to the Nassau County District Attorney's Office, the defendants advertised the drugs on Craigslist after transporting them in from Mexico via various means, including driving cars full of drugs. The investigation commenced in 2013 when investigators allegedly learned that two men had formed a drug distribution partnership.