After the recent stabbing of Ever Orozco and years of prostitution, violence and other crimes, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) is demanding changes be made to end the violence on Roosevelt Avenue.
Orozco, who was allegedly stabbed by a 22-year-old man who thought the 69-year-old blew kisses and made sexual gestures at him as the two crossed paths at 90th Street in Jackson Heights. The police are calling the case a hate crime.
“The recent incidents of deadly violence on Roosevelt Avenue in broad daylight, underscore the fact that we need a lot more than trash bins and video cameras to make Roosevelt Avenue safe,” the senator wrote in a statement.
State Senator Jose Peralta issued a statement regarding the strip club billboard at 105-13 Northern Blvd. in Corona: “Like everyone else that I have spoken to who has seen the billboard, I believe that the female pictured looks far too young to be featured in an advertisement for a strip club. It is a jarring image that is offensive and sickening. That it sits above a church is an especially twisted mockery.”
The recent incidents of deadly violence on Roosevelt Ave. — two murders committed in broad daylight within days of each other last month — underscore the fact that we need a lot more than trash bins and video cameras to make Roosevelt Ave. safe.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m in favor of the proposed expansion of the 82nd St. Business Improvement District, which would cover more than 800 businesses on Roosevelt Ave. from 81st St. to 104th St. Fresh paint, additional trash cans and video cameras are certainly welcome. And banding together under the banner of the BID would be good for the small merchants and vendors along the avenue.
But Roosevelt Ave. is referred to as the old Times Square, and for good reason. When police successfully cracked down on prostitution in Times Square and midtown in the 1980s, much of the business simply moved to Roosevelt Ave., where it is fueled, in part, by the sale of foreign-born women into sexual slavery.
As Congress debates comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) has proposed a bill that would give undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses.
“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” Peralta said. “In moving out of the shadows and into the economic mainstream, they will be less isolated and less vulnerable to predators and their scams.”
If elected mayor, Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio said he plans to bring New Yorkers out of the shadows by working for legislation that would make New York the fifth state to allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses.
According to de Blasio, this legislation would allow roadway safety by getting undocumented people who are already driving on our streets into driver’s education classes, covered by auto insurance, operating registered, driving inspected and insured vehicles.
Peralta assures that licenses would not be given out to anyone; only people who can prove who they are through a non-U.S. form of identification, prove residence in the States and demonstrate they have not been convicted of a crime.
With holiday shopping bills coming due, State Senator Jose Peralta is cautioning consumers to keep an eye out for unauthorized or suspicious transactions on their bank and credit card statements and is introducing legislation to help law enforcement crack down on “21st Century” organized crime activity.
Identity theft and the confiscation of personal information, such as bank PINs, are not "seasonal" crimes, but they occur with greater frequency during periods of increased financial activity—like the Christmas shopping season.
Gangs are becoming more involved in these and other white-collar crimes, such as bank fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting and mortgage fraud, according to the FBI's National Gang Intelligence Center, which identifies New York and Florida as the twin epicenters of this troubling new development in organized crime.
“Despite the increasing prominence of these crimes, the law used in New York to prosecute gangs and organized crime organizations does not include a wide variety of cyber and identity crimes,” Senator Peralta said. “That’s not surprising considering that when the Enterprise Corruption Statute was passed in 1986, pagers were the cutting-edge personal technology of the day and the identity theft law did not even exist.”
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who worked closely with Senator Peralta in drafting the legislation, said, “Those committing the crimes of identity theft are well-organized enterprises that inflict economic harm on a global scale, often leaving multiple victims and significant financial losses in their wake. My office has utilized the enterprise corruption statute in the past to pursue justice against those committing these crimes and this legislative fix to strengthen the law will allow us to do that more efficiently. I thank Senator Peralta for his leadership in introducing this legislation and for recognizing that the law must keep pace with emerging technology.”
Including crimes such as identity theft in the Enterprise Corruption Statute would also save the state money by eliminating duplicative legal proceedings, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per case.
When a defendant is charged with the crime of enterprise corruption by committing larceny through identity theft, for example, current law requires the defendant be indicted twice for the same underlying actions—one indictment for enterprise corruption and larceny and a second indictment for the identity theft charges.
In turn, a defendant must also be arraigned twice, have bail set twice and have two sets of motions. In the end, a defendant is tried for the same conduct not once, but twice.
In addition to being needlessly costly to the state, the current law is inequitable to defendants, who also face duplicative costs stemming from needing to pay two retainers to defense counsel.
Here’s a small sampling of high-profile cases of new-age organized crime activity: U.S. Says Ring Stole 160 Million Credit Card Numbers; an identity theft ring spearheaded by the Crips, Bloods and a Brooklyn-based gang called the Outlaws stole more than $2 million from New York charities; a cyber-theft of 10 million credit and debit card records was attributed to a New York City based street gang with ties to Central America; a Romanian man with ties to organized crime was charged with stealing at least $1.5 million by installing "skimmer" devices at ATM machines across New York City and Long Island.
“The bill would bring the law into the 21st Century,” Senator Peralta said. “And it would make it easier for police and prosecutors to go after gangs and organized crime syndicates, in addition to saving the state money.”
Believing the political climate is now in their favor, advocates are launching a major push to allow undocumented immigrants to get New York State driver’s licenses.
Members of more than 50 organizations met Tuesday with an umbrella group known as the New York Immigration Coalition to set their campaign in motion.
“We have really decided to go forward, and go forward full steam,” said Steven Choi, the coalition’s executive director. “We are hearing from our members, from Brentwood in Long Island all the way to Buffalo, that driver’s licenses are a major issue.”
ALBANY — Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the state's Catholic bishops have come out strongly in favor of creating a state DREAM Act allowing state financial aid to go to the college kids of undocumented immigrants.
"It's one of our top priorities this year," state Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust said.
The Catholic Conference, a strong advocate for national immigration reform, views the DREAM Act legislation sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) as something the state can do in the interim.
Catholic bishops in New York are calling the DREAM Act one of the church’s top priorities for this year’s legislative session. The Church also supports immigration reform on a national level. But with those efforts stalled, attention is shifting to the states, and in this case, the state senate, where it looks like there are not enough votes to pass the bill.
Senator Jose Peralta is trying to convince his colleagues to change their minds. He joined us to discuss.