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.”
It took me just an hour and a half to get a fake ID in New York City’s ground zero for the fraudulent document business — Roosevelt Ave. in Queens.
The Jackson Heights neighborhood is the epicenter of fake paper mills — rackets that fuel teenage drinking and identity theft and also create fake green cards and passports that can pose a serious security threat.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens), whose district includes the Roosevelt Ave. area, is reintroducing legislation to crack down on the flourishing illegal industry.
With so many businesses moving toward paperless operation nowadays, it would seem to be only a matter of time before the world’s oldest profession followed suit.
But in Corona, Queens, around 4:30 p.m. on May 21, there stood a throwback to the old days, in front of a travel agency on 104th Street near busy Roosevelt Avenue.
He was holding “chica cards.” On each card was a picture of a nearly naked woman, and a telephone number.
Three years ago, on Roosevelt Avenue, the cards seemed to be everywhere.
“The kids were picking them up and trading them like baseball cards,” said State Senator José R. Peralta, whose district includes that neighborhood and who introduced the bill in 2011. “The parents came to me complaining about this issue. They brought to the office dozens and dozens of cards.” The pictures required little imagination.
En queens, un proyecto contra el trafico humano, trata de proteger a inmigrantes, para que no caigan en las redes del trafico sexual. Funcionarios, activistas y sobrevivientes lo presentaron frente a la corte criminal de queens. Yaima crespo nos trae los detalles.
Las victimas de trafico humano en la ciudad de nueva york, en su mayoria mujeres hispanas que se convierten en esclavas sexuales, ahora tendran acceso a representacion legal gratis de reconocidas firmas de abogados y ademas recibiran asesoria para legalizar su estatus migratorio. "Ellos me ayudaron con mi caso de inmigracion, me hicieron mi estatus legal en este pais, que yo estaba en deportacion , y a recuperar la a mis hijas."
“Published reports and a City Council hearing today are shining a long overdue light on NYCHA’s broken system for providing emergency shelter to victims of domestic violence.
“It is a travesty to require women to risk their lives to produce the paperwork needed to qualify for emergency housing—and then not provide that housing.
“The expansion of the list of crimes that would not require a second documented instance of abuse is a welcome change, but more needs to be done to protect those who are unable to go to the police in the first place.”
“I have introduced a bill that would enable domestic violence victims to be considered for emergency NYCHA housing without having to first contact authorities and put themselves in danger of retribution from their batterers.
“What my bill can’t do is make NYCHA cut wait times of as long as 10 years. That is something NYCHA needs to address.
“The many advocates for domestic violence victims who support my bill do so because the lack of safe, affordable, permanent housing is one of the biggest impediments victims face in their effort to escape an abusive environment. NYCHA has taken a small first step toward cutting red tape for victims, but much, much more needs to be done to fix the system.”
"The good news is that millions of upstanding, hardworking undocumented immigrants will now be able to continue contributing to our economy without having to live and work in fear of deportation.
"The bad news is that millions of other upstanding, hardworking undocumented immigrants will remain in the shadows of our economy and society.
"President Obama is to be applauded for taking a strong first step toward long-overdue reform of our broken immigration system. Like the president, we in New York should not wait on Congress to make additional necessary repairs.
"The DREAM Act is sensible, compassionate public policy. It is the law in Texas, a red state, California, a blue state, and New Mexico, a purple state. Here, the New York DREAM Act is supported by editorial boards throughout the state, including those at newspapers as different as the New York Post, The New York Times and the Daily News.
"Let’s follow the bipartisan example of the five states that have already passed a DREAM Act. Let's collaborate in New York on making an investment in our young people, our economy and our state’s future that will pay for itself several times over."