Connecticut man charged in Spring Valley robbery ,suspected in second

SPRING VALLEY — A 43-year-old Connecticut man has been charged with the gunpoint robbery of a village convenience store and is suspected of robbing a deli 12 hours earlier in late November, police said Tuesday.

After an investigation aided by surveillance video, police charged Tony Curtis Hunt with one count of first-degree robbery for stealing close to $1,500 from the N&K Quick Pick at 2 Hickory St., police said.

He’s accused of robbing the Hickory Street store on Nov. 28. Hours later, Hunt is suspected of stealing $1,000 from the Latin Food Mart on South Main Street, Spring Valley Detective Sgt. James Noble said.

Read more at LoHud

Rene Charles children hear guilty plea in 1994 Spring Valley shooting

Rene Charles’ four children appeared to listen intently as Daniel Jean-Baptiste admitted Monday in Rockland County Court in New City that he helped orchestrate the 1994 killing of their father, who was shot multiple times in the driveway of their Spring Valley home.

Jean-Baptiste, 69, faces 12 years in state prison when sentenced April 2 on his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter before Judge William Nelson.

Another man shot Charles on Oct. 20, 1994, in retaliation for a supposed affair between Charles and the wife of Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste drove the shooter to the house, knowing he intended to kill Charles.

“He was going to kill Rene Charles,” Jean-Baptiste told Nelson under questioning from prosecutor Stephen Moore.

Read more at LoHud with video of Mildred Charles talking about the guilty plea

Sandy Anabi case: Judge grants Mangone pre-sentencing vacation

NEW YORK Disgraced lawyerattorney Anthony Mangone will get some time in the sun before he’s sentenced on federal corruption and bribery charges.

Just when he will be sentenced remains undetermined — but his vacation is a done deal.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon on Tuesday granted Mangone, 39, permission to travel to Palm Beach, Fla., the day after Christmas for a five-day stay.

“The purpose of the trip is to visit family living in the Palm Beach County area,” Mangone’s lawyerattorney, James DeVita, wrote in a letter to McMahon. The judge promptly approved the request.

Mangone was indicted in January 2010 with former Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and onetime city GOP boss Zehy Jereis, but later pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

His sentencing date has not been set.

Read the entire report here.

Suffern contractor Motz charged by DA for 2nd time in 4 months

For the second time in four months, Suffern home improvement contractor Scott Motz has been charged in Rockland with taking money from a homeowner and then not doing the work or accounting for the costs.

Motz, 43, who owns S.T.M. Construction, has been charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony. He’s accused of stealing $4,400 from a Suffern resident by not replacing the homeowner’s roof, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said Monday.

Read more at LoHud.com

Clarkstown police seeking reasons behind Palisades Mall stabbing

A cab driver stabs two men outside Macy’s in the Palisades Mall parking lot just before 2 a.m., Clarkstown police say. Both men were taken to Nyack Hospital.
Police are not releasing many details of what occurred. Detectives are talking with the cab driver, who apparently picked up three men at the mall. The cabbie and a third fare were not injured.

Clarkstown Police Sgt. Jo Anne Fratianni released the following news release:
“The Clarkstown Police Department is investigating an incident which took place at approximately 2:00 AM near the Palisades Mall bus stop. The incident stemmed from an argument involving a cab driver and three passengers. Two of the passengers received stab wounds during the incident. The cab driver was uninjured. The incident is under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time. The two injured parties were transported to Nyack Hospital and are still being treated for their injuries.”

Here’s an earlier article on LoHud.com

Trial on charge of stealing $3M in lottery ticket winnings set for January

After several weeks of trial testimony ended with a hung jury earlier this month, the Rockland District Attorney’s Office will make a second stab at prosecuting three men on a felony charge of swindling an illegal immigrant out of his $3 million winnings from a scratch-off lottery ticket.

A trial date of Jan. 13 has been set by Rockland County Court Judge William Nelson on a first-degree grand larceny charge against Atif Ali, 29, of Spring Valley, Riaz Khan, 46, and Mubeen Ashraf, 24, both of Monroe. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Prosecutors accused the trio of coercing Elfido DeLaRoca, 45, into signing over his ownership of the winning ticket to Ali. They were accused of telling him he couldn’t claim the money because he was illegal and would be deported to his native Guatemala and never see his daughter, 2, again.

DeLaRoca bought the winning scratch-off ticket at A to Z Deli on Hickory Street on Feb. 3, 2011. Khan owns the store, where Ali and Ashraf work. DeLaRoca testified that they took his cell phone so a lottery investigator couldn’t contact him and told him what to tell her during a conversation or they would report him to immigration.

Trial testimony included the investigator saying she told DeLaRoca he wouldn’t be deported. She also said she told him he could keep the money and he didn’t need to allow Ali to sign the ticket and scratch off his name.

Prosecutors also argued that Ali set up a bank account for the first $150,000 payment and obtained close to $400,000 on four advanced payments from a finance company. They said DeLaRoca was never told about the bank accout and received $1,300.

Defense lawyers argued – and a lawyer testified – to the jury that DeLaRoca signed a contract to split the winnings 50-50 with Ali and a second contract to take cash payments. The attorneys argued DeLaRoca was trying to back out of the agreement.

DeLaRoca testified he agreed to give the three men 5 percent for Ali to front as the winning ticket owner.

They said he turned down $40,000 in checks and the lawyer told the jury that DeLaRoca understood what he was signing. DeLaRoca testified he speaks little English and doesn’t read the language.

The winning money and the bank account are frozen by court order.

While prosecutors Anthony Dellicarri and Gary Lee Heavner voiced confidence in their case, Ali’s lawyer,  former Orange County Court Judge Stewart Rosenwasser, said the prosecution’s “case had too many holes” and that’s the message the jurors gave the attorneys after the verdict.

Judge wants legal opinions in trustee case

Spring Valley Justice Alan Simon today asked for legal arguments on whether the courts have legal jurisdiction when elected officials curse and yell at one another during public meetings.

Simon ordered the prosecutor and defense lawyer to provide legal opinions on whether Village Board Trustee Anthony Leon can be charged with a non-criminal harassment violation for his alleged verbal assault on Trustee Demeza Delhomme during a Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 25.

During Leon’s arraignment on the non-criminal violation of second-degree harassment, Simon cited the separation of the three branches of government, and said government officials have had leeway historically to yell and scream at one another without their actions being criminal.

He also reprimanded any elected official for inappropriate behavior but noted they are held accountable by voters.

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