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The New York City criminal defense attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have represented many people arrested and given Desk Appearance Tickets for patronizing a prostitute in Manhattan (Penal Law 230.04). These cases can be highly embarrassing and they sometimes cause real damage to reputations, careers, and family relationships. However, a skillful attorney can help a defendant emerge without a criminal record.

These cases usually arise out of undercover sting operations by the NYPD. In those cases, an undercover officer pretending to be prostitute wears a recording device and comes to an agreement with another person to perform a sexual act in exchange for money. The offer to pay or an agreement alone can be sufficient proof of the crime. Indeed, Penal Law 230.02 defines a person as being guilty of patronizing a prostitute when:  “(a) Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; (b) He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person or a third person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or (c) He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.”

The most common charge for such a Desk Appearance Ticket in Manhattan is Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Third Degree, in violation of Penal Law Section 230.04. This charge is a class A misdemeanor, meaning that it can result in a permanent criminal record and has a maximum possible jail penalty of one year.

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The criminal defense attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have successfully represented many people charged with wire fraud in federal court. This serious accusation can result in very significant penalties, including huge fines and lengthy prison sentences. However, these charges are also frequently quite defensible, too. As such, if you or a loved one have been accused by federal prosecutors of money laundering, you should strongly consider contacting Galluzzo & Arnone’s team of former prosecutors.

The crime of wire fraud occurs when someone voluntarily and intentionally uses an interstate communications device (such as a telephone) as a part of any scheme to defraud another of property, or anything else of value.

The main criminal statutes that apply to wire fraud are 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1349. Those statues refer to fraud by wire, radio, or television.

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NEWS FLASH: New York’s marijuana possession laws have changed.

You may have heard that New York has taken steps to “de-criminalize” marijuana possession, but you should not take this to mean that “weed has been completely legalized.” What New York HAS done is increased the amount of marijuana for which a “violation” offense may be charged in lieu of a crime. Of critical importance is the fact that a person convicted for a violation does not incur a permanent criminal record. Despite the changes to the law, people can still be arrested, charged, and fined for possessing a small amount of marijuana and these incidents may still lead to devastating immigration consequences.

Under New York’s now-replaced marijuana laws, it was a violation to possess any amount of marijuana under twenty-five grams, but there was a huge caveat: it was a crime to possess any amount of marijuana in a public place that was also “burning” or “open to public view.” In other words, just holding a blunt was enough to put you on the hook for a misdemeanor. Conversely, it was only a violation (and not a crime) to carry a bag of marijuana in your pocket, in the glove compartment of your car or in the privacy of your home. Under the old laws, anyone who possessed a quantity of marijuana over twenty-five grams (even if it was hidden away somewhere) was subject to criminal charges.

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Today in Queens Supreme Court, multi-platinum selling artist Belcalis M. Almanzar  – better known to the world as rapper “Cardi B” – is expected to be arraigned on a 12-count indictment stemming from a 2018 fight in a strip club. Cardi B now faces two “violent” felonies and a handful of misdemeanor and violation offenses after being accused of throwing bottles, chairs, and ‘Hookah’ pipes at club employees after a verbal altercation spun out of control. Cardi B is also accused of soliciting and facilitating members of her entourage to participate in the fracas. Two of the complaining witnesses are bartenders employed at the club, one of whom was accused by Cardi B of having an affair with her husband ‘Offset’ from the rap group ‘Migos.’ According to news sources citing criminal court documents, one of these complaining witnesses claims to have suffered “burning, itching and temporary blindness in her eyes” after being hit in the face with a drink.

Cardi B is expected to enter a plea of “not guilty” to the following indictment charges:

  • Attempted Assault in the Second Degree, in violation of Penal Law 110/120.05(1);
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A federal law enforcement investigation codenamed “Operation Varsity Blues” recently resulted in the arrests of dozens of people for allegedly conspiring to fraudulently obtain admissions into selective universities. Fifty people have been accused of working together to bribe university athletic coaches, submit fraudulent college applications, cheat on college entrance exams, and otherwise bribe college officials into admitting otherwise undeserving applicants. The accused individuals include two former Hollywood actresses – Felicity Huffman and Lori McLaughlin (who famously portrayed “Aunt Becky” on the TV show “Full House”) – as well as wealthy hedge fund managers and the chair of international law firm Wilkie Farr & Gallagher, among others. Wealthy parents paid as much as $6.5 million in bribes and fraudulent payments to get their children into the universities of their choice, including Stanford, Yale, USC and others. The case has seized the national attention as an example of the privileged elite abusing their power and influence, and the Department of Justice states that this is the largest college admissions scandal that it has ever prosecuted.

The case began as many federal investigations do – with an undercover cooperator. Somehow, law enforcement investigators with the FBI identified William Rick Singer, the founder and chief executive officer of a nonprofit “college placement organization” called the Key, as a person engaged in unlawful activity.  Though the precise details have not yet been shared, it is clear that they ultimately confronted him with the evidence of his illegal activity and made a deal with him: cooperate against the people who had enlisted his help in order to minimize his eventual punishment.

Mr. Singer then started recording his telephone calls and conversations with his criminal clients. Those calls apparently revealed a wide-ranging series of scams designed to get students into the schools of their choice. For example, Singer arranged for students who had struggled on the college entrance exams to get favorable disability diagnosis from an enlisted medical professional so as to get more time to take their tests. Then, he also arranged for the prospective students to take their college placement tests under the supervision of a paid-for proctor who either corrected their answers or permitted someone else to take their tests for them. Singer made arrangements to have students appear to be successful athletes when they were not, or flat-out bribed college athletic coaches into agreeing to tell the admissions office that they needed the students for their college sports teams. Some of the college coaches were allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to fraudulently accept students onto their teams (and therefore, into the school) without the relevant athletic credentials.

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The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have successfully represented dozens of individuals accused of violating Penal Law Section 265.01 (Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree). In New York City, these cases are often brought as Desk Appearance Tickets, and the arrests are oftentimes made during routine examinations during traffic stops, in the subway system, or at the airport.

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when:

(1) He or she possesses any firearm, electronic dart gun, electronic stun gun, gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, cane sword, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, plastic knuckles, metal knuckles, chuka stick, sand bag, sandclub, wrist-brace type slingshot or slungshot, shirken or “Kung Fu star”;  or
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The criminal defense attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have successfully represented many people charged with money laundering in federal court. This serious accusation can result in very significant penalties, including huge fines and lengthy prison sentences. However, these charges are also frequently quite defensible, too. As such, if you or a loved one have been accused by federal prosecutors of money laundering, you should strongly consider contacting Galluzzo & Arnone’s team of former prosecutors.

Money laundering charges typically go hand-in-hand with other related criminal charges brought by law enforcement. Individuals involved in narcotics trafficking, loansharking, racketeering, or Medicare fraud, for example, usually conduct their business in cash for understandable reasons. The problem that these people oftentimes face, however, is that they cannot use their criminal proceeds to purchase things that they want to buy, like real estate for example. This is when money laundering becomes relevant.

Typically, money laundering charges arise when a person with a quantity of illegally-derived cash wants to put the money into a bank account or buy assets with it. A criminal might seek to launder his or her own illegal money by depositing it into a bank account or wiring it to another account. He or she might also enlist the assistance of a professional launderer who takes a percentage of the laundered funds in exchange for depositing them into an account or investing them in some business or asset. The criminal with cash may also manipulate an unwitting novice into laundering it for them, so as to escape responsibility in the event the laundering is discovered.

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Multiple news sources across the Nation are reporting that New England Patriots team owner Robert Kraft has been charged with – but not yet arrested for – two counts of solicitation of a prostitute in Jupiter, Florida. The charges apparently stem from a months-long investigation into prostitution and human trafficking activity alleged to have occurred at a Day Spa Kraft is alleged to have attended. While the New England Patriots vehemently deny Kraft’s guilt, Jupiter law enforcement says otherwise, and claims to have video surveillance depicting Kraft being driven to and from the spa, as well as engaging in sexual acts inside of the spa. If what the police in Florida are saying is accurate, there should be relatively damning evidence which would militate in favor of Kraft seeking to negotiate a favorable plea as soon as possible.

Presumably, Kraft has been charged under Florida Statute796.07(2)(f) – Solicitation of Prostitution – which is committed when a person solicits, induces, entices, or procures another person to engage in prostitution, lewdness, or assignation. Assuming Kraft is indeed a first offender, he faces up to one year jail, 1 year of probation, and up to $1,000.00 in fines. It’s worth noting that under Florida law, both second and third-time solicitation offenders can be charged with felonies which obviously have enhanced penalties.

So, what charges would apply if the same crimes Kraft is alleged to have committed occurred here in New York? Kraft would likely face charges under Penal Law 230.04 – Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Third Degree – which is a Class “A” misdemeanor. Penal Law 230.03(a) defines patronizing a person for prostitution as the payment of a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her. Subsection (b) includes paying or agreeing with another to engage in sexual conduct with another, while subsection (c) includes the mere solicitation or request to do so.

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In late 2017, we reported on the enactment of CPL Section 160.59, New York’s newest sealing statute. According to a recent New York Daily News article, however, the benefits of the statute have been largely ignored, which is unfortunate.

In a nutshell, CPL Section 160.59 allows people with certain non-violent/non-sex offense convictions to apply for judicial sealing of their records after a ten year waiting period. The law also allows people with criminal records to apply for sealing for up to as many as two convictions, one of which may be a non-class “A”/non-sex offense/non-violent felony, while those who have been convicted of more than two crimes or more than two felonies are ineligible. The effect of the statute is to render records of convictions unavailable to the public and remove the stigma of having a criminal record after an apparent and demonstrable period of rehabilitation.

While we have personally expressed that the sealing statute did not go as far as it should have in truly expunging the records of low-level offenders, the reality is that passage of CPL 160.59 was unprecedented for the state of New York and has constituted a much needed step in the right direction towards giving people who makes mistakes a much needed second chance. As the Daily News reports, less than 1% of the estimated 600,000 people considered to be eligible for sealing under CPL 160.59’s have taken the opportunity to petition the Courts for help, unfortunately. We would like this to change by creating awareness of the laws passage.

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As criminal defense attorneys, we defend people from all walks of life who have been accused of committing a wide variety of crimes. Here, we discuss two of the more embarrassing charges some of our clients face: Public Lewdness (P.L. § 245.00) and Exposure of a Person (P.L. § 245.01).

P.L. § 245.01 – Exposure of a Person

We’ll deal with this one first. Simply put, Exposure of a Person makes it a violation to expose one’s private parts in public. This statute is fairly straight forward enough.