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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Massachusetts lawmaker apologizes for "Hitler" remark

A Massachusetts state lawmaker apologized on Thursday for a remark comparing a Republican proposal that would require lobbyists to wear ID badges to the Nazi tattooing of Jews during the Holocaust.

House Republicans last week proposed a set of ethics reforms in response to the recent corruption conviction of former Massachusetts Speaker Salvatore DiMasi and an associate.

Among the proposals was a plan for lobbyists to wear visible identification badges to seek access to House members or staff.

John Binienda, a Democrat from Worcester, told the State House News Service on Wednesday that the ID badges plan was "revolting," and compared it to Adolf Hitler having Jewish people tattooed in concentration camps.

The lawmaker, chairman of the Massachusetts House Rules Committee, recanted after his comments sparked outrage.

"Yesterday, I made an inappropriate analogy regarding a proposed change to the House Rules," Binienda said in a statement. "No comparison can be made between the Nazi regime and a rules proposal made by members in good faith."

Williamsburg, NY - Councilman: NYPD Not Doing Enough against Hate Crimes

Williamsburg, NY - Councilman Stephen Levin has spoken out against a rash of swastikas spotted on Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg.

Levin says that two of the anti-Semitic symbols have appeared on the main thoroughfare in the past month, representing “a pattern of hate and vandalism.”

And the NYPD is not doing enough, Levin says.

“I strongly condemn the actions of the individual, or group of individuals, who painted swastikas on Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg for the second time in as many weeks. I am deeply troubled and alarmed by this apparent pattern of hate and vandalism.

I call on the NYPD to investigate this for what it is, a hate crime, and to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly so that Williamsburg residents can once again feel safe in their neighborhood. Discrimination and hate have no place in Williamsburg.

Though we all come from different backgrounds, hold different religious beliefs, and have different customs, we must join together as a community to send the message that Williamsburg will not tolerate hate,” stated Council Member Stephen Levin.

Williamsburg Shomrim Patrol told that a total of 9 swastikas were found in this latest rash of hate crimes.

Orthodox Jewish girl Girl Raped And Pimped Out By Gand Of Thugs

The victim (not shown) is an Orthodox Jewish girl from Crown Heights

A Brooklyn girl was robbed of her teenage years by a gang of creeps who repeatedly raped her, beat her and pimped her out, prosecutors said Wednesday.

But the brave teen - who was brutalized for eight years starting at 13 - still managed to finish school, enroll in college and gather the strength to report the horrific abuse.

"It's hard to imagine something more terrible than this," said her college professor, a former prosecutor and the first person the victim confided with.

The Orthodox Jewish girl from Crown Heights was first raped in a park by Damien Crooks, 31, and Jamali Brockett, 27, in 2003, according to court records. Jawara Brockett, 33, joined them in raping the teen in 2007, and Darrell Dula, 24, did the same in 2010 after she refused to help Crooks recruit other girls for prostitution, prosecutors said.

All four have been arrested and were charged Wednesday.

Until recently, the suspects continually threatened to harm her family if she reported them. When she was forced to have sex with strangers, they kept all the money.

Crooks "even sold her on the street for $20 to a passerby," said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

She decided to come forward after Crooks told her he'll do the same things to her younger sister, prosecutors said.

Despite this horrid ordeal, the victim managed to pull through and seek a degree in criminal justice.

"She did a great job segregating whatever happened in her life," said the college professor. "She's incredibly smart."

Crooks, who has 37 prior arrests and six convictions, was ordered held on a $1 million bail by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKay.

"The recitation of what he's charged with is frightening. Very very frightening," the judge said.

Victim Suffered Rapes for Years, Prosecutors Say

Four men terrorized a young woman in Brooklyn for nearly a decade, coercing her to have sex with them and others and issuing threats to ensure her silence, prosecutors charged on Wednesday.

The victim first encountered two of the defendants, Damien Crooks and Jamali Brockett, in 2003, when she was 13, the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, said.

“The two violently raped and assaulted this child in a neighborhood park,” Mr. Hynes said. “Soon after, they forced her to have sex for money by repeatedly beating and raping her.”

Similar assaults took place over the next eight years, Mr. Hynes said, while the victim lived with her family and completed high school and college. The defendants intimidated the victim into silence and at one point forced her to have sex with someone who paid $20 to one or more of the defendants, Mr. Hynes added.

Mr. Crooks, 31, was charged with four counts of rape and two counts of sex trafficking, and Mr. Brockett, 27, was charged with rape and compelling prostitution. His brother, Jawara Brockett, 33, and a fourth defendant, Darrell Dula, 24, were charged with rape.

Mr. Hynes said that Mr. Crooks and Jamali Brockett had “terrorized the child for years, preventing her from reporting the violence by threatening to harm her family if she told anyone.”

In one instance, he said, Mr. Crooks, Jamali Brockett and Jawara Brockett raped the victim on a rooftop while her brother was nearby but was unaware of what was happening. A break in the case came about a year and a half ago, prosecutors said, when the assailants told the victim that they intended to assault a member of her family.

Around that time, prosecutors said, the victim approached a professor who was teaching a college class she was taking. The professor, Jeff Kern, is a former assistant Brooklyn district attorney. He said that the victim approached him after class one day and began discussing problems she was having. Eventually, Mr. Kern said, he persuaded the victim to speak to the authorities.

MSNBC suspends top political analyst after he calls Obama a 'd***' during live TV debate

Mark Halperin's apology

MSNBC today suspended its senior political analyst just hours after he called President Obama a 'd***' live on the Morning Joe show.

Mark Halperin, who is also Time magazine's editor-at-large, has been suspended indefinitely for the slur, which referred to a press conference yesterday in which Mr Obama announced plans to tax the rich.

He immediately apologised for the comment, made after the show's host Joe Scarborough jokingly told him he could say what he thought of the president because the programme was being recorded on a delay.

But the producer failed to hit the seven-second delay button, so this morning millions of Americans heard Mr Halperin say: 'I thought he was kind of a d*** yesterday.'

The suspension is unlikely to stop Mr Halperin himself being in Obama's line of fire on tax - he is a millionaire in his own right after signing a $5million book deal last year to co-author a title on the 2012 elections

Solomon Dwek loses allowance following jail sentence for lying to FBI

FBI informant Solomon Dwek, shown at right in this photo. His monthly stipend and agreement to pay his expenses in connection with the federal bankruptcy case expire today..

NEWARK — Having lost his freedom, federal informant Solomon Dwek is also about to lose his allowance.

Abruptly sent to jail Tuesday for lying to the FBI, Dwek was receiving a $12,500 monthly stipend from the federal bankruptcy trustee trying to sort out the remains of his failed real estate empire later found to be built upon massive fraud.

That allowance expires today, as does an agreement to pay Dwek’s expenses in connection with the bankruptcy case — including the cost of a $100-an-hour private security contingent. That agreement is unlikely to be renewed, those connected with the case say.

Dwek, 38, was using the money to support his wife and six children — including a son born just weeks ago. His family, shunned from their Orthodox Sephardic community in Deal, now lives in Baltimore.

The key figure in a sweeping federal corruption and money laundering sting, Dwek began cooperating with the government after being charged in an unrelated $50 million bank fraud.

The high-profile investigation, which came to light two years ago, was the largest federal corruption sting in New Jersey history. It led to the arrests of 46 people, including mayors, legislators, five Orthodox rabbis and a man brokering black market kidneys for transplant.

Over time, though, Dwek’s value as a witness in the trials that followed began to fade. Details of his history as a con man surfaced, and his seemingly non-stop efforts on surveillance recordings pushing officials to take money led to several acquittals.

While some saw him as a liability, the U.S. Attorney’s office still planned to put him on the stand in the corruption trial now under way of former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, who is accused of taking $10,000 in cash to expedite approvals of a purported hotel project. Before the trial began, however, the FBI learned Dwek was arrested in Baltimore last month on charges of failing to return a rental car.

Authorities said Dwek lied to his FBI handler, claiming at first it was a case of mistaken identity, and then filing a false affidavit.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jose Linares — calling Dwek a "consummate defrauder and an extremely conning liar" — abruptly revoked Dwek’s bail and threw him in jail for violating his cooperation agreement with the government. He now sits in the Essex County Jail awaiting sentencing on the bank fraud charges.

Dwek’s absence could complicate the resolution of the bankruptcy case. Only Dwek knew the details of the massive investment scheme that fell apart before he began life as an FBI informant, said Charles Stanziale, the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee overseeing the dissolution of Dwek’s once vast real estate portfolio.

Through Dwek’s cooperation, Stanziale said he learned Dwek had been running a Madoff-style $400 million Ponzi scheme, fueled by fraudulent mortgages on phantom properties and new investors who never raised questions until they stopped getting paid. It all collapsed in 2006 after Dwek was charged with bank fraud after passing a bogus $25 million check at a bank drive-through window and then trying to do it again the next day.

"He supplied me with information with regards to people he dealt with; people he conspired with; people he laundered money for; people he defrauded; and properties that he had that he bought and sold that may not have been evident from the records," Stanziale said of that cooperation.

In an agreement with creditors and approved by the bankruptcy judge, the trustee had been paying Dwek a monthly allowance of $12,500 and expenses for his assistance sorting out the properties and deals — all while he was also secretly working for the FBI during the three-year sting operation in an effort to gain leniency when ultimately sentenced for the bank fraud.

Stanziale, who said he was not told of Dwek’s role as an informant until the sting operation became public, credited his assistance for bringing tens of millions of dollars back to the creditors and to the banks.

With Dwek in jail, creditors see little likelihood his allowance will continue.

"The fact that he’s now incarcerated means there won’t be any costs for security and compensation of travel," said Walter J. Greenhalgh of Duane Morris in Newark, an attorney for the oversight committee representing unsecured creditors in the case. "While no request from his attorneys to extend his allowance, our initial reaction would be that he not be compensated because he’s not on call as he was before."

Dwek’s bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Neumann, did not return calls for comment.

Assailant grabs French leader Sarkozy in crowd

PARIS — A man in a crowd grabbed French President Nicolas Sarkozy by the shoulder Thursday and nearly knocked him to the ground before being tackled by security officers and detained.

The unusually aggressive incident occurred as the president shook hands with a crowd in the town of Brax in southwest France.

The assailant was not armed, according to the national police service. An official with the service said the 32-year-old Frenchman lives in the Lot-et-Garonne region and works in the theater business. The official was not authorized to be publicly named due to police policy.

The man was detained and being questioned in the nearby town of Agen.

Images broadcast on French television showed Sarkozy reaching over a metal barricade to greet onlookers when an arm grabs his suit roughly by the shoulder and pulls it toward the crowd.

Sarkozy started to lose his balance and fall, then immediately recoiled and righted himself. Security officers pulled the assailant to the ground.

Sarkozy's office would not immediately comment on the incident.

Sarkozy is an outspoken and divisive figure whose poll ratings have been quite low for months. He is expected to run for re-election next year, and his presidential visits to the French provinces in recent weeks have the air of campaign stops.

He occasionally gets heckled by critics, though only verbally. In one 2008 incident, a man was caught on video telling Sarkozy not to touch him as the president walked through a crowd. The man accused Sarkozy of "dirtying me," and Sarkozy snapped back with an insult that mildly translated as "get out of here, you total jerk."

Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was the object of an assassination attempt in 2002, during a military parade for the Bastille Day national holiday. A far right activist, Maxime Brunerie, was convicted of attempted murder after he pulled a rifle from a guitar case and shot at Chirac. Chirac was unhurt.

CROWN HEIGHTS: Two Arrested After Assault and Attempt to Flee from Police

CROWN HEIGHTS — Efraim Setton and Levi Paul Huebner were arrested Wednesday morning after they beat up another Jew and attempted to flee from police.

The incident took place at around 8:15am in front of 836 Montgomery Street near the scene of a car accident, where Setton attacked another Jewish man, kicking him and knocking him to the ground and proceeded to pummel him, kicking him in the legs and face.

Tens of people rushed to the victim’s aid after he cried for help, EMS and Police heard the cries as well and rushed over. As officers approached, Setton fled into the building and hid inside his apartment and refused to open his door to police.

EMT’s took the victim into an ambulance and began treating him for his injuries to his head, face and legs. He was later transported to a local hospital for further treatment.

As the victim was being treated, a police officer spotted Setton leaving his apartment building and running into a waiting car. Once inside, the car reversed down Montgomery Street at a high rate of speed, prompting police to call for backup and chase the car, which they stopped near the intersection of Albany Avenue.

The driver was the lawyer Levi Paul Huebner who is Setton’s father in law. When police approached the vehicle, the occupants refused to open the doors and refused to comply with police orders. Finally police got the door open and immediately placed Hubener in handcuffs as he was screaming “I’m in COP, I’m in COP, I need a hospital.”

Police attempted to get Setton out of the car but he refused and resisted as well.

After inciting a massive scene with many onlookers police managed to take them both into custody, between the two of them they were charged with Assault, Resisting Arrest and Evading, as well as Obstruction of Governmental Administration among other charges.

New York, NY - Mogul Leaves ATM Receipt Showing Astounding $100M Balance

David Tepper with his wife Marlene & The receipt shows a very healthy bank balance

It's an embarrassment of riches. A receipt - showing a astounding $100 million savings balance- was left behind at an East End bank by an arrogant mogul who couldn't be bothered to pick it up after withdrawing $400 and paying a $2.75 ATM fee.

It was found sticking out of the slot at the Capital One Bank in East Hampton Village by the next customer -- who turned it over to the financial tabloid Web site

Besides documenting an amazing $99,864,731.94 savings account, it illustrates one truth that every New Yorker knows -- no matter who you are or how much you have, you can't escape ATM fees.

The transaction, which took place at 10:14 p.m. on June, 18, shows the bank hit the customer with the $2.75 charge for an out-of-network $400 withdrawal, the site claimed.

The man who reportedly found the receipt was perhaps a bit more blasé than your average depositor.

A source identified him as a Wall Street exec.

Dealbreaker identified the account holder as well-known hedge-fund manager and Appaloosa Management chief David Tepper, even though he told the Web site he "hadn't used an ATM since Lehman," whose collapse helped set off the 2008 financial crisis.

Contacted by The Post last night, Tepper laughed the whole thing off, saying he "wasn't in the Hamptons in June at all."

And the financial whiz scoffed that he's too sophisticated a money man to leave so much cash in a low-yielding account.

"I would never do something as irresponsible as leaving $100 million in a savings account," he said.

Tepper, 53, who has a wife and three kids, does, however, have ties to the Hamptons.

He shelled out $43.5 million -- all in cash -- earlier this year for a mansion in Sagaponack.

He promptly demolished the 6,100-square-foot residence and plans to build a new -- nearly twice-as-big -- home on the same site.

The bank, at 40 Newton Lane, is in a neighborhood that would certainly attract extremely affluent customers.

The ritzy commercial stretch is often called the Rodeo Drive of the East Coast.

The branch is flanked by high-end handbag-maker Coach and elite clothier Theory.

But it's not clear where the customer spent his 400 bucks.

Rabbi's ex to remain gagged

Photo: Rabbi Marc Schneier kissing Gitti Leiner, Israel, April 4, 2010, while still 'happily' married to Tobi Rubinstein-Schneier

"Rabbi to the stars" Marc Schneier is battling his soon-to-be ex-wife, Tobi Rubinstein-Schneier, to make sure she stays legally blocked from talking about their bitter divorce on a reality TV show with YouTube divorcée Tricia Walsh-Smith.

Walsh-Smith, 53, became an Internet sensation after she posted a 2008 YouTube video about her split from Shubert Organization president Philip Smith. Our spies saw the British blonde meeting with Tobi late last week on the Upper East Side. Walsh-Smith then told us she's working on a TV show, "The Divorced Wives Club," where women who survived bruising divorces advise others.

Our story set Schneier's lawyers into action. They demanded a conference call with a Manhattan judge yesterday, during which Tobi was ordered to stick by a gag order while they negotiate their divorce.

A source told us, "The rabbi's lawyers argued that Tobi talking about their divorce on TV or to anyone puts her in breach of the current gag order. The judge ruled she must not talk to any reality show until after their divorce is settled. Another gag order may be put in place as part of the settlement."

Schneier, named by Newsweek as one of the 50 most influential American rabbis, is a founder of the New York Synagogue and the star-studded Hamptons Synagogue, and has acted as a spiritual adviser to Russell Simmons and Steven Spielberg.

But we revealed in June of last year that he'd split from fourth wife Rubinstein-Schneier after three years and was dating a speech therapist who was a former member of his congregation.

Rubinstein-Schneier's lawyer, Susan Bender, did not return calls. A spokesman for the rabbi said, "The gag order is in place, remains in place and we will respect that by not making any comment."

Walsh-Smith, who says she's talking to US and British networks, added, "Because of this gag order, I am not sure Tobi can be in the show. I want the show to be feisty and go into battle. We are going to get these men in a way that will really hurt and humiliate them. The rabbi is on my list."

Williamsburg: Man Hits Grandpa With Wooden Shelf Over Parking-Space Feud

A 57-year-old grandfather was whacked with a wooden shelf in a bloody battle over a parking space in Brooklyn, police said.

Rabbi Mordechai Stern said he was backing his Toyota minivan into the coveted space on the corner of Bedford Ave. and Wilson St. on Tuesday when a strange man started banging on his rear window with the wooden weapon.

"I came out of my car. I asked him, 'Why are you hitting my car?'" Stern recalled. "The answer - a knock on the head. He hit me twice - and just walked off."

Witnesses called the Williamsburg Shomrim patrol.

"They followed the guy around the corner and held him until the police came," Stern said.

Dwight Chaparro, 29, was charged with felony assault, menacing, criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon. Chaparro, who couldn't be reached yesterday, lives at Independence Towers - a housing development across from the parking space.

Stern's upper chest was cut in the fracas, leaving him with a bloodstained shirt attached to his tzitzit, a religious undergarment.

Huma Abedin taking time off from Weiner

Anthony Weiner's wife is taking time off from her senior job with the State Department -- as well as time off from the randy former representative, The Post has learned.

While Weiner, 46, heads to an "intensive" rehab program to recover from the sexting scandal that cost him his congressional career, his 35-year-old spouse, Huma Abedin, will be relaxing at an undisclosed location.

"She is definitely taking time off away from her husband and chilling," a source said. "And he's going some place for at least a couple of weeks."

Huma, who is in the early stages of pregnancy with the couple's first child, has been seen infrequently since she returned from a trip to Africa with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She returned just before the Democrat announced his decision to quit his Brooklyn-Queens seat in the House after six terms. It was also reported that she had decided to try to make their marriage work.

Huma's family "is going to be watching her like a hawk," the source said, "like she's under a microscope."

There was no immediate confirmation from the State Department of Abedin's plans to take time off from work.

The Post reported yesterday that Weiner, once considered a front-runner to be the next mayor of New York, is going into rehab.

"It's going to be something a bit intense," said a House Democrat who remains in contact with him. During his agonizing final days in office, Weiner spoke regularly with a small group of congressional colleagues.

The Post also reported that Weiner is trying to remain a local political kingmaker by influencing who will receive the Democratic nomination in the special election, expected to take place on Sept. 13, for his former seat.

Some Queens Democrats in contact with County Chairman Rep. Joe Crowley said he isn't taking Weiner's efforts seriously, but is merely trying to humor his former colleague.

The source who disclosed Huma's plans to be away from Weiner said his efforts to choose his successor, like his being spotted buying a bouquet of flowers for her, are "his lame attempts to deflect all of the negative publicity" he's garnered since the sexting scandal broke.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hidden-camera TV host Chris Hansen caught cheating wife on tape

Chris Hansen with his wife, Mary & television reporter Kristyn Caddell is allegedly having an affair


Chris Hansen, who has made his name confronting pedophiles on-camera as the host of Dateline NBC’s "To Catch a Predator", was reportedly caught on tape cheating on his wife with a much younger woman, according to the National Enquirer.

Cameras allegedly recorded Hansen taking Florida TV reporter Kristyn Caddell, 30, to dinner at a Ritz-Carlton hotel before spending the night at her Palm Beach apartment.

Hansen, who lives with his wife, Mary, 53, and their two sons in Connecticut, has allegedly been seeing Caddell for four months.

The 51-year-old reporter has been spending time in Florida investigating the disappearance of James Trindale, according to reports.

Hansen has hosted "To Catch a Predator," a show where volunteers from the group Preverted-Justice pose as underage girls to lure pedophiles into homes where he waits to surprise them on-camera, since 2004.

IRS fishing for U.S. tax dodgers in Israel

The United States Internal Revenue Service is gearing up for a widespread campaign to identify federal income tax scofflaws living outside the United States.

The United States Internal Revenue Service is gearing up for a widespread campaign to identify federal income tax scofflaws living outside the United States. Tens of thousands of them are estimated to be living in Israel.

The Feds will presumably require banks worldwide to report on all customers with U.S. citizenship or residency, even if they hold a foreign, including Israeli, passport.

U.S. tax law requires all American citizens, including those living abroad, to file annual income tax returns reporting their worldwide income.

According to a report submitted to Congress, more than seven million U.S. expatriates are obliged by law to file income tax returns, but IRS figures show only 7% of them filed returns for 2009.

IRS figures puts the number of Americans living in Israel who must file returns at about 100,000.

Darlene Hart of U.S. Tax & Financial Services, a European accounting firm with offices in London, Geneva, Zurich and Tel Aviv, says that the duty to report to the IRS goes beyond those who hold U.S. citizenship.

Only 34% of those who are required to file income tax returns with the IRS or required to report their worldwide income, she claims. "U.S. income tax returns have to be filed by U.S. citizens, holders of green cards and by people who are residents under the substantial presence test of the Internal Revenue Code," explains American tax lawyer Jo Anne Adlerstein, who consults in Israel and is counsel to Cohen Tauber Spievack & Wagner PC in New York. "People who work in the U.S. or have income from the U.S. may also be required to file income tax returns."

The obligation to report income in tax returns does not necessarily entail an obligation to pay U.S. income tax: Israel is one of many countries that has a tax treaty with the United States, providing for a foreign tax credit and foreign income exclusion.

Hart explains that people who pay income tax in Israel do not generally have to pay tax in the United States as well, with the exception of certain situations¬ such as inheritance tax and self-employment tax.

"Amazingly, U.S. citizens who work overseas and are self-employed with a profit of over $400 a year have to file U.S. income tax returns. They may not have to pay U.S. income tax but will have to pay self-employment tax," says Adlerstein.

Hart stressed, however, that anyone who is legally required to file an annual income tax return must do so, even if they do not owe Washington a penny.

There are civil and criminal penalties for not filing tax returns.

"People who are required to file income tax returns as residents or citizens are among those who may have to file annual FBARS, Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts," says Adlerstein. "You don't have to have income. It’s about having money in bank accounts, pension funds, and investment vehicles. An FBAR isn’t an income tax return. It’s a form created by the 1970s Bank Secrecy Act to combat money laundering by organized crime, then used to fight global drug trafficking, and since 9/11 to detect terrorist financing.”

U. S. citizens and residents who have in excess of $10,000 in all of their offshore bank and financial accounts in a given year have to file an FBAR with the Department of the Treasury in Detroit. It doesn't go to the IRS or with the tax returns. The 2010 FBAR is due in Detroit today.

As part of its compliance push, IRS is running the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative—OVDI. The goal is to get scofflaws to file income tax returns and FBARs for 2003 through 2010.

“Under OVDI people who are required to file U.S. income tax returns and have filed and paid any taxes for 2003 to 2009, but haven’t filed FBARs, can escape penalties by filing them before August 31, 2011 with an explanatory letter. People who haven't reported all their income, and haven't filed returns or FBARs may have to agree to penalties ranging from 5% to 25% of the highest amount in all their accounts put together between the years 2003 and 2009," says Adlerstein.

"Hopefully people can manage to get into compliance this year," says Adlerstein. "Why now? Because of what's coming next year."

“The penalty for non-willful failure to file an FBAR is $10,000 for each year: that's the minimum penalty,” she stresses.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, signed into law in March 2010, makes several changes. Starting in 2013, FATCA requires all banks and financial institutions worldwide to tell the IRS the names, addresses, social security numbers, account numbers and account balances of their U.S. citizen and U.S. resident clients.

U.S. authorities are negotiating agreements with banks and financial institutions to become Participating Foreign Financial Institutions. Banks that choose not to become PFIIs may drastic encumbrances on business done with the U.S., possibly 30% withholding on money transfers from the U.S. to them.

It is believed that IRS agents are already in Israel, discussing terms of agreements with the banks ahead of making them PFIIs.

"In 2012, thanks to FACTA, in addition to FBARs, people filing income tax returns will have a new schedule for reporting any account they have valued at more than $50,000," says Adlerstein.

The law obliges overseas banks to ask their clients to supply the required information. If a client refuses, the bank is more likely to end its relationship with the customer than to risk getting in trouble with the IRS.

The Banking Association of Israel has hired a major Washington law firm to advise it on the ramifications of FATCA, as the new law is known. The Bank of Israel is also studying the act's implications for local banks.

A previous version of this article contained certain inaccuracies. TheMarker regrets the errors.

Marcus Brigstocke sorry for 'stupid' Orthodox Jew joke

Marcus Brigstocke

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke has apologised for joking about Orthodox Jews having sex through a sheet.

In an interview with Metro to promote his book "The God Collar", the Have I Got News For You star was asked about any religious trivia he had encountered researching the book – which is about atheism.

Mr Brigstocke said: "Orthodox Jews make love to each other though a hole in a sheet, which other than a Halloween night prank seems a bit ridiculous to me."

Twitter users pointed out to Mr Brigstocke that this was an antisemitic myth. Anthony Jackson wrote: "Orthodox Jews don't and never have made love through a sheet. It is another antisemitic rumour to make Jews seem weird.

"Tzitzit is a religious garment worn daily, about the size of a small sheet, with a hole in the middle & strings on the corners. If you saw that drying outside and had no frame of reference, what would you think? It might have been useful to check that rumour with an Orthodox Jew before writing it."

Mr Brigstocke responded: "I'm so sorry to have said something so stupid and badly researched. I'm trying to correct this."

He later tweeted: "I said something stupid, wrong and potentially damaging in a 'Metro' interview today - re: Jews making love through a sheet I'm very sorry."

FOX NEWS: Four-Legged Chicken Poses Kosher Question

Is a chicken born with four legs kosher? Rabbis aren't sure. So a Mea Shearim, Jerusalem chicken slaughter is keeping a four legged bird alive until the rabbis can decide.

150 Turtles on JFK Runway Cause Airport Slowdown

Turtles Cause Flight Delays At JFK:

Flights were temporarily halted at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on Wednesday morning after about 150 turtles ambled onto a runway.

JetBlue first tweeted news of the slowdown: “JFK is experiencing delays as the airport clears turtles off the runway.”

“We had about 150 turtles coming out of the bay this morning,“ said Marsico. ”They crossed the runway to a sandy beach area to lay their eggs.“

Marisco added that the turtles come out of the bay every year to lay their eggs and that ”staff has been out there since quarter to 7 this morning relocating them.”

Brooklyn Liquor Store Owner Taken Hostage; One Suspect In Custody

A hostage escaped from Brooklyn liquor store

BROOKLYN, NY — Police surrounded a Brooklyn liquor store after two robbers took the owner hostage Wednesday afternoon.

Around 1:45 p.m. two men entered the Arrow Wine & Liquor on Ave. N near Schenectady Ave. in the Old Mill Basin section of Brooklyn and attempted to rob the store. Passersby saw the robbery in progress and alerted police officer driving nearby, according to witnesses.

One witness Evonne Daniel, a teacher from Noah's Ark, was driving to run an errand and saw the suspect inside the liquor store, at the front, holding a man hostage with his arm around the man's neck and a gun to his head.

A local lawyer who was buying lottery tickets at the time was taken hostage, but he managed to run out of the store. He was tackled by police officers after refusing to stop and put his hands in the air, according to witnesses.

Another local businessman inside at the time, handed all of his money to the gunmen and was released according to police sources. The two men then held the owner during a standoff that lasted more than an hour, according to police.

The owner has since been released according to reports from the scene, and one of the suspects has been taken into custody. Police are currently negotiating with the second suspect.

At least one shot was fired into the wall of the store, but there aren't any reports of injuries, according to police sources.

Police presence was heavy at the scene -- there were hostage negotiators, TARU units, emergency service units with heavy weapons, K-9 units, a helicopter and a robot.

Roughly seven blocks are currently locked down by police. Parents at a nearby daycare are waiting anxiously while the children remain locked inside.

Armed Standoff in Brooklyn Ends:

Shocking Video: School Bus on Fire in Boro Park

A school-bus driving on 47th Street and 12th Avenue, in Boro Park, Brooklyn went up in flames on Friday afternoon, sending thick black smoke through the streets. The bus was empty at the time of the fire, and was destroyed by the flames. There was no one injured in the incident.

NY: Cops: Synagogue treasurer stole thousands

Isaac Zucker

The treasurer of a Woodmere synagogue was arrested at an airport hotel early Wednesday and charged with stealing more than $600,000 from the Jewish house of prayer, police said.

Isaac Zucker, 47, of Westwood Road, Woodmere , is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in First District Court, Hempstead , on a first-degree larceny charge.

He was arrested at 1:55 a.m. at the Holiday Inn at Long Island -MacArthur Airport

Nassau County police said it was unclear if Zucker had booked a flight from MacArthur -- and said it was unclear how he was found.

Police said Zucker is the treasurer at Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere , a makom tefillah, or place of prayer, founded in 1992.

As treasurer, police said, Zucker transferred more than $600,000 into his personal bank accounts. He was confronted last week by members of the congregation, police said, and then suddenly went missing.

Members of the synagogue, which is located on Woodmere Place and serves as both a shul or school and a center for Torah study, were not immediately available for comment.

Aish Kodesh is named for a book authored by Harav Kalonymos Kalman Szapira during his brief tenure as the Grand Rabbi of Piaseczno, Poland, before being murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Update 2:30 pm CDT – According to Newsday:

After being called "a substantial flight risk," the treasurer of a Woodmere synagogue who was arrested at an area airport hotel Wednesday pleaded not guilty to charges he stole more than $600,000 from the Jewish house of prayer.

Isaac Zucker, 47, of Westwood Road, Woodmere, was ordered held on $300,000 bond or $150,000 cash bail.…
The Jewish Week

When officers of Congregation Aish Kodesh, a popular Modern Orthodox shul in Woodmere, noticed that the the shul’s checks were bouncing, an investigation led to startling news.

After a brief meeting, the board members discovered that more than $500,00 had been wired from the shul’s bank account to the account belonging to the law firm of the shul’s treasurer, Isaac Zucker, a securities lawyer with a nearby practice.

“He was an upstanding member of the community,” said Azriel Ganz, the chairman of the shul’s board. “There wasn’t a scintilla of doubt on his trustworthiness.”

Early Wednesday morning Zucker was arrested at a Holiday Inn near MacArthur Airport on Long Island and charged with stealing $600,000 in shul funds, according to police, having disappeared after questions about the funds were raised .Detective Lieutenant Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police Department said that it is unknown whether Zucker was attempting to flee. Zucker's wife, Renee, had reported him missing when he did not return from his office on Friday. He is being arraigned on a charge of grand larceny in the second degree.

When the board confronted Zucker on June 16, he admitted to taking the money and promised to return it in a week, board members say. When the week passed and Zucker did not show up, the shul contacted the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, which investigates wire fraud, and then publicly notified the membership on June 23.

“We addressed how it could have happened and urged everyone to pull together,” said Ganz, who along with Rabbi Weinberger spoke to the membership about the loss.

“We are shocked and heartbroken over the news of the apparent fraud perpetrated on our shul,” said Rabbi Weinberger. He said that the shul was cooperating with the authorities and taking steps to determine the magnitude of the crime.

"Any time someone steals from a religious institution it could be change from a poor box or thousands of dollars it really shocks people," Lieutenant Smith said. "It makes you wonder if he was going through some personal crisis."

The shul, which serves 250 families, has a mortgage with First Republic Bank. Until four months ago, Ganz said, the shul had never been late on a payment.

“We raised about $225,000 over the weekend, so we’ve been able to pay the bank anything that was in arrears,” Ganz said. “Either we are or we will be current on all bills by the end of the week, and I think we have a bit of a reserve to get us through the normal fundraising schedule. … but it’s a very significant loss.”

The shul also hired a forensic accountant and traced the fraud’s origin back to 2008. Each board member is elected to a three-year term, and Zucker is believed to have started in 2006 and re-elected in 2009.

The shul maintained two accounts, one for operating expenses at a local bank and an endowment fund at TD Bank. Zucker deposited checks made out to the expense account into the endowment fund, which he then was able to sweep into his own account, according to shul officials.

“Until very recently bills got paid on time, so there was no reason to suspect that anything was going on,” said Ganz. “He [Zucker] got sloppy.”

Ganz said it’s still not clear how exactly Zucker managed to transfer the money into his account. According to the shul’s bylaws two signatures are required for every bank transfer; however, inexplicably, Zucker was able to transfer the money with only one signature.

Jennifer Morneau, Public Relations Manager for TD Bank, said they were unaware of the situation.

“It’s really too early to say what went wrong,” Ganz said.

He said the only reason that the shul briefly delayed notifying the membership was simply getting the story straight.

“This is about as transparent as you get,” Ganz said. “We’re getting criticized for being this transparent. There are people who are concerned about the family, and rightfully so. … Isaac is a friend of mine, but what happened happened.”

Burt Blass has been the treasurer for the last 25 yeas of the Torah Center of Hillcrest, an Orthodox shul in Queens, said that the shul has a two-signature policy on its checks, but he doesn’t place much faith in it.

“Banks are not looking at any actual signatures… ” he said. “The stuff is coming through fast and furious and there there’s a lot of things banks don’t look at.”

The Torah Center of Hillcrest along with several other Orthodox shuls in the tri-state area was the subject of a check-stealing fraud last year. Blass said close to $400,000 was taken from all the shuls.

“We’ve managed to recover some of our money,” Blass said. “Just because banks blow you off doesn’t mean you can’t make them take responsibility for what they’re paid to do.”

Professor Norman Silber, a professor of law at Hofstra University who specializes in nonprofit corporations, said he believed there were multiple ways for the synagogue to recover the money.

“There are five possible claims or routes for recovery here by the synagogue,” he explained. “The personal liability of the treasurer; the potential liability of the firm; the potential liability of the bank; the duty of the Bar’s insurance fund for defrauded clients of attorneys; the duty of insurers of the synagogue and its board. In each case except for the claim against the treasurer himself, there will be a defense argument that there was contributory negligence involved because of inadequate internal controls.”

Robert Nardoza, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment given that it is a pending case. TD Bank did not return comments in time for The Jewish Week’s deadline. Zucker could not be reached by his office or home number.

“Any time this happens it’s a tragic situation,” said Noach Gordon a shul member. “I’m still digesting it. The shul is a very inspiring place.”

Ganz said that the shul is still in the process of developing measures to prevent such alleged fraud. For the moment, the shul has blocked all its old accounts.

“Things like this are very hard to stop when they come from a trusted person on the inside,” Ganz said. “This is an aberrant act of one person that we’ll never understand. The way the synagogue will be measured will be how we go forward from here.”

Gavriel Fagin, an adjunct professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work and a member of the shul, said he was in “total denial” when he first heard the news.

“On a shul level, how could someone betray our trust in such a manner?” Fagin said. “But more deeply, on a personal level, this hurts so much. There is anger. I can’t help but feel sorry for him. I truly hope he gets the help he needs to recognize the destruction, and to begin to take steps to repair the shattered pieces.”

Fagin said the congregation considered Zucker’s family “the biggest victims here. Our hope is that Isaac’s wife, father, in-laws and, most of all, children can still come and feel comfortable in Aish. We love them, accept them, will be present for them and hope that they can find peace of mind among familiar faces.”

Borough Park, Traffic islands damming up traffic on Ft. Hamilton Parkway to be removed

Pedestrian islands in the middle of a busy Borough Park street that created road rage among drivers are finally getting towed away by the city.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park) announced Tuesday that the islands, placed in the middle of Fort Hamilton Parkway from 45th to 47th Sts. last year to help seniors who couldn't cross before the light changed, are getting the hook.

Residents and public officials said the islands got in the way of ambulances and fire trucks that couldn't squeeze through traffic en route to emergencies.

"This was something that was ill-advised from the very beginning," said Hikind.

City Transportation Department officials were expected to announce a plan to replace the islands with painted safety lanes at the Community Board 12 meeting last night.

The new plan calls for the removal of the three concrete divisions as well as half of the island at New Utrecht Ave. and 45th St.

"This is an example of how working with the community can address our shared concerns for the safety of our most vulnerable road users," said DOT Spokesman Seth Solomonow.

Most residents in the area said they aren't sad to see the islands go.

"It's not even that big a street," said Esther Friedman, 50, who blames the islands for almost causing her to crash into another car this year.

Fort Hamilton Parkway fish store manager Sam Greenstein, 26, said he spends about an hour circling the block for a parking spot every morning, and he worries about his customers getting parking fines because the islands took out parking space.

Hikind said if the DOT didn't ditch the islands, he was going to bring a suit against the city.

"It took them a while, but at the end of the day, they did the right thing," Hikind said.

Jewish suspect accused of assaulting Turkish neighbors was attacked first, his daughter says

Mazo Schwartz says her neighbors were the instigators and attacked her father, Simchon, while he was walking

The daughter of a Brooklyn man charged with attacking his Turkish neighbors and calling them "Arab terrorists" insisted Tuesday that her father wasn't a bigot.

"I'm very upset because I'm dating a Muslim and my family is being called racist," said Mazo Schwartz, whose father, Simchon Schwartz, 46, was charged with felony hate crimes.

Cops arrested Simchon Schwartz, who is Jewish, at a Mill Basin synagogue after the alleged attack Saturday night on his next-door neighbors Selda and Mustafa Turan.

Although Simchon Schwartz's family and his rabbi claim he was the victim in the ugly incident, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Simchon Schwartz was the culprit in the encounter in front of his E. 70th St. home. "The information I have is that Mr. Schwartz poured a beer can over Mustafa Turan's wife's head and when Mustafa tried to prevent this, [Schwartz] punched him," Kelly said. "He made anti-Arab statements,"

Mustafa Turan, 32, suffered a gash to his nose that required three stitches. The Turans have not publicly commented on the attack. They remained in seclusion.

Mazo Schwartz claimed Mustafa Turan attacked her dad and shouted an anti-Semitic slur. "My father was walking down the street. They exchanged words, and he [Mustafa Turan] hit him," she said. "We couldn't call the cops because it was the Shabbas."

Her boyfriend of two years, Amer Nicocevic, an Albanian, said Simchon Schwartz never hassled him about being Muslim. "He opened the door and welcomed me in," Nicocevic said.

Simchon Schwartz, a car dealer, was charged with felony assault and felony criminal mischief, both as hate crimes. He could get up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

After his arrest at a Chabad House in Mill Basin, Simchon Schwartz, who smelled of alcohol at the time, kicked out the window of a police car, a law enforcement source said. He was released without bail but ordered to stay away from the Turans, whose townhouse shares a common wall with his home.

Residents of the block where the Turan and Schwartz families live said a feud has simmered between the couples since the Turans moved in a month ago.

Police set to detain Rabbi Yaakov Yosef for questioning

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's son is last of rabbis who endorsed 'Torat Hamelech,' ignored police summons; follows riots after Rabbi Lior arrest.

Police on Wednesday were expected to arrest Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, president of the Shas Council of Torah Sages. Yosef is the last person who has not yet been questioned by police over a written endorsement of the book, Torat Hamelech.

The move comes on the heels of riots in Jerusalem on Monday that were sparked by the police detainment of Kiryat Arba-Hebron Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, carried in its wake widespread condemnation over the right-wing protesters’ disregard for the rule of law.

The rabbis are being investigated under suspicion of incitement for their endorsement of he 2009 book by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, the rabbi of Yitzhar, which gives Jews permission to preemptively kill gentiles under certain conditions in wartime.

“This is study-hall discourse,” Yosef's son Yonatan said of Torat Hamelech on Tuesday. “The Torah itself says much more extreme things – like those who desecrate Shabbat must be killed. Does that mean that anyone who reads the weekly portion should be indicted for incitement? Everyone understands that there is a difference between the text and the actions; nobody thinks that religious people are going to go out and kill secular people for not keeping Shabbat.

“There is no reason for investigators to meddle in halachic issues, and besides – it’s not rabbis who take people out to war, rather the government and the army,” said Yosef.

“The whole point of this affair is to isolate the Orthodox population, and keep it isolated as a law-breaking part of society, though this is the public that leads the State of Israel,” he said.

Government officials, however, were highly critical of the disturbances and riots that broke out following Rabbi Lior's arrest, and specifically of the rabbis' refusal to appear for questioning after being served with summons.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday issued a statement saying, “Israel is a law-abiding country. The law binds all and all are subject to it.”

“I call on all the country’s citizens to obey the law,” the prime minister said.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that while she didn’t like to see a rabbi taken into custody, Israel must preserve equality before the law.

“If we lose that foundation, we will lose the source of authority, which is the foundation of our joint lives. The Jewish Scriptures also state that the sovereign’s law is the law, and that tenet accompanied the Jewish people throughout their exile and must continue to direct us in the Jewish state,” Livni said.
יומיים אחרי שעצרה את הרב דב ליאור וחוללה סערה בימין, המשטרה מתכוונת לעצור לחקירה את הגר"י יוסף, בנו של נשיא מועצת חכמי התורה, מרן הרב עובדיה יוסף, שחתם גם הוא על הסכמה לספר "תורת המלך".

המשטרה כנראה חששה מתגובה דומה לזו שהיתה עם מעצרו של הרב ליאור, ולכן פנתה בחשאי לגר"י וביקשה ממנו להתייצב לחקירה.

הרב יוסף דחה את ההצעה, באומרו: "התורה אינה עומדת לחקירה ולא ייתכן שפרופסורים יסיתו נגד יהודים ולא ייחקרו, ואילו דעת תורה נגד אויבים תהיה כפופה לאישור ולגחמותיו של פקיד כזה או אחר", כך מדווח "ידיעות אחרונות".

אתמול הגיב הרב ליאור למעצר ולמהומה בעקבותיו. "אם היו מזמינים אותי לחקירה בחשד ללקיחת כספים מהציבור, הייתי אומר שזו חובתה של המשטרה לחקור. אך אני לא עברתי שום עבירה על החוק", אמר הרב ליאור.

לדברי רבה של קרית-ארבע, "להגיד על רב בישראל שהוא מסית לגזענות ולאלימות – זו עלילה שאין לה שום יסוד".

משרד המשפטים פרסם אמש הודעה בנושא שבה צוין כי צו המעצר נגד ליאור הוצא בידיעתם ובאישורם של וינשטיין, לדור וצמרת הפרקליטות, אחרי שהרב ליאור סרב להתייצב לחקירה.

בהודעה נאמר כי "במדינת חוק, שבה נחקרו במשטרה נשיא מדינה, ראשי ממשלה, שרים, חברי כנסת, חכמי דת ואישי ציבור בכירים, אין איש מעל לחוק, ואין איש רשאי לראות עצמו פטור מהחובה להתייצב לחקירת משטרה".

ובהמשך: "על אף זאת, התקיימו מגעים בין אנשי משרדנו מטעם היועץ המשפטי לממשלה לבין גורמים שונים, והוצע לרב להתייצב לחקירה באופן מכובד ושקט. ניסיונות אלה נענו בשלילה, ועל כן לא היה מנוס מלהוציא את צו המעצר".

גם ראש הממשלה, בנימין נתניהו התייחס למעצר ובהודעה שפרסמה לשכתו נאמר: "ישראל היא מדינת חוק. הוא מחייב וחל על כולם. אני קורא לכל אזרחי המדינה לשמור על החוק".

ZAKA files US restraining order over cremation of Israeli

The emergency response and disaster relief organization ZAKA has successfully filed a restraining order in the US to prevent an Israeli mother from having her son cremated.

Aaron Tabachnik, a Jewish Israeli teen, recently committed suicide while at a Florida shooting range. Because the young man did not have a will, the disposal of his remains has been left to the discretion of his mother, who opted for cremation and planned to scatter the ashes in Arad, where the family is originally from.

Upon hearing of the mother’s intentions, Aaron’s father Moshe Tabachnik, who is divorced from the mother, flew to Florida and contacted ZAKA founder and chairperson Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. Meshi-Zahav worked with the family to ensure a proper Jewish burial.

Cremation is prohibited by Jewish law.

ZAKA has a legal department, which Lydia Weitzman, a spokeswoman for the organization, says deals

specifically with overseas cases like this.

“Any instance of unnatural death in Israel is dealt with by the ZAKA organization,” says Weitzman. But ZAKA also handles cases that, like this one, take place outside Israel, and over the organization’s 16-year existence, Weitzman says, ZAKA has become involved in cases involving Israelis and Jews worldwide.

“We help bereaved families cut through the bureaucratic red tape,” said Weitzman.

Now that the restraining order against cremation has been issued, the situation has been put on hold until the family can reach an agreement on how to lay Tabachnik’s body to rest.

Weitzman went on to explain that ZAKA handled a similar case earlier this month when an Israeli man

was murdered in the Philippines, and his son chose to have his body cremated. ZAKA intervened, offering to pay for transport back to Israel so the body could be buried. The man was ultimately returned to Israel and given a proper Jewish burial, though the son opted to pay the travel expense himself.

ZAKA has intervened in such cases “many, many times before,” says Weitzman. The organization works to ensure that bodies are returned to their families for “a proper Jewish burial,” explained the spokeswoman, though that burial need not necessarily take place in Israel.

Ultimately, says Weitzman, the goal of ZAKA is to provide closure for families like Aaron Tabachnik’s.

NY. Williamsburg - Elderly can-collector Victor Lemanski caught in gang crossfire, hit by stray bullet

Victor Lemanski was hit by a stray bullet strolling down Humboldt St. in Williamsburg

An 86-year-old man collecting cans was hit by a stray bullet Tuesday when a gun battle erupted on a Brooklyn street, cops and family said.

Victor Lemanski was strolling down Humboldt St. near Boerum St. in Williamsburg about 1:10 p.m. when two groups of people started shooting at each other, police and witnesses said.

Lemanski dropped to the ground near his cart full of cans after one of the bullets tore through his left thigh, witnesses said.

"This guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said a man who lives nearby. "I've been in this neighborhood for 42 years and I'm telling you this happens all the time. It's a scary neighborhood."

The retired steelworker was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. Lemanski, heavily sedated and wearing an oxygen mask, was unable to speak at his hospital bed.

"We're in shock - we don't know how this could've happened," said his daughter, Barbara Szpilka, 53. "He goes to church on Humboldt St. every day and sometimes every night."

Lemanski, who lives 2 miles away in Greenpoint, was just blocks away from Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church when he was shot.

"My family has lived there 48 years," said Szpilka, who lives in Florida. "Nothing like this has ever happened. My father is a good man."

No one has been arrested.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Seattle, WA - Outrage After Police Rifle Left Unattended On Cruiser

The Seattle Police officer left their loaded rifle unattended on a patrol car outside a busy down town area today

This is the shocking picture of a fully loaded assault rifle left unattended on the trunk of patrol car in a busy Seattle street.

The bungling officers were nowhere to be seen after leaving the AR-15 on the boot of their patrol car outside a busy hotel and shopping street on Monday night.

Shockingly, after the officers returned, they failed to notice the menacing rifle and drove off.
It was only after a woman chased the car as it drove away, that the officers realised their mistake.

Passer-by Nick Gonzales, who photographed the shocking scene above, also alerted two bike cops after seeing the rifle at around 9 pm Monday night, describing them as being 'shocked as hell'.

Speaking to, Seattle Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said: 'We'd really like to express our gratitude to Nick the Slog tipper who flagged down the bike officers and also a separate woman who alerted the driver of the patrol car that there was an unattended rifle on the car.

There is a chain of command investigation that will look into the circumstances that contributed to this incident.

'Just the fact that the rifle was left on a patrol car unattended is embarrassing, and people should expect more from the Police Department.

According to the website, Seattle police keep rifles in three states; unloaded, patrol-car ready and tactical ready.

A full investigation has been launched.

The Police officers involved - highly trained and specially selected to carry the lethal weapons - have yet to be named.

Cathryn Olson, civilian director of the Office of Professional Accountability, said: 'The incident was brought to my attention earlier this morning, and I immediately contacted SPD Command Staff.

'I learned that Captain (Joe) Kessler, the commander of the West Precinct, had already begun an investigation into the circumstances involved.

'It is unacceptable that a rifle was left unattended on a patrol car, and people should expect more from their police department.

'We are very grateful to the two good Samaritans who alerted police to the unattended rife: Nick, the SLOG tipster who flagged down near-by SPD bicycle officers who were separately responding, and a woman who followed the patrol car and alerted the driver about the rifle.

Skvere Rebbe's Attorney Lies About Role Of Rebbe In Skvere Community

Franklyn Snitow asserts taht the Skere Rebbe lacked the power to force anyone to follow his rules and says that Rebbe had no role in running Skvere institutions.

New Jersey - Dwek Ordered Back To Jail

New Jersey - A judge has revoked the bail of the federal government’s main informant in New Jersey’s largest corruption sting.

Solomon Dwek was arrested last month in Baltimore for failing to return a rental car and later lied to the FBI about it. That violated his cooperating witness agreement.

Dwek had been free on bail since his 2006 arrest in a $50 million bank fraud.

In the sting operation, Dwek posed as a corrupt real estate developer. He asked New Jersey elected and appointed officials for help. The probe led to 46 arrests in 2009.

At a hearing Tuesday in Newark, U.S. District Judge Jose Linares revoked Dwek’s bail and ordered him sent to prison.

The government had requested that Dwek be held on house arrest
שלמה דואק שהביא להפללתם של 46 איש, בהם רבנים וראשי ישיבה בקהילה החלאבית בניו ג'רסי וניו יורק, הפר את תנאי שחרורו בערבות ואף ניסה לגנוב מכונית שכורה מחברת השכרת רכב בבליטימור לפני כחודש. מאוחר יותר גם שיקר לחוקרי האף בי אי.

בדיון שנערך אתמול (ג') בבית המשפט, הורה השופט המחוזי ג'וז לינארס, לשלוח את דואק לכלא. בדבריו כינה השופט את דואק: "שקרן, ערמומי ונוכל סידרתי".

מאז שנת 2006 משוחרר דואק בערבות. קורבנותיו יושבים חלקם בכלא, וחלקם ממתינים לגזר דינם.

התובע המחוזי בראיין האווי אמר, כי דואק שכר רכב לפני חודש מחברת הרץ על שם בדוי, וחתם על הצהרה כוזבת. על הרכב הוא שילם בכרטיס אשראי של אביו, הרב אייזיק דואק.

בחקירתו הכחיש דואק באוזני חוקרי האף. בי. אי. את העניין.

התובע הכללי ביקש מעצר בית, אך השופט סירב. דואק פשט את חליפתו, את העניבה הכחולה שלבש והובל לכלא.

Madoff says he was surprised judge didn't 'suggest stoning' as Ponzi punishment

Two years after Bernie Madoff was sentenced for running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme, the disgraced former Wall Street moneyman said he was surprised that the federal judge who sentenced him to 150 years behind bars "didn't suggest stoning in a public place" as punishment.

“Explain to me who else has received a sentence like that,” Madoff whined in an interview that ran on The New York Times' website today. “I mean, serial killers get a death sentence, but that’s virtually what he gave me.”

In his first comments ever on Manhattan Federal Judge Denny Chin, the 73-year-old swindler said, "I’m surprised Chin didn’t suggest stoning in the public square."

Madoff's lawyer, Ira Sorkin, had argued that Madoff, then 71, could expect to live about 13 more years. As a result, Sorkin had asked for a term of 12 years -- “just short of an effective life sentence,” as he put it -- suggesting that Madoff could be allowed a year of freedom before he died.

In an interview with the newspaper, Chin said he understood Sorkin’s argument.

“It’s a fair argument that you want to give someone some possibility of seeing the light of day,” the judge said, “so that they have some hope, and something to live for.”

“And,” he added, “that was one of the struggles in Madoff.”

Chin said he rejected the idea of a 12-year sentence -- but pondered whether 20 to 25 years might be acceptable. He said he concluded that even that “would have been just way too low.”

“In the end, I just thought he didn’t deserve it,” said Chin. “The benefits of giving him hope were far outweighed by all of the other considerations.”

Chin ultimately imposed the 150-year term after Madoff pleaded guilty to all 11 counts against him in 2009, including fraud and money laundering. Madoff is currently serving his sentence at a federal lock-up in Butner, NC.

Chin, 57, recalls the unprecedented anger and shock surrounding the Madoff scam, saying giving him less than 150 years did not appear to be a possibility.

“Splitting the baby, to me, was sending the wrong message,” he said. “Often that’s the easy way out, but as we know from the old parable, that wasn’t the right thing to do.”

On the weekend before the sentencing, Chin read roughly 450 e-mails and letters that had come from victims.

“Not just money: It reaches to the core and affects your general faith in humanity, our government and basic trust in our financial system,” he said. “The loss of dignity, the loss of freedom from financial worry."

Chin recalled that the lack of letters in support of Madoff was "telling.”

“A defendant should get his just deserts,” Chin recalled thinking.

Litttle League coach accused of keeping kiddie porn stash charged with molesting six former players

Dave Hartshorn faces life in prison if convicted of molesting several of his former players

A Queens Little League coach accused of stashing creepy kiddie-porn images has been charged with molesting three more of his players - bringing the total to six.

David Hartshorn, 52, was arraigned Tuesday on felony charges of predatory sexual assault on a child and faces life in prison if convicted.

The former Rochdale Village Little League coach of the year has been held without bail since February, when cops accused him of using his post to prey on 13- and 14-year-old boys.

"He used his position as a coach to select his victims," said Assistant District Attorney Debra Bresnahan.

When he was arrested, prosecutors said more charges were likely after reviewing video evidence seized from Hartshorn's Springfield Gardens home.

The allegations include claims that Hartshorn showed a kiddie-porn video to one 13-year-old victim and vowed, "I'm going to do that to you."

In August 2010, Hartshorn allegedly engaged six boys in a twisted game of poker in which the loser was forced to perform a sex act on him.

One of the boys told his mother, prompting the investigation.

Hartshorn was laid off by Merrill Lynch several years ago, said his lawyer Kenneth Keane, who cited his client's community-based work in asking for bail.

"He's been active in community affairs," Keane said before the judge shot him down.

Hartshorn previously worked as a campaign manager in former Manhattan Councilman Alan Gerson's failed 2009 reelection bid.

He enlisted young kids to hand out flyers while working for Queens lawyer Joe Fox's bid to unseat state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi.

In 1989, Hartshorn pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in a case that prosecutors say mirrored the current allegations.

In that case, Hartshorn was initially charged with sodomy and other sex-related crimes.

NY: Two Dead in Dutchess County Plane Crash

Two people are dead after a small plane crashed near the Dutchess County Airport in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., according to the FAA.

A witness tells that it appears that the plane either skipped off of the runway or did not make the runway off of State Route 376.

Emergency personnel were on the scene and a blue tarp covers part of the plane. Two people were on the plane when it went down at about 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

The FAA says the plane is a single engine Cessna 172 registered to Mill Brook Flight LLC, out of Poughkeepsie.

The cause of the accident is unknown, but the plane had been doing "touch and go" training shortly before the accident.

The crash occurred about 65 miles north of New York City.

Two Dead in Dutchess County Plane Crash:

'Rapper' Climbs Pole In Times Square

'Rapper' Climbs Pole In Times Square:

Man stands and raps to police before surrendering

NYPD officers spent two hours attempting to get an apparent aspiring rapper down from a light post in Times Square before he surrendered at about 11:15 a.m.

The scene unfolded about 18 feet above 7th Ave. and 44th St at 9 a.m.

The man, identified as Raymond Velasquez, 34, of Brooklyn, climbed the pole across from the MTV studios. He reportedly wanted to try to promote his CDs.

Police ended up having to closed off 44th and 45th Streets and a full block of 7th Ave. An NYPD emergency services van pulled up to the pole. About a half-dozen officers climbed onto the top of the van, just below Velasquez.

Officers then roped off the area with yellow crime tape and an ambulance was standing by on the scene. Hundreds of people gathered across the street to watch the spectacle.

Rescue personnel inflated a cushioning device around the pole to break his fall if he came loose from his perch.

At one point, they raised a ladder towards Velasquez, but he stood up and raised his arms over his head. The officers quickly removed the ladder. He remained standing and appeared to be rapping and dancing on the pole.

A short time later, he sat back down and they put the ladder back onto the pole.

Velasquez, wearing shorts, a dark baseball cap and a red shirt, eventually decided to come down the ladder. He was quickly taken into custody and put in the ambulance to head for a mental evaluation.

The pole was just below another pole that holds an NYPD security camera.

Mitzvah Tantz Hasidim Can Dance

Thanks to Joel Katz for the link to the orriginal source.

Baltimore, MD - Government Witness, Dwek Faces Bail Hearing

Solomon Dwek

NEWARK, N.J. - The government's main informant in New

Jersey's largest corruption sting is due in federal court Tuesday.

Solomon Dwek will learn whether he'll remain free on bail after

he was arrested on theft charges earlier this month in Baltimore.

Dwek is accused of failing to return a rental car.

The son of a prominent rabbi from Deal, N.J., became a

cooperating government witness after he was arrested in a $50

million bank fraud in 2006.

Dwek first targeted members of the Orthodox Jewish community by

posing as a failed businessman who needed to launder money.

He then posed as a corrupt real estate developer who offered

cash to several New Jersey elected and appointed officials.

The probe led to the arrest of 46 defendants on corruption and

money laundering charges.

ידו השבורה של הרב ברלנד שליט"א

Billionaire Mashkevich quits Euro-Asian Jewish Congress presidency

Alexander Mashkevich

Israeli-Kazakh billionaire Alexander Mashkevich has resigned as president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, a spokesman confirmed to JTA.

Mashkevich, whose fortune is tied to his stock in the Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., stepped down because of "the need to focus on his business questions," spokesman Roman Spektor said.

"EAJC continues to work normally," he added.

The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress is a subsidiary of the World Jewish Congress. Mashkevich had been the group's head for 10 years.

The billionaire occasionally has drawn scrutiny for his outsized public statements and lavish expenditures. Last October, Mashkevich was said to be detained on a Turkish sex yacht, though he denied being arrested in the breakup of an alleged prostitution ring aboard the boat.

Spektor said the incident in Turkey is unrelated to Mashkevich's resignation.

In April, he announced his intention to found a "Jewish Al Jazeera" during an address at the Keren Hayasod-United Israel Appeal conference in Washington, D.C. Some news reports have suggested that Mashkevich's decision to resign is tied to his desire to focus his efforts on that endeavor.

A new president will be elected in September, Spektor said, following procedures in the EAJC's by-laws.

Feds Find Cocaine in Sneakers at JFK Airport

Customs and Border Protection agents at JFK Airport found cocaine hidden in sneakers that were inside abandoned luggage

Customs agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport found five pounds of cocaine hidden inside a piece of luggage that was apparently abandoned, officials said.

The bag had arrived on June 23 on a flight from the Dominican Republic and contained four pairs of sneakers.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers pulled apart the sneakers because they seemed unusually heavy, according to CBP. Inside the soles of the sneakers, they found a white powdery substance, which field-tested positive for cocaine.

The feds estimate the drugs have a street value of more than $100,000.

$19M bank 'robbery'

Ex-Citigroup exec Gary Foster

Former exec looted Citi funds, feds say

He robbed Citigroup blind, the feds say.

A former executive with the banking giant embezzled $19 million over 18 months, and used the loot to buy high-end real estate and luxury cars, authorities and sources said yesterday.

Gary Foster, 35, also allegedly splurged on a chauffeur for his Maserati GranTurismo and BMW 550i because he is legally blind -- and had a Ferrari on order when the FBI busted him Sunday as he was getting off a flight from Bangkok at Kennedy Airport, sources said.

"The defendant allegedly used his knowledge of bank operations to commit the ultimate inside job," said Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch, announcing bank-fraud charges against Foster, a 12-year Citigroup vet who abruptly quit in January.

Foster earned $100,000 annually as an assistant vice president in the Long Island City, Queens, offices of the bank's treasury finance department, which manages some of the institution's own investments.

But authorities alleged that beginning in May 2009, and continuing until last December, Foster wired $19.2 million from internal Citi accounts into his personal Chase bank account.

He allegedly covered up the scam by assigning phony contract or deal numbers to make the transfers appear legit, and had himself assigned as contact person if there were problems, a criminal complaint charges.

Foster allegedly dropped $12 million of the embezzled money on properties in Midtown and New Jersey, bought a Garden State house for his parents and paid off a mortgage for his ex-wife.

In December, a month before quitting, Foster dropped $3 million on a 10,000-square-foot, six-bedroom mansion in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and $1.93 million on a Rockefeller Center apartment right across West 48th Street from a Citi branch.

Foster -- a Rutgers University grad whose LinkedIn page lists him as hedge-fund consultant -- also bought two condos worth a combined $2.5 million in a Jersey City glass-tower high-rise overlooking the Hudson River.

"I walked into the unit and was like, 'Wow. This is a really great view,' " Foster told The Bergen Record last year in an article that was accompanied by a photo of him in the 33rd-floor unit, sitting in a chair on a gaudy zebra-striped carpet.

One of Foster's homes has ceilings painted in gold leaf, while another's bathroom mirrors turn into TV screens when a button is pressed, a source said.

Foster "loved to hang out in spas, getting facials and massages" -- and stocked multiple bank accounts with loads of looted cash, the source said.

Another source said that Foster, who has two children, became a regular in the Manhattan nightclub scene. He would show up to hot spots like Greenhouse and NYC wearing eye-catching watches and dropping as much as $2,000 on bottle service.

His ex-wife, Joan Foster, told The Post that she never benefited from his allegedly ill-gotten gains.

"All I can say is he didn't show any signs of this activity when we were together," she said.

A Citi spokeswoman said, "We are outraged by the actions of this former employee. Citi informed law enforcement immediately upon discovery of the suspicious transactions, and we are cooperating fully to ensure Mr. Foster is prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Foster, who is facing up to 30 years in prison if convicted, pleaded not guilty yesterday at Brooklyn federal court and was released on $800,000 bond secured by his parents' home and other properties.