THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS
September 29 to October 3, 2014
Schneiderman, Comptroller DiNapoli & U.S. Attorney Hartunian Announce Arrest And Indictment Of New York State Assemblyman William Scarborough
In New York City, Attorney General Schneiderman was joined by Comptroller DiNapoli to detail the state and federal criminal charges against New York State Assemblyman William Scarborough, who allegedly stole a total of more than $80,000 in campaign funds and travel reimbursements for his personal use. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 37 years in prison.
The indictment of Assemblyman Scarborough is just the latest public corruption case brought by a historic partnership between Attorney General Schneiderman and Comptroller DiNapoli. Since 2011, Operation Integrity has also resulted in public corruption cases against more than 50 individuals, including a sitting New York State senator and New York City councilmember.
During events in the Hudson Valley and the Capital Region, Attorney General Schneiderman announced that his office is committing up to $40 million in additional funding to his Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), which supports 89 organizations across New York that provide free, high quality housing counseling and legal services to struggling homeowners. The new funding, which will extend the program for an additional two years, brings the total commitment of funds by the Attorney General’s Office to $100 million over five years to help New York families stay in their homes. Since 2012, HOPP has helped more than 34,000 families, assisting more than 11,000 in securing needed mortgage loan modifications. The Attorney General encouraged any New Yorker fighting foreclosure to contact his HOPP hotline at 855-HOME-456 or visiting www.aghomehelp.com.
Schneiderman Works With Party City To End Discrimination Against Job Applicants With Criminal Records
Attorney General Schneiderman reached an agreement with Party City to ensure that the company complies with New York laws prohibiting discrimination against individuals with criminal records, ending its practice of automatically disqualifying individuals with felony convictions from advancement. Among other discoveries, the Attorney General’s investigation uncovered statements made by a human resources manager for Party City who, at a job fair, stated that the company did not hire individuals with felony convictions. This settlement follows a similar deal reached with Bed, Bath & Beyond earlier this year to “ban the box” at stores statewide.
Attorney General Schneiderman issued a consumer alert about a scam targeting school districts across New York and at least 21 other states. The scam involves a bogus company named Scholastic School Supply mailing phony invoices for English and Math workbooks that don’t even exist, in the hope of receiving payments without rendering goods or services. School districts that have been targeted are encouraged to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds Bureau by calling (800) 771-7755 or visiting www.ag.ny.gov.
Schneiderman Sues Brooklyn & Florida Law Firms Involved In Alleged Fraudulent Mortgage Rescue Scheme
Attorney General Schneiderman sued two Brooklyn and Florida-based law firms and their lead attorney, accusing them of running a fraudulent mortgage rescue scheme to prey upon financially vulnerable consumers seeking to stay in their homes. The lawsuit alleged the firms collected hundreds of dollars in monthly fees from consumers, claiming they would provide customers with a comprehensive legal services plan to avoid foreclosure or obtain a mortgage modification while routinely failing to deliver on those promises. The Attorney General even personally called the New York firm when he heard an ad on the radio that aroused his suspicions. After calling, he continued to receive repeated, aggressive solicitations, which was similar to the experiences of many other consumers.
Attorney General Schneiderman obtained a judgment against the CEO of a Rochester-based electronics company CandelTronics for repeatedly making fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions in order to raise money from local investors. The CEO is now required to pay more than $365,000 in restitution to defrauded investors as well as $35,000 in penalties, and is barred from owning, operating or managing a business in New York.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the arrest and indictment of a New York City police officer on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud, including falsely reporting his Mercedes-Benz as stolen to avoid lease payments. The defendant allegedly made these fraudulent automobile insurance claims to free himself from financial responsibility for high-end vehicles he couldn’t afford, pocket the insurance money for personal use, pay for repairs of pre-existing damage and add expensive features to various vehicles. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
In his latest action to protect workers’ rights, Attorney General Schneiderman arrested the owner of Westchester’s Elisa’s Food & Plus for allegedly failing to pay more than $35,000 in legally required wages to five former employees. Along with allegedly failing to pay a legal minimum wage, the defendant also allegedly failed to pay overtime to her employees, who sometimes worked more than 70 hours per week. If convicted, the defendant faces up to a year in jail.
Describing the news that JPMorgan was targeted in a massive cyberattack as “troubling,” Attorney General Schneiderman urged all impacted JPMorgan account holders to take basic precautions to protect themselves against identity theft and harm to their credit rating. The JPMorgan breach – which may have affected millions of consumers and small businesses – is just the latest in a disturbing trend reported by the Attorney General’s Office in July.
In Other News…
Is the smartphone kill switch working to deter black market sales of stolen phones? A Rochester TV station found that it is.
Staff members from the Attorney General’s Watertown Regional Office were at the Jefferson County Senior Health and Wellness Fair providing tips to seniors on protecting themselves from scams.
The Attorney General also wished all those observing Yom Kippur an easy fast.
This week’s Throwback Thursday: The historic swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
For more information on AG Schneiderman or other Politicians hit us up at RandyKFisher@gmail.com.
Posted by Charles and Randy Fisher (Twitter / FB / Instagram @HHSYC).