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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
May 29, 2014

DA VANCE ANNOUNCES INDICTMENTS IN COMPLEX COCAINE, PRESCRIPTION PILLS, AND FINANCIAL FRAUD CASE

DA Vance: Case Illustrates the Growing Intersection between Street Crime and White Collar Crime

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictments of THOMAS LUCKEY, 38, and dozens of his co-conspirators for their involvement in a wide range of criminal activities, including a powder and crack cocaine operation, a prescription pill operation, and financial fraud. The case started as an investigation into street-level cocaine sellers, and later the suppliers, by the Manhattan DA’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit and the New York City Police Department’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan North. Investigators then uncovered a prescription pill ring, as well as identity theft and counterfeit check schemes. The Manhattan DA’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau and the NYPD’s Financial Crimes Task Force were brought into the investigation to handle the financial fraud aspect of the case.

LUCKEY and 14 additional defendants are charged in a 27-count indictment on charges including Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second and Third Degrees; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree; and Conspiracy in the Second and Fourth Degrees. In a separate 36-count indictment, LUCKEY and 24 defendants are charged with Grand Larceny in the Second, Third, and Fourth Degrees and Petit Larceny; Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree; Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree; and Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree.[1] 

“Criminals will try to make money in any way they can – on the streets or online,” said District Attorney Vance. “This case started as an investigation into street-level cocaine dealers, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. Investigators unraveled a diverse array of illegal moneymaking schemes that involved stealing victims’ personal identifying information to fill forged oxycodone prescriptions and cashing counterfeit checks. This case illustrates the growing intersection between street crime and white collar crime, as well as the strong collaboration between my Office and the NYPD.”

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “These individuals engaged each other in a series of illegal activities which ranged from the trafficking of narcotics to running an identity theft ring, but thanks to the hard work of the investigators and prosecutors involved, this network of individuals can no longer profit from their illicit enterprises.”

Cocaine and Prescription Pills

According to the indictment, from approximately February 2013 to May 2104, LUCKEY worked with co-conspirators to obtain, package, transport, and sell powder cocaine and crack cocaine. The defendants sold these drugs to an undercover police detective in Harlem, often near West 143rd Street and 8th Avenue.

As further detailed in the indictment, starting around July 29, 2013, investigators uncovered that LUCKEY, working with co-conspirators, also operated an oxycodone pill ring. Here is how the alleged scheme worked:

•    MARCUS ROBINSON, 26, stole personal identifying information of identity theft victims, including names and birth dates, and gave that information to LUCKEY.

•    LUCKEY gave that information to DONALD OWENS, 36, who used it to fill out stolen or forged prescriptions for oxycodone.
 
•    LUCKEY recruited and paid individuals, including SHANAY RUSSELL, 29, and VERNON MILLER, 41, to bring those stolen and forged prescriptions to pharmacies throughout New York State.

•    LUCKEY identified pharmacies where the defendants could fill those prescriptions without detection, or with the complicity of pharmacy employees. JOHN BABAJHANOV, 20, an employee at ProHealth Pharmacy in Jackson Heights, Queens, sold oxycodone pills to individuals who he knew were using stolen or forged prescriptions.

•    DAMIEN EDWARDS, 33, sold the oxycodone pills on the streets.

Detectives executing a search warrant recovered two kilos of heroin, one kilo of cocaine, approximately $100,000 cash, and a defaced firearm at HECTOR URIBE’s residence. URIBE, 45, is charged in the conspiracy as a cocaine supplier.

Financial Fraud

According to the indictment and other documents filed in court, during the narcotics investigation, investigators discovered that LUCKEY also participated in an identity theft and counterfeit check operation. LUCKEY worked closely with CARLTON CARTER, 30, who coordinated the financial schemes. The victimized banks included J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Citibank, TD Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and other financial institutions. The loss to the bank victims was more than $80,000; the identity theft victims included more than 40 individuals and businesses.

From approximately August 6, 2013 to April 10, 2014, the defendants engaged in the alleged financial fraud schemes:

Counterfeit Check Operation:
•    MELISSA PEGUERO, 28, an employee at a Pay-O-Matic check-cashing store, provided CARTER with account information from legitimate checks that had been cashed there. Some of these checks were drawn on the accounts of small businesses, churches, and charitable organizations.

•    HAROLD SMITH, 40, used this information to manufacture counterfeit checks, while ANDRE LEBRON, 38, created false identification cards.

•    LUCKEY recruited individuals to go inside banks with the false IDs, deposit the counterfeit checks, and withdraw money. Members of the scheme deposited checks into either (1) the bank accounts of victims whose identities they had stolen, or (2) the bank accounts of individuals who allowed their accounts to be used for these illegal purposes.

•    Members of the scheme also used false IDs to cash the counterfeit checks at bank teller windows.

Cash Withdrawals:
•    The defendants made false identification cards using stolen personal identifying information of legitimate bank account holders, including the names of individuals and businesses, bank account numbers, birth dates, and addresses. They used the false IDs at bank teller windows to withdraw cash from the bank accounts of individuals whose identities they stole. During many of these fraudulent bank transactions, the defendants wore disguises to pose as their identity theft victims.

Detectives executing search warrants recovered forged and false IDs and hollow-point bullets at CARLTON’s residence; credit card skimmers, ID manufacturing devices, a firearm, and ammunition at LEBRON’s residence; and check forgery equipment at SMITH’s residence.

Acknowledgements

Assistant District Attorney Lucy Cutolo is handling the prosecution of the narcotics case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Ryan, Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit, and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division.

Assistant District Attorneys Elise Roecker and James Vinocur are handling the prosecution of the financial fraud case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Glickman, Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Brenda Fischer, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Investigative Analyst Michelle Hershkowitz assisted with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked Commissioner William J. Bratton and the New York City Police Department, particularly the following individuals: Chief of the Organized Crime Control Bureau Thomas J. Purtell; Assistant Chief Brian McCarthy, Commanding Officer of the Narcotics Division; Inspector Lori Pollock, Commanding Officer of the Narcotics Borough Manhattan North; Detectives Jose Sandobal, Christopher Fleming, Angus MacKenzie, Steven Gansrow, and Brian Fleming of the Narcotics Borough Manhattan North Major Case; Detectives Dante Cavallo and Eric Weshner of the Financial Crimes Task Force; and the undercover detectives of Manhattan North Narcotics.

District Attorney Vance also thanked the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, particularly Director Terence J. O’Leary and Alan Cooperman, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Hackensack Police Department, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank for their assistance in the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information

Narcotics Conspiracy Indictment:

THOMAS LUCKEY, a/k/a “Lucky,” a/k/a “Luck,” D.O.B. 6/19/1975
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, 1 count
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 19 counts
•    Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

JARELL CUNNINGHAM, a/k/a “Po,” D.O.B. 5/15/1988
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

RANDY KING, a/k/a “Rib,” D.O.B. 3/11/1977
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

MARCUS ROBINSON, a/k/a “Mink,” D.O.B. 11/27/1987
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
•    Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

RAFAEL CINTRON, a/k/a “Ringo,” D.O.B. 8/27/1976
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

HECTOR URIBE, D.O.B. 2/26/1969
Mount Vernon, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

BRIAN DEALE, a/k/a “Bob,” D.O.B. 8/9/1969
Queens, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

WAYNE HARRIS, a/k/a “Hammer,” D.O.B. 11/10/1967
Queens, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

PAUL LITTLE, a/k/a “P,” D.O.B. 11/23/1977
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

JEREMY BRADDY, a/k/a “Jerms,” D.O.B. 10/19/1988
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

JOHN BABAJHANOV, D.O.B. 7/13/1993
Queens, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 5 counts
•    Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 5 counts
•    Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

DAMIEN EDWARDS, a/k/a “Mack,” D.O.B. 8/8/1980
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

VERNON MILLER, D.O.B. 9/30/1972
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 8 counts
•    Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

SHANAY RUSSELL, D.O.B. 5/25/1985
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 4 counts
•    Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

DONALD OWENS, a/k/a “Donnie,” D.O.B. 11/1/1977
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Financial Fraud Indictment:

THOMAS LUCKEY, a/k/a “Lucky,” a/k/a “Luck,” D.O.B. 6/19/1975
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 3 counts
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 11 counts
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 8 counts
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

CARLTON CARTER, a/k/a “Pop” a/k/a “Paper Ova,” D.O.B. 10/29/1983
Hacksensack, NJ

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 4 counts
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 12 counts
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 7 counts
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

HAROLD SMITH, D.O.B. 3/15/1974
Bronx, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 3 counts
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 9 counts
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 4 counts
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

ANDRE LEBRON, D.O.B. 1/15/1976
Bronx, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

MELISSA PEGUERO, a/k/a “Melz,” D.O.B. 5/23/1986
Bronx, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

CANDACE JOHNSTON, a/k/a “Queen,” D.O.B. 10/13/1981
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

SHANAE RAWLINS, D.O.B. 6/5/1986
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

SHANAY RUSSELL, D.O.B. 5/25/1985
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

BARBARA HEREDIA, D.O.B. 12/3/1987
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 5 counts
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 3 counts
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

KEVIN TAYLOR, D.O.B. 5/9/1985
Cambria Heights, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 3 counts
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 2 counts
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count
•    Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

LAMONT THOMAS, D.O.B. 1/2/1979
Bronx, NY

Charges:
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

TRENEISHA MORGAN, D.O.B. 2/13/1992
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

CLARISSA GILLIARD, D.O.B. 7/15/1981
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

LEVERN BALDWIN, D.O.B. 10/2/1977
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

RAFAEL CINTRON, D.O.B. 8/27/1976
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

JAMES REED, D.O.B. 3/27/1969
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

JERSAE HERBIN, D.O.B. 6/29/1990
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

WESLEY WILLIAMS, D.O.B. 12/5/1980
Bronx, NY

Charges:
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

KARL VILLARRIEL, D.O.B. 4/17/1967
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

VICTORIA JOHNSON, D.O.B. 3/15/1982
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

JESSICA MARRERO, D.O.B. 9/2/1984
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

LEZETTE MORGAN, D.O.B. 10/3/1983
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

CHANIQUA MOORE, D.O.B. 5/23/1975
Bronx, NY

Charges:
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

DANNY MARTIN, D.O.B. 1/31/1966
Bronx, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

JOHN KITT, D.O.B. 7/11/1977
New York, NY

Charges:
•    Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
•    Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

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