In this case, Defendant has been charged with grand larceny, grand larceny by extortion, money laundering, and intimidating a witness.
Complainants are the principal officers of the general contractor engaged in the rehabilitation of a hotel. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the defendant demanded periodic cash payments from Complainants in exchange for a guarantee of labor peace. He has influence over union business agents monitoring the rehabilitation project. A portion of the collection was given to his organized crime associates to make sure the rehabilitation ran smoothly. Complainants believed these representations and that they were thereby initially induced to pay the defendant out of fear of economic harm. Jurisprudence dictates that fear of future economic harm is sufficient to establish extortion under the statute. Larceny by extortion does not require evidence of an actual ability to cause the threatened harm in the threatened manner, only that the person threatened believed the defendant possessed such ability. In this connection, the court noted that the evidence of the defendant’s assaults, reputation for violence and of his self-proclaimed ties to organized crime was properly admitted as contributing to the credibility of his threats and of the victims’ fear that they would be realized.
With respect to defendant’s indictment for grand larceny in the first degree, the bill of particulars clearly indicates with respect to this count that the Prosecution’s sole theory of larceny was extortion. The count, however, fails to specifically allege that the larceny was committed by extortion. Hence, the count is dismissed for failure to allege larceny by extortion.
Section 155.45 of the Penal Law states that “[w]here it is an element of the crime charged that property was taken from the person or obtained by extortion, an indictment for larceny must so specify. In all other cases, an indictment … for larceny is sufficient if it alleges that the defendant stole property of the nature or value required for the commission of the crime charged without designating the particular way or manner in which such property was stolen or the particular theory of larceny involved.”
When the Prosecution relied upon a theory of larceny by extortion under those sections of the Penal Law which expressly included extortion as part of the definition of the offense, failure specifically to plead extortion requires dismissal of that count of the indictment. A New York Criminal Lawyer said it is also clear that evidence of larceny by extortion will not support a charge of larceny pleaded generally. Every indictment must contain a concise statement of fact supporting every element of the offense charged, in cases where the Prosecution relied upon a larceny section which includes extortion in the definition of the offense, extortion necessarily would have to be alleged. Hence, the court dismissed the count for failure to allege larceny by extortion.
The defendant is also charged with six counts of money laundering in the second degree. Three counts alleged that the defendant intentionally made the exchange to conceal and disguise the nature and source of the proceeds. The other three counts alleged that the defendant intentionally made the exchange to aid himself and another person to commit and profit and benefit from specified criminal conduct.
With regard to the first three counts, the evidence established Defendant’s intent to conceal and disguise the nature and source of the funds as the product of extortion. The use of checks from Complainants’ company payable to Defendant’s company disguised the nature of the proceeds as a large denomination of hundred dollar bills. Moreover, a New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the defendant used the checks to create the appearance of a legitimate expenditure by Complainant’s company to Defendant’s company, in order to conceal from anyone who might subsequently investigate, that the source of the funds was criminal. Accordingly, the counts were sustained by the Court.
The remaining counts of money laundering in the second degree are based upon the defendant’s demand that Complainants deposit fifty thousand dollars in an Irish bank account in his wife’s name. Here, the money deposited was the product of the crime. Accordingly, only the first part of the required exchange occurred. Nonetheless, the evidence justifies the inference that the defendant intended by this deposit in his wife’s name, to conceal the source of this money and to benefit from his extortion. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said only the further requirement of his wife’s personal presence to complete forms, prevented culmination of the exchange. Since the evidence showed that the Complainants’ deposit of the money placed it within the defendant’s power to complete the exchange, which he apparently failed to do only out of fear of detection, the Court reduced these counts to an attempt to commit money laundering in the second degree.
With respect to the count of intimidating a witness in the third degree, the court held that intimidating Complainants from returning to New York and communicating information regarding the defendant’s crimes would have thwarted the criminal justice processes of New York County in particular. Hence the counts were sustained by the court.
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