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Monday, October 31, 2011

Judges Matter

Judges Matter: How Courts Reduce Crime and Save Money
The New York Law Journal by Greg Berman and Michael Rempel  -  August 24, 2011

The mantra during periods of fiscal restraint is "cut the fat." The trouble is that sometimes it is hard to tell which programs are fat and which are lean. That's why new research about drug courts couldn't come at a better time. A new study shows that drug courts—specialized programs that link drug-involved offenders to rigorously-monitored treatment—succeed in reducing crime and drug use.  The study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted by the Urban Institute, the Center for Court Innovation, and RTI International, compared participants in 23 drug courts across the country to similar defendants who went through conventional case processing.  In drug court, defendants are mandated not only to participate in drug treatment, but to return to court frequently for drug testing and progress reports before a judge, who offers either encouragement or sanctions to prod participants to stay engaged in the program. In just a generation, drug courts in the United States have expanded from a single experiment in Florida to more than 2,000 courtrooms across the country.  Among other findings, the new study documents that drug court participants are one-third less likely to report using drugs 18 months after their enrollment in the program. And they are responsible for less than half as many criminal acts as the comparison group after 18 months. Largely because of these reductions in criminal behavior, drug courts saved an estimated $5,680 per participant—cost savings that closely resemble those found in previous studies of drug courts in California and Washington.  As is often the case, some of the most interesting findings from the latest study are to be found in the fine print. We now know drug courts work, but why do they work? What is the secret ingredient?  It turns out that the most important factor is the judge. When participants believe that the judge treats them fairly, they do better. This underscores a key concept, one that risks getting lost in the rush to cut judicial spending taking place across the country. That concept is procedural fairness.  As originally articulated by New York University professor Tom R. Tyler, the author of "Why People Obey the Law," the idea behind procedural fairness is relatively simple. When offenders understand the process, feel that they've been treated with respect and believe that their voice has been heard in court, they are more likely to accept court decisions—even ones that go against them.  The drug court study examined the judicial qualities that produced the best outcomes. The factors that were particularly important included the extent to which drug court participants perceived that the judge was knowledgeable about their case, knew them by name, and gave them a chance to tell their side of the story. The most effective judges were those whose demeanor was independently rated by researchers as respectful, fair, attentive, enthusiastic, consistent and caring. This finding is echoed by other studies that have suggested that the role of the judge is just as critical to defendants' success as the provision of treatment.  All of this has practical implications. It offers powerful ammunition to legislative and executive branch leaders who are currently attempting to trim correctional spending and invest in alternatives to incarceration like drug courts. It also offers a cautionary note. Even as we strive to balance budgets, we must take pains not to undermine the very qualities that seem to make the judiciary successful.  For judicial leaders, the drug court study poses a challenge: Is it possible to spread some of the basic elements of drug court judging—a problem-solving orientation, individualized attention to each case, an emphasis on respectful interaction with defendants—throughout state court systems? The research suggests that the payoffs could be significant: improved compliance with court orders, reduced recidivism and enhanced public confidence in justice.  In a time when government is under attack from many different quarters, the drug court evaluation offers solid evidence that smart government does make a difference. The research shows that investing in judges can not only reduce drug use and crime but help save money by reducing victimization and the use of prison as well.  Greg Berman and Michael Rempel are, respectively, executive director and research director of the Center for Court Innovation.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Prudenti Named Chief Administrative Judge

Prudenti Named Chief Administrative Judge
The New York Law Journal by John Caher  -  October 21, 2011

Presiding Justice A. Gail Prudenti of the Appellate Division, Second Department, yesterday told her colleagues that she has accepted an appointment as chief administrative judge, a position she will assume on Dec. 1 following the departure of Judge Ann T. Pfau.  The appointment will formally be announced today, according to Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.  A Long Island Republican, Justice Prudenti, 58, has served in administrative roles for most of her judicial career.  Justice Prudenti was elected to the Supreme Court bench in 1992. But two years later, when a spot opened in Surrogate's Court, where she had clerked and practiced, she ran for and won that judgeship.  Chief Judge Lippman, then chief administrative judge, appointed Justice Prudenti the Suffolk County administrative judge in 1999, when she was still in Surrogate's Court.  A year later she ran for and won another Supreme Court position. Justice Prudenti said she sought the Supreme Court job because her administrative duties cut into her time to handle Surrogate's Court matters and the county needed a full-time surrogate.  Justice Prudenti's election to the Supreme Court made her eligible for appointment to the Appellate Division, and Governor George E. Pataki promptly promoted her in 2001. Justice Prudenti was on the court for only a year when Governor Pataki named her presiding justice.  Judge Lippman said he actually "discovered" Justice Prudenti a few years before he appointed her as Suffolk County's administrative judge, when she had applied for the position under a different administration, and he immediately realized she was a "unique talent and a unique person."  "She didn't get the job, but she blew me away at the interview as a competent and capable judge with a wonderful ability to relate to people and see the big picture," said Judge Lippman, who was then deputy chief administrator for the courts under Chief Administrative Judge E. Leo Milonas. "In that first interview, I was sold and thought we had a star on our hands, and I was right."  Justice Prudenti said she was first approached by Judge Lippman for the top administrative post several months ago, when Judge Pfau expressed an interest in serving on a trial court, and hesitated.  "I have total mixed emotions about leaving the Appellate Division, Second Department, and I think he was well aware of that," Justice Prudenti said. "I work with fabulous and incredibly hard working people, and I wasn't sure I was ready to leave."  Judge Pfau will on Dec. 1 become coordinating judge of the New York State Medical Malpractice Program, and she will also hear medical malpractice cases in Brooklyn.  The chief judge said he recruited Justice Prudenti to succeed Judge Pfau because of her ability to bring out the best in the people who work for her, while also winning their admiration and affection.  "She understands people and appreciates them, and engenders a loyalty you don't get just by snapping your fingers," Judge Lippman said.  "She is very much a people person who recognizes she is dealing with human beings who need to be listened to, understood and appreciated," he added. "She sets a very high standard, but she does it in a way that endears her to people and fosters a loyalty to her and, more importantly, to the institution. "

Looking for New Resources

Justice Prudenti said she will begin by taking a microscopic top-to-bottom look at court operations, with an eye toward finding ways to utilize public-private partnerships and foundation resources to achieve goals that otherwise might be unattainable in this fiscal climate.  "I am very, very sensitive that we cannot burden the taxpayers," Justice Prudenti said. "So I am going to be taking a good, hard look at revenue sources and funding streams. I really believe that we can form some public-private partnerships, that we can build some good relationships with the executive and legislative branch. I think we have to look outside the box to deploy new resources."  Justice Prudenti said outside resources are especially important in expanding civil legal services and reforming juvenile justice, both high priorities for Judge Lippman.  "I want to work with the Center for Court Innovation and look for partners that have the same goal of equal justice for all," she said. "I understand, I really, really do understand, what the state is facing and what the governor and Legislature are facing in these difficult fiscal times."   Justice Prudenti said she sees her role as the court system's "resource coordinator."  "I will take the resources we have and utilize them where they are most needed, and then look for other sources that can be of assistance in initiatives that are important to the chief judge," she said.  Judge Lippman acknowledged Justice Prudenti's new position will be "no picnic," especially in this fiscal environment.

"These are difficult times—difficult financial times, difficult fiscal times, a time of doing more with less, a time of great stress for state government and the judiciary," Judge Lippman said. "Gail is a very creative and innovative administrator and leader, and I think she recognizes that you have to think outside the box, that you can't just sit there and say 'woe is me.'"  Judge Lippman said that when he first approached Justice Prudenti about the position, "she was already thinking of new avenues and ways to get done what we need to get done."  Yesterday, Leslie D. Kelmachter, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, said Judge Lippman made an “excellent choice” in Justice Prudenti, who has shown “outstanding leadership." Judge Ann Pfau led the court system through difficult financial times "with intelligence, industry and integrity. We will miss her," Ms. Kelmachter said, adding, "We are confident that Justice Prudenti will bring her considerable energy and skills to this new challenge. We look forward to working closely with her in the years to come."  Justice Prudenti is a graduate of Marymount College in Tarrytown and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  She said she attended law school in Scotland because of an interest in international law and a plan to practice in either London or Edinburgh, but found herself "terribly homesick."  As the graduate of a foreign law school, she had to petition the Court of Appeals for permission to take the bar examination. Years later, in 2006, Justice Prudenti was among the seven judges recommended by the Commission on Judicial Nomination for a position on the Court of Appeals. That appointment, by Mr. Pataki, went to Eugene F. Pigott Jr.  Justice Prudenti lives on Long Island with her husband, Robert J. Cimino, who previously served as Suffolk County Attorney and is now in private practice with Lewis Johs in Melville. As chief administrative judge, Justice Prudenti will be paid $147,600 annually. She makes $142,700 as presiding justice. Until a successor as presiding justice is designated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, William F. Mastro, the senior associate judge of the Second Department, will serve as acting presiding justice.  @|John Caher can be reached at jcaher@alm.com

A. Gail Prudenti, 58


Professional
• Presiding justice, Appellate Division, Second Department: 2002 to present
• Associate justice, Appellate Division, Second Department: 2001 to 2002
• Suffolk County administrative judge: 1999 to 2001
• Elected to Supreme Court: 2000

• Acting Supreme Court justice: 1996 to 2000
• Elected Suffolk County Surrogate: 1994
• Elected to Supreme Court: 1991
• Private practice in Hauppauge concentrating on trusts and estates: 1982 to 1991
• Suffolk County assistant district attorney, 1980 to 1982
• Law clerk, Suffolk County Surrogate's Court 1978 to 1980

Education
• L.L.B. (bachelor of laws), University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 1978

• B.A., Marymount College, 1974

Personal

Husband, Robert J. Cimino, former Suffolk County attorney now in private practice with Lewis Johs in Melville.

Major cases

Campbell v. Thomas, 73 AD3d 103 (2010)  -  Held that a caretaker who secretly married a dying retiree with dementia cannot claim an elective share of his estate (NYLJ, March 23, 2010). Although Justice Prudenti acknowledged that the woman, who married the retiree while his daughter—the primary caretaker—was away, "technically" had a legal right to an elective share as the surviving spouse, she wrote for the court: "It is 'an old, old principle' that a court, 'even in the absence of express statutory warrant,' must not 'allow itself to be made the instrument of wrong, no less on account of its detestation of everything conducive to wrong than on account of that regard which it should entertain for its own character and dignity.'"

Prichep v. Prichep, 52 AD3d 61 (2008)  -  Ordered interim counsel fees in a divorce action where the husband earned 100 times his wife's income. In this case, where Second Department reversed the trial court, Justice Prudent said: "An application for interim counsel fees by the non-monied spouse in a divorce action should not be denied—or deferred until after the trial, which functions as a denial—without good cause, articulated by the court in a written decision." (NYLJ, May 20, 2008)

Majlinger v. Cassino Contracting, 25 AD3d 14 (2005)  -  Justice Prudenti and her colleagues rejected an Appellate Division, First Department, ruling and held that illegal immigrants who are involved in workplace accidents can sue for lost wages (NYLJ, Sept. 23, 2005). "While state courts may not award damages that would interfere with or frustrate federal immigration policy, it is not appropriate for them to augment that policy by imposing upon undocumented aliens an additional penalty not authorized by federal law," she wrote in an opinion affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

Matter of Tara X. (NYLJ, Sept. 18, 1996)  -   As an acting Supreme Court judge, Justice Prudenti held that a court evaluator is not entitled to review an alleged incapacitated person's medical records if the individual opposes appointment of a guardian. "To hold otherwise would afford respondents in Article 81 proceedings a modicum of due process which falls below that afforded their counterparts in other legal proceedings and would effectively nullify the heavy quantum of proof imposed upon the petitioners seeking guardianship over non-consenting persons," she wrote.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Prudenti Named To Replace Pfau as Chief Administrative Judge

Prudenti Named Chief Administrative Judge

October 20, 2011 --  Presiding Justice A. Gail Prudenti of the Appellate Division, Second Department, this afternoon told her colleagues that she has accepted an appointment as chief administrative judge, a position she will assume on Dec. 1 following the departure of Judge Ann T. Pfau.

Top Administrator Jumps From Corrupt Court Post

Pfau to Resign as Courts' Top Administrator
The New York Law Journal by John Caher  -  October 20, 2011

Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau, who has managed the state court system through 4½ exceptionally tumultuous years, yesterday informed colleagues that she will step down on Dec. 1 to take over a new medical malpractice program and try cases in her home borough of Brooklyn.  She announced her plans in a conference call with the state's administrative judges. A successor was not immediately named.  Judge Pfau's tenure on Beaver Street coincided with rancorous and often bitter controversy over judicial salaries, early retirements, layoffs and budget cuts.  Yet the first woman to hold the highly stressful and often thankless job said in an interview that she "wake[s] up every day thinking I am the luckiest person in the world to have this job."  "This is the career of a lifetime," Judge Pfau said. "But there comes a time when you need to do something else. I want to be a judge."

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said Judge Pfau approached him several months ago expressing a desire to move to a new assignment, but agreed to remain in the position through the resolution of the judicial pay dispute and the submission of the next budget, which is due Dec. 1, the day she departs.  "She has been a great leader and is someone who has, by any standard, gone through the wars and come out as a strong, effective and inspiring leader for the troops," Judge Lippman said. "This is someone who has really paid her dues and at this point she deserves whatever she wants to do. I am delighted to make that happen."  The chief judge said he will appoint a new chief administrative judge within a matter of days, but declined to identify his choice.  Judge Lippman said he is reassigning Judge Pfau to the position of coordinating judge of the New York State Medical Malpractice Program.  In that position, Judge Pfau will administer a federal grant and oversee a program that promotes early settlement of medical negligence cases through judge-directed negotiation. She will be working with Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon (See Profile), who initiated the pilot program.  Judge Pfau, who has maintained a regular commercial caseload during her years as an administrative judge, will preside over medical malpractice matters in Brooklyn in addition to her coordinating role.  As chief administrative judge, Judge Pfau earns $147,600 a year. Her new salary has not yet been determined, Judge Lippman said.

Under the state Constitution (Article VI, §28), the chief administrative judge supervises the daily operation and administration of a court system that handles 4.7 million cases a year, overseeing a $2.5 billion budget, 3,600 state and local judges and 15,000 judicial employees spread over 300 different locations.  The position is inherently stressful, demanding a deft blend of political and organizational skills.  Except for Judge Lippman, who held the position for nearly 12 years before Judge Pfau's appointment in mid-2007 by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, no one has celebrated a fifth anniversary in the job, and no one other than Judge Pfau had extended service under more than one chief judge.  Judge Pfau's time as chief administrator coincided with an unusually difficult era for the courts.  Judges were infuriated that the Legislature had denied them pay raises for a dozen years. About 1,500 employees took early retirement last fall, and half the positions were never filled because of an impending fiscal crisis. The court system voluntarily cut $100 million from its budget request in a gesture of cooperation with the political branches—and then watched powerlessly as Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature cut another $70 million. Consequently, nearly 500 employees lost their job.  "This has been a very, very difficult year with the fiscal and operational challenges," Judge Pfau acknowledged. "I couldn't be luckier than to be surrounded by such wonderful administrative judges who make the system work. I love the job and I adore the people, but you get to the point where you say to yourself, 'Can I do this for another year with a totally full heart and every bit of my energy?'"

Calm and Focused

Despite the struggles and setbacks that were beyond her control, Judge Pfau presided over the largest expansion of electronic filing in state history, guided the court system's response to the mortgage foreclosure crisis, overhauled the guardianship and fiduciary appointment system and focused attention on Family Court.  "I will miss her sterling leadership, her management skills and her ability to have the kind of dialogue with our judges and the other branches of government that gets things done," Judge Lippman said.  Case in point: At the judicial budget hearing earlier this year, Judge Pfau appeared before an angry and combative legislative committee that was clearly spoiling for a fight and portraying the judiciary as spendthrift and indifferent to the state's fiscal woes.  But Judge Pfau calmly diffused their anger, responding firmly and confidently to the acerbic questions and caustic comments.  "She's a trouper and she's a pro, and she does it with grace and dignity," Judge Lippman said. "That's why I have always given her the toughest assignments."  For the judiciary, the greatest achievement of Judge Pfau's tenure was passage of legislation creating a Special Commission on Judicial Compensation. The commission ensures that judicial salaries are objectively reviewed and adjusted at regular intervals.  Although many judges were disappointed with the result—a 27 percent pay raise over three years—they are relieved to finally see a pay raise, and more relieved that the new process should largely remove judicial compensation from politics.  "We can't guarantee the outcome will always be what people want, but at least there is a procedure," Judge Pfau said. "I was committed to staying through that process and promised [Judge Lippman] that I would do that."  Judge Pfau, 63, is a career court administrator who entered the court system in 1985, shortly after graduating from Brooklyn Law School with two young children.  "Like a lot of women in those circumstances, I went into government," Judge Pfau said.  She began her career in the courts as an assistant deputy counsel in the Office of Court Administration, an assignment she describes as "just marvelous."  In 1997, she was appointed to the bench by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and later served as deputy chief administrative judge for management support, administrative judge for the Second Judicial District and first deputy administrative judge. Judge Pfau also has served as an acting Supreme Court justice in the Commercial Division of Supreme Court in Brooklyn.  In every court position she has held for the past 22 years, Judge Pfau worked closely with Judge Lippman.  "That personal bond that I have had with her for so many years, the friendship, the admiration, and the great, great affection I have for her, is for me and the courts a lifetime relationship, and I am very grateful to her personally and on behalf of the institution," Judge Lippman said.  Judge Pfau's parting advice to her successor: "Recognize that not every problem is solvable. The problems can seem overwhelming, but it all works out. And enjoy the trip between New York City and Albany, because you will make it often."  John Caher can be contacted at jcaher@alm.com.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lawyer's Failure to Safeguard Documents Brings Penalty

Lawyer's Failure to Safeguard Documents Brings Penalty
The New York Law Journal by Andrew Keshner  -  October 14, 2011

A federal judge has ordered an attorney to pay more than $30,000 in sanctions after confidential documents the lawyer turned over to a client ended up fueling a third party's legal action.  Southern District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ordered Manhattan attorney Daniel S. Brecher and his former client Paul Lewicki to each pay $33,780 to Enzo Biochem after Lawrence Glaser obtained documents that had been under Judge Scheindlin's protective order and used the documents to support a motion to reconsider a closed case filed by Mr. Glaser against Enzo Biochem in Virginia federal court. Enzo Biochem is a bio-tech company based in New York.  Although the judge did not find that Mr. Brecher had acted in bad faith, she faulted him for turning over the documents to Mr. Lewicki in the presence of Mr. Glaser, who had already unsuccessfully sued Enzo Biochem in Virginia and had loaned Mr. Lewicki $20,000 to hire a New York attorney for another suit against Enzo Biochem.  According to Judge Scheindlin's decision, Mr. Brecher said he reminded both men at the handoff about the protective order's requirements.  Mr. Brecher maintains he complied with the court's order by solely turning over the documents to Mr. Lewicki.  Mr. Lewicki argued that he should not be sanctioned because he did not know the documents were confidential and Mr. Brecher failed to alert him to his duties under the order.  Neither argument persuaded Judge Scheindlin.

Referring to Mr. Glaser's financial and legal stakes in the New York action, she wrote in Hunt v. Enzo Biochem, 06-cv-170, "Given this knowledge, Brecher was obliged to do more than simply give Glaser and Lewicki instructions not to violate the Protective Order. Repeated warnings to play by the rules to a person with known incentives to do otherwise simply do not meet the substantial burden of making a diligent attempt to comply with the Protective Order in a reasonable manner."  In addition to paying Enzo Biochem's $67,000 legal bill to fight the Virginia motion, the judge directed Messrs. Brecher and Lewicki to retrieve the confidential documents and return them to the company. The judge said that Mr. Glaser now possesses the documents.  Judge Scheindlin released Tuesday's decision after a hearing on Enzo Biochem's sanction motion over two days in July. Messrs. Brecher and Lewicki both testified.  The dispute stems from suits filed by Messrs. Lewicki and Glaser and others against Enzo Biochem for allegedly misrepresenting the effectiveness of AIDS research, which inflated the value of the company's stock.  Mr. Brecher, then with the Law Offices of Dan Brecher, took Mr. Lewicki's New York case in 2007 after another attorney died.  After the parties entered a protective agreement with Enzo Biochem, both Mr. Lewicki and Mr. Glaser asked Mr. Brecher to seek modification of the order to allow Mr. Glaser access to the papers.  Mr. Brecher rebuffed the requests and threatened to end his representation if Mr. Lewicki petitioned the court for modification himself, Judge Scheindlin said.  Judge Scheindlin ultimately sided with Enzo Biochem in a summary judgment motion in 2009. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld her summary judgment ruling earlier this year. A circuit decision on a motion for reconsideration in banc is still pending.  Mr. Brecher did not handle the appeal.

Mr. Lewicki requested the files after the summary judgment decision. Mr. Brecher and Donald H. Chase of Morrison Cohen, an attorney representing the Enzo Biochem defendants, agreed that documents marked "highly confidential" could not be turned over. But they could not agree on whether to hand over the files marked "confidential."  The disagreement was still unresolved when Mr. Lewicki and Mr. Glaser showed up at Mr. Brecher's office to get the files.  Mr. Lewicki signed for the files, and he and Mr. Glaser moved them into Mr. Glaser's truck and they were later stored at a friend's home.  After using the documents to unsuccessfully pitch an appeal of Mr. Lewicki's case, Mr. Glaser brought several files to a meeting with Mr. Lewicki at a New Jersey Turnpike rest stop.  At least three of the files were marked confidential and would be used by Mr. Glaser in his motion to re-open the Virginia case, Mr. Lewicki testified.  The motion was denied in the Virginia district court in April, and by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit this month.  In her decision, Judge Scheindlin noted that Mr. Brecher contended he did "nothing improper" by letting both Mr. Lewicki and Mr. Glaser move the files. But noting Mr. Glaser was not authorized to receive the files under the order, she called Mr. Brecher's view of his actions "irrelevant."  Judge Scheindlin acknowledged Mr. Brecher's efforts to comply with the order's terms leading up to the handoff.  "What makes the act of transferring confidential materials into Glaser's possession deeply troubling—even if [Mr. Brecher] only viewed Glaser as a stand-in for a paid moving company—is what Brecher knew about Glaser," she wrote.  Judge Scheindlin did not find Mr. Lewicki's testimony to be credible, saying his actions essentially showed a "simple dissatisfaction with the fact that Brecher entered into the protective order at all."  Mr. Brecher, who is now counsel to Scarinci Hollenbeck, referred comment to his attorney, Robert J. Bergson at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson.  "The court expressly found that Mr. Brecher's conduct was not willful or in bad faith. We are confident that the order will be reversed on appeal for this and other reasons," Mr. Bergson said.  In an interview, Mr. Chase called the decision "a clear statement that you cannot take confidentiality orders cavalierly."  Mr. Lewicki, who represented himself, did not return a request for comment.  Andrew Keshner can be contacted at akeshner@alm.com.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ex-Attorney Is Indicted for Stealing From Clients

Ex-Attorney Is Indicted for Stealing From Clients
The New York Law Journal by Andrew Keshner  -  October 18, 2011

A disbarred Manhattan attorney has been indicted on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing from former clients. Howard L. Blau was indicted on five counts of grand larceny for allegedly stealing $138,500 from five clients and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. He was arraigned on Oct. 12 and released on his own recognizance, according to a state court database. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 21.  Mr. Blau was suspended in February 2008 for misappropriating client funds and subsequently disbarred in 2009 (NYLJ, Oct. 28, 2009). Last year, a special referee in Manhattan Supreme Court ordered Mr. Blau to pay almost $500,000 to an ex-client in a legal malpractice action. The client was found guilty of third-degree rape while represented by Mr. Blau but acquitted when he retained new representation (NYLJ, May 26, 2010). In his decision on the malpractice action, the referee faulted Mr. Blau for his lack of preparation in the underlying case and lack of communication with the defendant.

-------------------------------------  THE INDICTMENT:

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF NEW YORK
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
 -against-
Howard L. Blau,  Defendant.

THE GRAND JURY OF THE COUNTY OF NEW YORK, by this indictment, accuses the defendant of the crime of GRAND LARCENY IN THE SECOND DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law §155.40(1), committed as follows: The defendant, in the County of New York, on or about May 15, 2008, stole property from Daniel Fish and the value of the property exceeded fifty thousand dollars.

SECOND COUNT: AND THE GRAND JURY AFORESAID, by this indictment, further accuses the defendant of the crime of SCHEME TO DEFRAUD IN THE FIRST DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law §190.65(1)(b), committed as follows:  The defendant, in the County of New York, during the period from on or about March 12, 2007 to on or about October 26, 2007, engaged in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud more than one person and to obtain property from more than one person by false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, and so obtained property with a value in excess of one thousand dollars from one or more such persons.

THIRD COUNT:  AND THE GRAND JURY AFORESAID, by this indictment, further accuses the defendant of the crime of GRAND LARCENY IN THE THIRD DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law §155.35, committed as follows: The defendant, in the County of New York, on or about March 12, 2007, stole property from Robert Kaplan and the value of the property exceeded three thousand dollars.

FOURTH COUNT: AND THE GRAND JURY AFORESAID, by this indictment, further accuses the defendant of the crime of GRAND LARCENY IN THE THIRD DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law §155.35, committed as follows: The defendant, in the County of New York, on or about June 14, 2007, stole property from Sandra Geik and the value of the property exceeded three thousand dollars.

FIFTH COUNT: AND THE GRAND JURY AFORESAID, by this indictment, further accuses the defendant of the crime of GRAND LARCENY IN THE THIRD DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law §155.35, committed as follows: The defendant, in the County of New York, on or about July 18, 2007, stole property from Michael Kaplan and the value of the property exceeded three thousand dollars.

SIXTH COUNT: AND THE GRAND JURY AFORESAID, by this indictment, further accuses the defendant of the crime of GRAND LARCENY IN THE THIRD DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law §155.35, committed as follows: The defendant, in the County of New York, on or about October 26, 2007, stole property from Antony Geralis and the value of the property exceeded three thousand dollars.

CYRUS R. VANCE, JR. District Attorney  -  GJ #- 8  -  Filed:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK 
-against-
Howard L. Blau, Defendant.

INDICTMENT  -  GRAND LARCENY IN THE SECOND DEGREE, P.L. §155.40(1) SCHEME TO DEFRAUD IN THE FIRST DEGREE, P.L. §190.65(1)(b) GRAND LARCENY IN THE THIRD DEGREE, P.L. §155.35, 4 Cts
CYRUS R. VANCE, JR., District Attorney
A True Bill
Joanne Siegmund, Special Prosecutions Bureau
Foreman  -  ADJOURNED TO PART _______ ON ________

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another Attorney Sentenced in Insider Trading Scheme

Another Attorney Sentenced in Insider Trading Scheme
The New York Law Journal by Mark Hamblett  -  October 12, 2011

Michael Kimelman was sentenced to serve 2 1/2 years in prison today for his role in the Zvi Goffer insider trading case. Mr. Kimelman, a non-practicing attorney, "Understood better than most the illegality of this kind of conduct," Southern District Judge Richard Sullivan said in rejecting a plea for leniency by attorney Michael Sommer of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati.  Mr. Kimelman, 40, was convicted on June 13 along with Zvi Goffer and Emanuel Goffer of trading on inside information stolen from Ropes & Gray by then-firm associates Arthur Cutillo and Brien Santaralas. The two lawyers, along with a third attorney, middleman Jason Goldfarb, were paid $32,500 each by Zvi Goffer for providing information on companies such as Axcan Pharma and 3Com Corp. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Fish and Richard Tarlowe.  Emanuel Goffer was sentenced on Oct. 7 to three years in prison. His brother, Zvi Goffer, was sentenced by Judge Sullivan on Sept. 21 to 10 years in prison for taking the lead role in the scheme, which was one of several overlapping insider trading cases connected to his former employee, Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam. Mr. Rajaratnam, who was convicted in May of five conspiracies and nine counts of insider trading, is expected to receive a lengthy prison term when he is sentenced this morning by Judge Richard Holwell.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dissenting Often, Lippman Establishes a Staunchly Liberal Record

Dissenting Often, State’s Chief Judge Establishes a Staunchly Liberal Record
The New York Law Journal by William Glaberson  -  October 9, 2011

After he was appointed to head the Court of Appeals in 2009, New York’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, drew attention by forging alliances to get more liberal rulings on the court, which has a 4-to-3 conservative majority. But a new analysis shows another side of his approach: Judge Lippman writes dissents from his own court far more than his predecessors did from their courts.  In those dissenting opinions, he always takes staunchly liberal positions, regularly refusing to compromise on subjects like the rights of criminal suspects and the injury claims of plaintiffs. Last October, a 4-to-3 majority permitted the courts to rely on a confession to sexual abuse that a 13-year-old gave after a police officer asked his mother to leave the interview. But to Judge Lippman, this was a “tired and hungry child isolated in the middle of the night” who might have confessed to anything.  In approving a search warrant in a case in January, the majority, he said, was giving prosecutors “a net far more capacious than the law allows.” In June, he said the court sided against a woman who said she had been injured in a public parking lot because of nothing more than “a judicial aversion to municipal liability.”  The dissents show a chief judge positioning his losing-side views to try to influence cases years from now, said Vincent M. Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor, who described new research he had compiled.  “He is making a record,” Professor Bonventre said. “He is spelling it out, and in the future when a similar issue arises, that court is going to decide who got it right.”  The Court of Appeals, in Albany, has at times been among the most influential state courts in the country. Professor Bonventre, a leading scholar on the court, said Judge Lippman, 66, was writing dissents at triple the rate he did when he first took the bench.  For the year ending in June, Judge Lippman wrote dissents in 15 cases — tied with a conservative judge, Robert S. Smith, as the author of the most dissents on the court. That is sharply more than his two predecessors as chief judge, who wrote about one or two dissents a year.  Those dissents spell out positions that make Judge Lippman the most liberal New York chief judge in more than 25 years, said Professor Bonventre, who has published some of his research on his legal blog, New York Court Watcher.  Some lawyers and law professors said the dissenting opinions laid out a clear judicial philosophy, while others said they may reveal the frustrations of a liberal leading a court with a conservative majority.  “It suggests he may have little influence as an intellectual leader behind the scenes, and so hopes to exercise influence through his public voice,” said James A. Gardner, a professor and vice dean at the University at Buffalo Law School.  Judge Lippman declined to be interviewed for this article. He has publicly said that he differed from the leadership approach of his immediate predecessor, Judith S. Kaye. She has publicly said she worked for unanimity on the court, when possible. “I am a result-oriented person,” Judge Lippman said in an interview last year, “and the result I am looking for is not necessarily unanimity.”  His increasing willingness to dissent seemed to be a logical next step in his leadership, said Bruce Green, a Fordham Law School professor. Professor Green noted that losing judicial arguments often became the basis for later legal changes by legislatures or courts.  “The message I get” from Judge Lippman’s dissents, Professor Green said, “is, ‘You’re put on the court to be your own person and to express your views, and I’m going to do it.’ ”  The 15 dissents Judge Lippman wrote last year offer a glimpse of fervent disagreements on the court. Professor Bonventre’s studies show that Judge Kaye wrote dissents an average of only 1.4 times annually for the 16 years she was chief judge, and that her predecessor, Sol Wachtler, wrote dissents an average of 1.9 times a year for his eight years.  Court statistics show that changes Judge Lippman has brought to the court have lasted. In Judge Kaye’s final year, 82 percent of the decisions were unanimous. Last year the unanimity rate slipped to 67 percent.  Some lawyers say that by avoiding compromise, the court’s majority rulings are clearer because they do not need to be softened to win votes. But some lawyers say Judge Lippman simply may not be able to control the other judges on the court. “One possibility,” said Richard Briffault, a Columbia Law professor, “is that he’s not as good at getting compromise as Judge Kaye was.”  But Professor Bonventre, who has been studying the court for 30 years, sees a more strategic explanation for Judge Lippman’s unusual decision to make public his disagreements with his own court. “The rest of the court knows,” he said, “that if they go too far afield from his point of view, he is going to go public.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Grand Jury Indicts Two Attorneys in Mortgage Fraud Scam

Two Attorneys Charged in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
The New York Law Journal by Andrew Keshner  -  October 6, 2011

Two Queens attorneys are facing federal charges for their alleged involvement in a mortgage fraud ring that raked in more than $25 million over some 10 years. Attorneys Matthew Burstein and Aaron Rabinowitz of Burstein & Rabinowitz in Forest Hills were two of six people indicted by an Eastern District grand jury for the scheme that occurred between January 2001 and July 2010.  Allegedly working with a real estate agent, two loan officers and someone who recruited straw buyers, the lawyers submitted mortgage applications containing false information such as larger bank accounts and incomes. Though down payments were required for the mortgages' issuance, the six individuals allegedly falsified documentation to wrongly show the payments had been made. The ring profited from the commissions and loan fees. The scheme involved about 30 properties mostly located in Queens, but stretching from the Bronx to Suffolk County.  Messrs. Burstein and Rabinowitz face charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander A. Solomon is prosecuting the case. Mr. Rabinowitz, 40, graduated from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and was admitted in 2002. Mr. Burstein, 40, graduated from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and was admitted in 1998.

The Indictment:
DAS/LM:AAS F.#2010R01348
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -X
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- against -
MATTHEW BURSTEIN,
ELIAS COMPRES,
JOHN CONSTANTANIDES,
ARTURO GIRALDO,
AARON RABINOWITZ and
ROLANDO E. ROLDAN,
Defendants.
– - - - - - - - - - - - - - -X
THE GRAND JURY CHARGES:
S U P E R S E D I N G INDICTMENT
Cr. No. 10-623 (S-2)(ARR)(T. 18, U.S.C., §§ 
981(a)(1)(c), 982(a)(2)(A), 1343, 1344, 1349,
2 and 3551 et seq.; T. 21, U.S.C., § 853(p); 
T. 28, U.S.C., § 2461(c))
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                           INTRODUCTION
          At all times relevant to this Superseding Indictment:
          1.   The defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN, ELIAS COMPRES,
JOHN CONSTANTANIDES, ARTURO GIRALDO, AARON RABINOWITZ and ROLANDO
E. ROLDAN, together with others, defrauded various lending
institutions (the “Lenders”) by obtaining mortgages on properties
(the “Properties”) located in the Eastern District of New York
and elsewhere through fraudulent means, including by falsifying
mortgage loan applications, appraisals, title reports and other
documents.  That false information made the borrowers appear to
be more creditworthy, and falsely enhanced the purported value of
the Properties.  As a result, the Lenders were fraudulently
induced to issue mortgage loans secured by the Properties.  The
amount of the mortgage loans obtained by defendants BURSTEIN,
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COMPRES, CONSTANTANIDES, GIRALDO, RABINOWITZ, ROLDAN and others
exceeded $25 million.
I.        The Defendants
          2.   The defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON
RABINOWITZ were attorneys licensed to practice law in the State
of New York.  BURSTEIN and RABINOWITZ acted as attorneys
representing buyers and mortgage lenders in real estate
transactions involving some of the Properties.
          3.   The defendant ELIAS COMPRES was a real estate
agent licensed in the State of New York.  COMPRES recruited
individuals to pose as purchasers of some of the Properties (the
“Straw Buyers”).
          4.   The defendants JOHN CONSTANTANIDES and ARTURO
GIRALDO were loan officers.  CONSTANTANIDES and GIRALDO submitted
mortgage applications and other documents containing false and
fraudulent information to the Lenders in an effort to obtain home
mortgage loans.
          5.   The defendant ROLANDO E. ROLDAN recruited Straw
Buyers to pose as purchasers of some of the Properties.
II.       The Lenders
          6.   Chase Home Finance was a wholly-owned subsidiary
of JP Morgan Chase (“JP Morgan”), a bank, the deposits of which
were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
(“FDIC”).
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          7.   Countrywide Home Loans was a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Countrywide Financial (“Countrywide”), a bank, the
deposits of which were insured by the FDIC.
          8.   Fremont Investment and Loan (“Fremont”) was a
bank, the deposits of which were insured by the FDIC.
          9.   IndyMac Mortgage Services was a wholly-owned
subsidiary of IndyMac Bank (“IndyMac”), a bank, the deposits of
which were insured by the FDIC.
          10.  National City Mortgage was a wholly-owned
subsidiary of National City Corporation (“National City”), a
bank, the deposits of which were insured by the FDIC.
          11.  Sun Trust Mortgage, Inc. (“Sun Trust Mortgage”)
was a bank, the deposits of which were insured by the FDIC.
          12.  Wells Fargo Home Mortgage was a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company (“Wells Fargo”), a bank, the
deposits of which were insured by the FDIC.
          13.  Lend-Mor Mortgage Bankers Corporation (“Lend-Mor”)
was a wholesale mortgage lender doing business throughout the
United States, including in New York.
          14.  Mortgage Lenders Network USA, Inc. (“Mortgage
Lenders”) was a wholesale mortgage lender doing business
throughout the United States, including in New York.
          15.  New Century Mortgage Corporation (“New Century”)
was a wholesale mortgage lender doing business throughout the
United States, including in New York.
          16.  The Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”)
provided insurance on mortgage loans for single-family and multi-
family homes issued by FHA-approved Lenders.  The FHA insured
some of the loans issued by the Lenders.
III.      The Borrowers
          17.  The defendants ELIAS COMPRES and ROLANDO E.
ROLDAN, together with others, recruited purchasers (the
“Purchasers”) who desired to purchase the Properties for their
own use.  The Purchasers generally were individuals with good
credit scores, but with income and assets that were insufficient
to secure a mortgage loan.  The defendants COMPRES and ROLDAN,
together with others, often promised the Purchasers either that
no down payment would be necessary to purchase the Properties, or
that any down payment would be refunded to them at the closings.
          18.  The defendants ELIAS COMPRES and ROLANDO E.
ROLDAN, together with others, also recruited Straw Buyers to pose
as the purchasers of some of the Properties.  Like the
Purchasers, the Straw Buyers generally were individuals with good
credit scores, but with income and assets that were insufficient
to secure a mortgage loan.  Unlike the Purchasers, however, the
Straw Buyers did not intend to inhabit or control the Properties.
Instead, the defendants COMPRES and ROLDAN, together with others,
were the true owners of the Properties purportedly purchased by
the Straw Buyers.  In exchange for the use of their names and
good credit, the Straw Buyers often received a fee.
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          19.  In some cases, the defendant ELIAS COMPRES and
others (the “Co-conspirators”) purchased multiple Properties in
their own names.  Like the Purchasers and the Straw Buyers, the
defendant COMPRES and the Co-conspirators had good credit scores,
but insufficient income and assets to secure multiple mortgage
loans.  Like the Straw Buyers, COMPRES and the Co-conspirators
did not intend to inhabit the Properties but rather purchased the
Properties as investments.
IV.       The Fraudulent Scheme
          20.  Once Purchasers or Straw Buyers were recruited,
the defendants ELIAS COMPRES, JOHN CONSTANTANIDES, ARTURO GIRALDO
and ROLANDO E. ROLDAN, together with others, prepared and caused
to be prepared mortgage applications for the Properties.  These
mortgage applications contained numerous misrepresentations and
material falsehoods designed to make the Purchasers, Straw
Buyers, the defendant COMPRES and the Co-conspirators appear more
creditworthy.  Among other things, the mortgage applications
falsely inflated the bank account balances and income for the
Purchasers, Straw Buyers, the defendant COMPRES and the Co-
conspirators.  Additionally, some of the mortgage applications
falsely stated that the mortgage applicants would live at the
Properties.  The defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN, COMPRES,
CONSTANTANIDES, GIRALDO, AARON RABINOWITZ and ROLDAN, together
with others, caused these applications and supporting documents
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to be sent to the Lenders by facsimile or via electronic
transmissions.
          21.  As a condition for issuing the mortgage loans, the
Lenders required the Purchasers, Straw Buyers, the defendant
ELIAS COMPRES and the Co-conspirators to make down payments on
the purchase of the Properties.  Notwithstanding these
requirements, the Purchasers, Straw Buyers, the defendant COMPRES
and the Co-conspirators often did not make any down payments.
          22.  To conceal these facts from the Lenders, the
defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN, ELIAS COMPRES, JOHN CONSTANTANIDES,
ARTURO GIRALDO, AARON RABINOWITZ and ROLANDO E. ROLDAN, together
with others, falsified Department of Housing and Urban
Development forms (the “Falsified HUD Forms”), designed to
deceive the Lenders about the disbursements at closings.  For
example, the Falsified HUD Forms represented that some of the
Purchasers, Straw Buyers, the defendant COMPRES and the Co-
conspirators had made a down payment or other cash payment to the
sellers when, in fact, none had been made.
          23.  In many instances, the Purchasers, Straw Buyers,
the defendant ELIAS COMPRES and the Co-conspirators failed to
make mortgage payments to the Lenders, and the mortgage loans for
the Properties defaulted.
          24.  The fraudulent scheme included the following
transactions:
                                        PROPERTY ADDRESS
32-40 95th Street
East Elmhurst, New York 31-21 84th Street
Jackson Heights, New York 86-05 25th Avenue
East Elmhurst, New York 95-08 89th Street
Ozone Park, New York
67-33A Cloverdale Lane
New York, New York
23 Lurcott Lane
Central Islip, New York 31-22 79th Street
Jackson Heights, New York 26-18 95th Street
East Elmhurst, New York 237-09 

93rd Avenue Bellerose, New York
94-10 50th Avenue
Elmhurst, New York
25-29 97th Street
East Elmhurst, New York
848 Quincy Ave
Bronx, New York
25-37 100th Street
East Elmhurst, New York 

93-53 Hollis Court Boulevard Queens Village, New York 86-05 25th Avenue
East Elmhurst, New York 31-37 101st Street
East Elmhurst, New York 22-25 128th Street
College Point, New York 98-15 32nd Avenue
East Elmhurst, New York 23-43 100th Street
East Elmhurst, New York 89-09 84th Street
Woodhaven, New York
24-50 93rd Street East Elmhurst, New York 

108-35Ditmars Boulevard East Elmhurst, New York
41-13 Denman Street Elmhurst, New York



    APPROXIMATE CLOSING DATE
September 30, 2005 October 28, 2005 
November 30, 2005 February 8, 2006 
February 13, 2006 February 22, 2006 
March 14, 2006 April 28, 2006 
June 28, 2006 June 28, 2006 
July 19, 2006 July 31, 2006 
July 31, 2006 September 21, 2006 
September 23, 2006 November 20, 2006 
November 20, 2006 November 20, 2006 
November 28, 2006 January 31, 2007 
January 31, 2007 June4,2007 August 10, 2007


PROPERTY ADDRESS
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APPROXIMATE CLOSING DATE
31-29 93rd Street
Jackson Heights, New York
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August 20, 2007
23-16 99th Street
East Elmhurst, New York
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August 30, 2007
81-09 91st Avenue
Woodhaven, New York
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December 5, 2007
88-19 77th Street
Woodhaven, New York
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December 28, 2007
1754 Lacombe Avenue
Bronx, New York
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January 16, 2008
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172 Sylvester Street
Westbury, New York
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February 29, 2008
80-33 88th Road
Woodhaven, New York
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March 5, 2009
                            COUNT ONE
            (Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud)
          25.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          26.  In or about and between January 2001 and July
2010, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN, ELIAS COMPRES, JOHN CONSTANTANIDES, ARTURO
GIRALDO, AARON RABINOWITZ and ROLANDO E. ROLDAN, together with
others, did knowingly and intentionally conspire to:
               a.   execute a scheme and artifice to defraud JP
Morgan, through its subsidiary Chase Home Finance, Countrywide,
through its subsidiary, Countrywide Home Loans, Fremont, IndyMac,
through its subsidiary, IndyMac Mortgage Services, National City,
through its subsidiary, National City Mortgage, Sun Trust
Mortgage and Wells Fargo, through its subsidiary, Wells Fargo
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Home Mortgage, all financial institutions, and to obtain moneys,
funds and credits owned by and under the custody and control of
said financial institutions by means of materially false and
fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, contrary to
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344; and
               b.   devise a scheme and artifice to defraud Lend-
Mor, Mortgage Lenders, New Century and others, and to obtain
money and property from Lend-Mor, Mortgage Lenders, New Century
and others by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses,
representations and promises, and for the purpose of executing
such scheme and artifice, to transmit and cause to be transmitted
by means of wire communication in interstate commerce, writings,
signs, signals, pictures and sounds, contrary to Title 18, United
States Code, Section 1343.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1349 and 3551
et seq.)
COUNT TWO
(Bank Fraud -- 32-40 95th Street, East Elmhurst, New York)

          27.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          28.  On or about September 30, 2005, a closing was held
for a mortgage loan issued by Countrywide, through its
subsidiary,
Countrywide Home Loans and secured by 32-40 95th
Street, East
Elmhurst, New York. This closing was held in
Harrison, New York.
          29.  In or about and between August 2005 and October
2005, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant ELIAS
COMPRES, together with others, did knowingly and intentionally
execute a scheme and artifice to defraud Countrywide, through its
subsidiary, Countrywide Home Loans, and to obtain moneys, funds
and credits owned by and under the custody and control of said
financial institution by means of materially false and fraudulent
pretenses, representations and promises. (Title 18, 
United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and 3551 et seq.)
COUNT THREE
(Bank Fraud -- 95-08 89th Street, Ozone Park, New York)

          30.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          31. On or about February 8, 2006, a closing was held
for a mortgage loan issued by Fremont and secured by 95-08 89th 
Street, Ozone Park. This closing was held in Hauppauge, New York.
          32.  In or about and between February 2006 and March
2006, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant ARTURO
GIRALDO, together with others, did knowingly and intentionally
execute a scheme and artifice to defraud Fremont and to obtain
moneys, funds and credits owned by and under the custody and
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control of said financial institution by means of materially
false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT FOUR
(Bank Fraud -- 25-37 100th Street, East Elmhurst, New York)

          33.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          34. On or about July 31, 2006, a closing was held for
a mortgage loan issued by Countrywide, through its subsidiary,
Countrywide Home Loans and secured by 25-37 100th Street, East
Elmhurst, New York. This closing was held in Queens, New York
at the offices of the defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN and 
AARON RABINOWITZ.
          35.  In or about and between June 2006 and August 2006,
both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the Eastern
District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants MATTHEW
BURSTEIN, ELIAS COMPRES and AARON RABINOWITZ, together with
others, did knowingly and intentionally execute a scheme and
artifice to defraud Countrywide, through its subsidiary,
Countrywide Home Loans, and to obtain moneys, funds and credits
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owned by and under the custody and control of said financial
institution by means of materially false and fraudulent
pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
                            COUNT FIVE
           (Bank Fraud –- 93-53 Hollis Court Boulevard,
                    Queens Village, New York)
          36.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          37.  On or about September 21, 2006, a closing was held
for a mortgage loan issued by JP Morgan, through its subsidiary
Chase Home Finance, and secured by 93-53 Hollis Court Boulevard,
Queens Village, New York.  This closing was held in Great Neck,
New York.
          38.  In or about and between October 2006 and December
2006, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant ARTURO
GIRALDO, together with others, did knowingly and intentionally
execute a scheme and artifice to defraud JP Morgan, through its
subsidiary Chase Home Finance, and to obtain moneys, funds and
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credits owned by and under the custody and control of said
financial institution by means of materially false and fraudulent
pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT SIX
(Bank Fraud -- 31-37 101st Street, East Elmhurst, New York)

          39.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          40. On or about November 20, 2006, a closing was held
for a mortgage loan issued by Sun Trust Mortgage and secured by
31-37 101st Street, East Elmhurst, New York. This closing was 
held in Queens, New York at the offices of the defendants 
MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          41.  In or about and between July 2006 and November
2006, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN, ELIAS COMPRES and AARON RABINOWITZ, together
with others, did knowingly and intentionally execute a scheme and
artifice to defraud Sun Trust Mortgage and to obtain moneys,
funds and credits owned by and under the custody and control of
said financial institution by means of materially false and
fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
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COUNT SEVEN
(Wire Fraud -- 22-25 128th Street, College Point, New York)

          42.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          43. On or about November 20, 2006, a closing was held
for a mortgage loan issued by New Century and secured by 22-25
128th Street, College Point, New York. This closing was held in 
Queens, New York at the offices of the defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN
and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          44.  In or about and between July 2006 and November
2006, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Southern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN, ELIAS COMPRES and AARON RABINOWITZ, together
with others, did knowingly and intentionally devise a scheme and
artifice to defraud New Century, and to obtain money and property
from New Century by means of materially false and fraudulent
pretenses, representations and promises, and for the purpose of
executing such scheme and artifice, did transmit and cause to be
transmitted, by means of wire communication in interstate
commerce, writings, signs, signals, pictures and sounds, to wit:
a funding wire transmission from Deutsche Bank in New York, New
York to Commerce Bank in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey on November 20,
2006.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
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COUNT EIGHT
(Bank Fraud -- 98-15 32nd Avenue, East Elmhurst, New York)

          45.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          46. On or about November 20, 2006, a closing was held
for a mortgage loan issued by National City, through its 
subsidiary National City Mortgage and secured by 98-15 32nd 
Avenue, East Elmhurst, New York. This closing was held in
Northport, New York.
          47.  In or about and between July 2006 and November
2006, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant ELIAS
COMPRES, together with others, did knowingly and intentionally
execute a scheme and artifice to defraud National City, through
its subsidiary National City Mortgage, and to obtain moneys,
funds and credits owned by and under the custody and control of
said financial institution by means of materially false and
fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT NINE
(Bank Fraud -- 23-43 100th Street, East Elmhurst, New York)

          48.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
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          49. On or about November 28, 2006, a closing was 
held for a mortgage loan issued by Fremont and secured by 22-43
100th Street, East Elmhurst, New York. This closing was held in
Queens, New York at the offices of the defendants MATTHEW 
BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          50.  In or about and between July 2006 and November
2006, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN, ELIAS COMPRES and AARON RABINOWITZ, together
with others, did knowingly and intentionally execute a scheme
and artifice to defraud Fremont and to obtain moneys, funds 
and credits owned by and under the custody and control of said
financial institution by means of materially false and fraudulent
pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT TEN
(Bank Fraud -- 89-09 84th Street, Woodhaven, New York)

          51.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          52. On or about January 31, 2007, a closing was held
for a mortgage loan issued by Countrywide, through its 
subsidiary, Countrywide Home Loans and secured by 89-09 84th
Street, Woodhaven, New York. This closing was held in Queens,
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New York at the offices of the defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN
and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          53.  In or about and between December 2006 and February
2007, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ, together with others, did
knowingly and intentionally execute a scheme and artifice to
defraud Countrywide, through its subsidiary, Countrywide Home
Loans, and to obtain moneys, funds and credits owned by and under
the custody and control of said financial institution by means of
materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and
promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT ELEVEN
(Wire Fraud -- 24-50 93rd Street, Woodhaven, New York)

          54.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          55. On or about January 31, 2007, a closing was held
for a mortgage loan issued by New Century and secured by 
24-50 93rd Street, Woodhaven, New York. This closing was held 
in Queens, New York at the offices of the defendants 
MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          56.  In or about and between December 2006 and February
2007, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
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Southern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ, together with others, did
knowingly and intentionally devise a scheme and artifice to
defraud New Century, and to obtain money and property from New
Century by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses,
representations and promises, and for the purpose of executing
such scheme and artifice, did transmit and cause to be
transmitted, by means of wire communication in interstate
commerce, writings, signs, signals, pictures and sounds, to wit:
a funding wire transmission from Deutsche Bank in New York, New
York to Commerce Bank in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey on January 31,
2007. (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
                           COUNT TWELVE
(Bank Fraud -- 108-35 Ditmars Boulevard, East Elmhurst, New York)
          57.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          58.  On or about June 4, 2007, a closing was held for a
mortgage loan issued by Countrywide, through its subsidiary,
Countrywide Home Loans and secured by 108-35 Ditmas Boulevard,
East Elmhurst, New York.  This closing was held in Red Bank, New
Jersey.
          59.  In or about and between May 2007 and June 2007,
both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the Eastern
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District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant ELIAS COMPRES,
together with others, did knowingly and intentionally execute a
scheme and artifice to defraud Countrywide, through its
subsidiary, Countrywide Home Loans, and to obtain moneys, funds
and credits owned by and under the custody and control of said
financial institution by means of materially false and fraudulent
pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT THIRTEEN
(Bank Fraud -- 187-29 91st Avenue, Hollis, New York)

          60.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          61. On or about July 17, 2007, a closing was held 
for a mortgage loan issued by Wells Fargo, through its subsidiary,
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and secured by 187-29 91st Avenue, 
Hollis, New York. This closing was held in Queens, New York at 
the offices of the defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON
RABINOWITZ.
          62.  In or about and between June 2007 and August 2007,
both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the Eastern
District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants MATTHEW
BURSTEIN, JOHN CONSTANTINIDES and AARON RABINOWITZ, together with
others, did knowingly and intentionally execute a scheme and
artifice to defraud Wells Fargo, through its subsidiary, Wells
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Fargo Home Mortgage, and to obtain moneys, funds and credits
owned by and under the custody and control of said financial
institution by means of materially false and fraudulent
pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT FOURTEEN
(Bank Fraud -- 31-29 93rd Street, Jackson Heights, New York)

          63.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          64. On or about August 20, 2007, a closing was 
held for a mortgage loan issued by Wells Fargo, through its subsidiary, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and secured by 31-29 93rd
Street, Jackson Heights, New York. This closing was held in 
Queens, New York at the offices of the defendants MATTHEW 
BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          65.  In or about and between July 2007 and September
2007, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN, JOHN CONSTANTINIDES and AARON RABINOWITZ,
together with others, did knowingly and intentionally execute a
scheme and artifice to defraud Wells Fargo, through its
subsidiary, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and to obtain moneys,
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funds and credits owned by and under the custody and control of
said financial institution by means of materially false and
fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT FIFTEEN
(Bank Fraud -- 23-16 99th Street, East Elmhurst, New York)

          66.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
67. On or about August 30, 2007, a closing was held for a mortgage loan issued by Wells Fargo, through its subsidiary, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and secured by 23-16 99th Street, East Elmhurst, New York. This closing was held in Queens, New York at the offices of the defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          68.  In or about and between July 2007 and September
2007, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN, JOHN CONSTANTINIDES and AARON RABINOWITZ,
together with others, did knowingly and intentionally execute a
scheme and artifice to defraud Wells Fargo, through its
subsidiary, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and to obtain moneys,
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funds and credits owned by and under the custody and control of
said financial institution by means of materially false and
fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT SIXTEEN
(Bank Fraud -- 81-09 91st Avenue, Woodhaven, New York)

          69.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
70. On or about December 5, 2007, a closing was held for a mortgage loan issued by IndyMac, through its subsidiary, IndyMac Mortgage Services and secured by 81-09 91st Avenue, Woodhaven, New York. This closing was held in Queens, New York at the offices of the defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          71.  In or about and between November 2007 and January
2008, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ, together with others, did
knowingly and intentionally execute a scheme and artifice to
defraud IndyMac, through its subsidiary, IndyMac Mortgage
Services, and to obtain moneys, funds and credits owned by and
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under the custody and control of said financial institution by
means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses,
representations and promises.
          (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
COUNT SEVENTEEN
(Bank Fraud -- 88-19 77th Street, Woodhaven, New York)

          72.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
73. On or about December 28, 2007, a closing was held for a mortgage loan issued by Wells Fargo, through its subsidiary, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and secured by 88-19 77th Street, Woodhaven. This closing was held in Queens, New York at the offices of the defendants MATTHEW BURSTEIN and AARON RABINOWITZ.
          74.  In or about and between November 2007 and January
2008, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants
MATTHEW BURSTEIN, JOHN CONSTANTINIDES, and AARON RABINOWITZ,
together with others, did knowingly and intentionally execute a
scheme and artifice to defraud Wells Fargo, through its
subsidiary, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and to obtain moneys,
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funds and credits owned by and under the custody and control of
said financial institution by means of materially false and
fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises. (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 2 and 3551 et seq.)
COUNT EIGHTEEN
(Wire Fraud -- 80-33 88th Road, Woodhaven, New York)

          75.  The allegations contained in paragraphs one
through twenty-four are realleged and incorporated as if set
forth fully in this paragraph.
          76. On or about March 5, 2009, a closing was held 
for a mortgage loan issued by Lend-Mor and secured by 80-33
88th Road, Woodhaven, New York. This closing was held in 
New York, New York.
          77.  In or about and between December 2008 and March
2009, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the
Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant ROLANDO
E. ROLDAN, together with others, did knowingly and intentionally
devise a scheme and artifice to defraud Lend-Mor, and to obtain
money and property from Lend-Mor by means of materially false and
fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, and for the
purpose of executing such scheme and artifice, did transmit and
cause to be transmitted, by means of wire communication in
interstate, writings, signs, signals, pictures and sounds, to
wit: a facsimile of a verification of employment form from Lend-
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Mor in Valley Stream, New York to Westmore Fuel Company in
Greenwich, Connecticut on February 12, 2009.(Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343, 2 and
3551 et seq.)
                  CRIMINAL FORFEITURE ALLEGATION
          78.  The United States hereby gives notice to the
defendants that, upon their conviction of any of the above-
charged offenses, the government will seek forfeiture in
accordance with Title 18, United States Code, Section
981(a)(1)(c) and Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461(c),
which require any person convicted of such offenses to forfeit
any property constituting or derived from proceeds obtained
directly or indirectly as a result of such offenses.
          79.  If any of the above-described forfeitable
property, as a result of any act or omission of the defendants:
               (a)  cannot be located upon the exercise of due
diligence;
               (b)  has been transferred or sold to, or deposited
with, a third party;
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(c)  has been placed beyond the jurisdiction of
(d)  has been substantially diminished in value;
(e)  has been commingled with other property which
the court; or cannot be divided without difficulty;it is the intent of the United States, pursuant to Title 21,United States Code, Section 853(p), as incorporated by Title 28,United States Code, Section 2461(c), to seek forfeiture of anyother property of the defendants up to the value of theforfeitable property described in this forfeiture allegation.(Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461(c); Title 18, United States Code, Sections 981(a)(1)(c) and 982(a)(2)(A); Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(p))
A TRUE BILL, FOREPERSON
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LORETTA E. LYNCH,UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2