THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS
October 20 to October 24, 2014
Schneiderman Secures Murder Conviction In 1979 Buffalo Cold Case
After a two-week trial and just three hours of jury deliberation, Attorney General Schneiderman announced the conviction of Michael Rodriguez for the 1979 murder of his estranged wife, Patricia Scinta Rodriguez, in Buffalo. Rodriguez faces life in prison for his crimes. The Attorney General praised the verdict, emphasizing that it serves as “a reminder that we will never stop seeking justice for victims and their families.”
Schneiderman Issues Consumer Alert On Ebola-Related Scams
Attorney General Schneiderman warned New Yorkers to watch out for scammers using public concern about the Ebola virus to perpetuate frauds. Reports have surfaced of fundraising scams claiming to benefit victims of Ebola. There have also been dubious offers by companies selling bogus Ebola preparedness kits and preventative medications while there is not an FDA-approved vaccine for Ebola. The Attorney General provided a number of tips for consumers, and encouraged anyone to immediately report dubious charitable solicitations to his office at (212) 416-8402.
Schneiderman Announces Arrest And Indictment Of Nonprofit Executives Charged In Kickback And Insurance Fraud Schemes
Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office arrested the top two executives of Narco Freedom – a nonprofit organization that provides treatment for substance abuse to tens of thousands of New York City residents – for allegedly abusing their positions to fund their extravagant lifestyles, including mansions on Long Island and in Florida and expensive cars. One executive is accused of receiving personal kickbacks for housing some of Narco Freedom’s facilities in the buildings of a particular real estate developer. Both are accused of falsely filing a $3.5 million insurance claim for the restoration of a Narco Freedom treatment facility in Brooklyn.
Schneiderman & State Education Department Launch Review Of Enrollment Procedures For Undocumented Students
More than 30 years after the Supreme Court guaranteed a free public education for undocumented children, Attorney General Schneiderman announced his office’s immediate compliance review with the State Education Department of school district enrollment policies and procedures for unaccompanied minors and other undocumented students. The review, which will examine whether students are being denied their constitutional right to an education, will initially focus on school districts in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland counties, which are experiencing the largest influx of unaccompanied minors from Central and South America.
Schneiderman Praises Settlement In Hurrell-Harring V. New York State Lawsuit
Attorney General Schneiderman applauded the settlement reached by Governor Cuomo and the New York Civil Liberties Union in the case of Hurrell-Harring v. New York State, which will create a system to provide effective representation for criminal defendants in the five counties covered in this lawsuit. The Attorney General praised the decision for guaranteeing the right that “protects all the rest of our freedoms,” and expressed his hope that the settlement will lead to statewide reforms to provide every criminal defendant with effective legal representation.
Schneiderman Reaches Agreement With Newburgh Police Department To Strengthen Language Access Services
Attorney General Schneiderman reached an agreement with the Newburgh Police Department that will help strengthen language access services – including interpretation and translation – for residents who are limited English proficient (LEP). Newburgh’s population is nearly 48 percent Hispanic, among the largest percentage of any city in New York State. This agreement follows similar efforts with the Nassau County Police Department, the Rochester Police Department, the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department and the Middletown Police Department to ensure every New Yorker has access to the important public safety services provided by law enforcement agencies, regardless of their language ability.
Schneiderman Sues Monroe County Beverage Distributor For Repeated Violations Of New York’s Bottle Bill
Attorney General Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Rochester’s The Juice Factory for allegedly violating multiple provisions of New York’s Bottle Bill, a hallmark environmental law that protects the states recycling and litter prevention efforts. The lawsuit alleges The Juice Factory collected deposits on beverage containers it sold in Monroe and Erie counties but failed to send $79,571 in unclaimed deposits to the State, as required by law.
Schneiderman Announces $170,000 Settlement With Yonkers Auto Dealer Over Bogus “Buyout Fee”
Attorney General Schneiderman reached a settlement with a Westchester Toyota dealer that was adding a bogus “buyout fee” to the price customers paid for buying their vehicle at the end of their lease – without providing any additional services in exchange. Under the settlement, Westchester Toyota will repay a total of $149,407 to 228 customers who were charged the bogus buyout fee.
In Other News…
New Yorkers who were defrauded by the International Immigrants Foundation (IIF) or the International Professional Association (IPA) now have until November 6th to file a claim for restitution for his office’s $2.2 million fund.
Executive Deputy A.G. Karla Sanchez was on Good Morning America to discuss the Attorney General’s investigation into Monster Energy, which allegedly encouraged underage college students to throw parties and mix the energy drinks with alcohol.
Attorney General wished a Happy Diwali to all families celebrating.
This week’s Throwback Thursday: The Attorney General’s tour of the Saratoga Arms Fair, highlighting his office’s gun show safety protocol, with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Capital Mark Kelly – one year ago this month.
Visit our website at ag.ny.gov, where you can learn more about the office’s various initiatives. You can also contact us here.
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Posted by Charles and Randy Fisher (Twitter / Instagram / FaceBook @HHSYC).