This post first appeared with the title, “The Brooklyn DA Inflates Recovered Costs of Prosecution in Exchange for Not Reporting Tax Violations” (10/21/13) while Charles J Hynes was still DA. It seems pertinent with the recent revelations that
An investigation into former six-term Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes found his office spent more than $200,000 in seized criminal funds on consultant services for his failed reelection campaign last year.
My previous post also included a lot of information about the ongoing election campaign which is no longer directly relevant. Below is my description of another of Hynes’ corrupt schemes. While reading this story, remember it was written while Hynes was still in office in October 2013 but he had lost the all-important primary.
Deputy District Attorney Dino Amoroso is concerned about prosecutable conduct in the money laundering division. The scam is simple. When doing a plea bargain, exaggerate the “Costs of Prosecution (COP)” which are kept by the Office of the DA in exchange for lesser sentences and fines. These deals violate the law requiring KCDA to report relevant information to the Tax Commission. Tax fraud virtually goes hand-in-hand with money laundering and exposes the defendants to serious financial and criminal liabilities. Naturally, this makes defendants especially amenable to gross overestimates of costs of prosecution.
According to a source, John Steffy handled the tax cases along with financial investigator Robert Stahl and ADA Steve Kramer. (Kramer is also alleged to have had a role in seizing the assets of Judge John L. Phillips). They regularly threatened alleged defendants by telling them they would report them to the Tax Commission. The defendants would respond immediately by asking what the office wanted. That is how the DA got the money. There is no record of anything and everyone leaves happy. Not surprisingly, many of the deals filed with the courts conveniently left out the amount charged for costs of prosecution
I am told that according to Dino Amoroso, this last year was ‘a good year’ with profits of four million, ‘but Vecchione and McCarthy could have done better.’ I imagine some ADAs may have gone a step further and pocketed some money for themselves in exchange for “adjusting” the costs of prosecution. I can understand Dino’s distress. That would be wrong. It would be plundering his public treasury.
Folks in money laundering are scared and distancing themselves. ADA Casey Taylor who worked on the financial cases in rackets recently left. Deputy ADA Mike Morelli, Jr. (son of Angelo Morelli in Investigations) formally requested a transfer out of money laundering. He was placed in the Labor Law Bureau. The Bureau’s Chief, Joe McCarthy, was just given an office on the 20th floor and will be in the Health Care Fraud Unit. Going from Chief of Money Laundering to an ADA in Health Care Fraud is not a step up in one’s career. It is probably not due to his afternoon imbibing, since even with time off for health reasons, his career has progressed till now. Toni Lichstein – Deputy Bureau Chief of Money Laundering – has also moved out of the 17th floor.
I think the folks who are scattering are wise. The alternative might be staying around and being maneuvered into covering things up. That can only mean destroying evidence, a crime that would compound their problems. I would hope everyone is smart enough to stay calm. If they are really astute they will start talking to feds, so they can be at the front of the line for the leniencies afforded to cooperating witnesses.