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New York, like other states, has its own criminal statutes that regulate the possession of guns.  These offenses are generally found in Penal Law Article 265. While some have been on the books for decades, others are more recent additions. Two of these crimes, Penal Law 265.01-e, Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun in a Sensitive Location, and 265.01-d, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in a Restricted Location, went into effect on September 1, 2022. Whether these class “E” felonies stand the test of time and legal challenges, criminal defense attorneys and everyday people residing in or visiting New York City, the Hudson Valley, or elsewhere in the state should have a basic understanding of these laws to best ensure they avoid arrest, prosecution, and as long as four years in prison.

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With Steve Bannon arraigned in New York County Supreme Court and his “We Build the Wall” indictment unsealed, along with the joint presser with District Attorney Alvin Bragg and NYS Attorney General Tish James, the public now has far more color into the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against former President Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist and his purported bilking of $15 million in contributions to erect a wall on our southern border with Mexico along with funneling north of $100,000 through his own not-for-profit to pay We Build the Wall, Inc.’s president. Now that the indictment is available, along with the overt acts that are the foundation of the Conspiracy to commit Money Laundering and Scheme to Defraud, what does this all mean for Bannon and We Build the Wall Inc.?

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** Indictment Unsealed * Bannon charged with Money Laundering 2nd as top count along with other offenses including Conspiracy 4th and Scheme to Defraud 1st. Money Laundering 2nd requires no minimum incarceration and as much as five to fifteen years prison while the other two crimes also have no mandated minimum imprisonment but as much as one and one third to four years. No charge of either Grand Larceny or Criminal Possession of Stolen property presumably due to jurisdictional issues*

According to numerous reports, Stephen Bannon is expected to surrender on Thursday to Manhattan prosecutors at the fabled 1 Hogan Place. After he is presumably fingerprinted by District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s detective squad, Donald Trump’s former Chief Strategist and central figure of  We Build the Wall Inc., a fund-raising organization that spurred then-President Trump’s efforts to build a wall on our southern border with Mexico, will be arraigned in New York County Supreme Court. Although I have no inside knowledge of the indictment, from what I have read online, the boiled down allegations stem from monies illegally funneled from We Build the Wall Inc. by Bannon and others for his and their personal use.

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While it is not atypical for a victim of Extortion, Blackmail, Sextortion, or some other fraud scheme to summon the courage and fortitude to stand up to the campaign of terror waged by his or her abuser, there is a reason you do not hear much about these extortees turning to law enforcement out of concern of the obvious: what embarrassed or humiliated them so much, true or not, will ultimately find its way into the public arena. That said, similar to a catfishing Blackmail matter I brought on behalf of a victim to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that resulted in the extortee’s indictment, conviction, and incarceration for scheming our client and other men she met on an online adult site, Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District Of New York, along with the FBI, announced the indictment of Sakoya Blackwood for Catfishing, Sextortion, and Blackmail. Like the case referenced above, it is alleged Blackwood targeted high net worth men with public profiles in order to maximize her ill gotten gains.

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Having both prosecuted individuals as a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney and defended clients arrested and charged with Penal Law 265.03, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, as a New York gun possession lawyer, I have learned over the past 22 years that New York’s firearm laws can be unforgiving. For the uninformed, which there are many, the New York Penal Law does not differentiate between unlawfully possessing a loaded firearm – pistols, glocks, revolvers – outside your home or place of business that you illegally bought on the street or stole, from one otherwise lawfully possessed out of state but carried on your person in New York without the requisite license or permit here. Simply, even if there are other potential charges, in the eyes of New York law, there is no difference between holstering that back alley loaded gun in your waistband and walking around Brooklyn and declaring that same .9 mm to an airline representative or TSA agent, along with your out-of-state permit, before flying out of Queens’ JFK or LaGuardia Airport believing you are following proper protocols. Taken a step further, whether there is a bullet chambered in either scenario or the ammunition is in a case but not in the actual gun, the weapon may nonetheless be considered loaded.

With the above background in mind, Saland Law is pleased to share two separate results for clients arrested for Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, aka, CPW 4, in Manhattan.

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Already recognized as part of the Extortion fixing “A-Team” by the NY Daily News, I was grateful Business Insider further highlighted my Blackmail protection work with Sage Intelligence Group’s Herman Weisberg. To that end, I appreciated their recognition that Saland Law, along with Sage Intelligence, is a leader and “gold standard” among a very small and finite number of attorneys and investigators in New York, and elsewhere, possessing both the legal foundation and hands-on experience to ethically extinguish these violative shakedowns. Safeguarding CEOs, hedge funders, private equity partners, Big Law attorneys, top physicians, celebrities, and media personalities from Extortion, Sextortion, Blackmail, Revenge Porn, and Stalking, and doing so within the four corners of the law, is not a job left to green attorneys or those with enough knowledge to endanger their clients. Unfortunately, as many an extortee learns far too late, once mistakes are made, whether by a blackmailee or their lawyer, those missteps are often as indelible as the regret that shadows them in perpetuity. That is why it is no surprise that many victims of these schemes retain Jeremy Saland and Saland Law to end the illegal money grab and relentless threats of personal, financial, familial, and career decimation that stalk them.

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Little did I know that after prosecuting three men for blackmailing former NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony all the way back in 2004-2006 during my days as a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, that my experience leading that investigation into Grand Larceny by Extortion would become the catalyst to develop a niche practice representing Extortion, Blackmail, Sextortion, Stalking, Harassment, and Revenge Porn, victims. Whether as a “fixer” handling cases outside the criminal justice system due to a client’s desire to keep matters private and from the public eye, and always within the four corners of the law, or presenting our cases “pre-packaged” to prosecutors leading to an indictment and even incarceration, having the knowledge and legal foundation to pursue these matters discretely has provided both emotional and financial relief to literally dozens upon dozens of clients over the years. In fact, in the past week and a half alone I have assisted three individuals, two of whom collectively paid out north of $60,000.00 to their extorters before contacting me, and another who, with his parents, reached out to Saland Law, PC before his life went sideways.

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While everyone is both entitled and deserving of the presumption of innocence, when a man is charged with Sex Abuse and Endangering the Welfare of a Child, the assumption is that he did something terribly wrong. When the accuser is a 13-year-old girl, this belief is compounded, and the overwhelming majority of people will conclude he must be guilty. Why? Because there is no reason a young girl – or anyone – would ever make up such a lie, of course.  Unfortunately for a recent client of Saland Law PC’s criminal defense attorneys, despite his unwavering assertion that he did not abuse his girlfriend’s daughter, it took a trial by his peers for his voice to be heard. Fortunately, however, after a nearly two-week trial where prosecutors accused our client of rubbing the young girl’s buttocks and attempting to penetrate her vaginally with his fingers, that same jury rendered a verdict of not guilty on all counts. As much as I would like to say my hard work and trial skills won the day, and that was no doubt a part, sometimes it is not an experienced criminal lawyer who enables a client to escape responsibility for his or her criminal conduct. Instead, an acquittal can simply be a just resolution on the facts and evidence, and exoneration of an innocent person wrongfully accused of a heinous crime.

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Over the past few weeks, the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law PC successfully advocated for clients in both NYC’s Criminal and Family Courts to obtain dismissals for Attempted Extortion and Aggravated Harassment respectively, and against the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) to avoid the arrest of an autistic young man for Forcible Touching in another. An easy task it was not, but the resolutions were just dispositions welcomed by our clients and a continuation of similar successes many Saland Law PC clients have enjoyed during the past months and years.

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Maybe you stole a handful of COVID-19 vaccine cards when you got your Moderna shot. Maybe you made some fake vaccination cards and created a totally fraudulent one that looks like the real deal when you got your first and only Pfizer injection. You don’t need a criminal defense attorney to brainstorm the countless ways you could make a few dollars selling your wares or how you could use one of these counterfeit vaccination documents to satisfy an employer’s mandate, gain entrance into some type of venue, or demonstrate your “jab” status wherever it may be required. For that matter, if you want to dupe the State of New York and get yourself an Excelsior pass based on a Johnson and Johnson vaccine you never received, there is no doubt a way to handle that too. The reality, however, is if you get arrested in New York City’s Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island, or the police charge you in Westchester’s White Plains, Rockland’s New City, or anywhere from Putnam to Dutchess and beyond for a counterfeit COVID vaccination card, you should expect that the local District Attorney is going to take the matter quite seriously. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and use the ole’ Google and see for yourself.

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