Indicted White Plains dentist has Gotti lawyer

UPDATE: BAKER HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO GRAND LARCENY AND INSURANCE FRAUD. CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORY.

White Plains dentist indicted for fraud will be represented at trial by one of the lawyers who successfully defended alleged Gambino Crime Family leader John Gotti Jr.

Attorney Charles Carnesi, who won acquittals at Gotti’s third and fourth federal trials, was hired by Dr. Joanne Baker to fight insurance fraud charges against her. Jury selection in Baker’s trial started this morning in Westchester County Court.

Baker, a 51-year-old Scarsdale resident, is accused of bilking Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. out of $15,000 from her office at 1 Bryant Crescent and then trying to cover it up. She is alleged to have billed MetLife for dental work that she never performed. Prosecutors say she created phony patient medical records and sent copies to the insurance firm, starting in September 2006.

About 18 patients came forward in 2008 to say Baker had billed MetLife for dental work she never provided. The National Insurance Crime Bureau, the MetLife Auto and Home Fraud Unit and the District Attorney’s Office investigated the claims, and Baker was arrested Sept. 23, 2008.

She has pleaded not guilty to the entite 13-count indictment charging her with grand larceny, insurance fraud, scheme to defraud and falsifying business records, all felonies. She is free on $10,000 bail.

Carnesi and Assistant District Attorney Brian Fitzgerald are expected to give opening statments at the dentist’s felony trial on Thursday, May 20 in front of Judge Barbara Zambelli.

Photo: Joanne Baker

Gotti jury deadlocked again

tjndc5-5gqvc5k5b8g7cp6bhoz_thumbnailIt’s official: there’s another hung jury in the case of reputed mobster “Junior” Gotti. Click here to read more about the story.

This makes 4 deadlocked juries. Four. It just begs questions: How many more times will be be tried? How many more times will the same witnesses have to take the stand? I’m not advocating that he be let go, but at what point does the U.S. Attorney’s office give up trying Gotti with the same evidence?

What do you think the feds should do?

Photo: John Gotti Jr. leaving the federal courthouse in White Plains in 2007


Barb from the bench

Judge Stephen C. Robinson has earned a reputation during his five and a half years on the bench at the Brieant Courthouse for a wit that is as sharp as it is quick.

Lawyers appearing before the judge have come to expect the judge’s quips — though to be fair Robinson is at least as likely to jab himself as anyone else. Usually, his able courtroom deputy Brandon Skolnik is his foil.

Today, though, it was defense lawyer Seth Ginsberg who was the target. Ginsberg, along with his co-counsel Charles Carnesi, has confounded federal prosecutors repeatedly in their efforts to nail alleged Gambino Crime Family scion John Gotti Jr. by battling them to a standoff at several trials. He was in White Plains today representing Renata Kuehl, a Patterson woman convicted of bank fraud who stood for sentencing.

Robinson greeted the prosecution team by name and turned to do the same with the defense table. After saying hello to Mr. Ginsberg and Mr. Carnesi, he said good morning to Ms. Ginsberg, mistakenly identifying the defendant before correcting himself.

“That’s my wife,” Ginsberg said, joking about the Mrs. Ginsberg reference.

Without missing a beat, the judge replied:

“She may need to be committed, not sentenced.”