As a both a New York criminal lawyer representing the accused and serving as an advocate for complainants as well as a Title IX attorney representing alleged perpetrators and victims of Dating Violence and Gender Based Discrimination on college and university campuses, it is sometimes a heavy lift and difficult task to secure the justice a client wants, needs and deserves. While justice may manifest itself in different forms to different people, exoneration of the innocent is the pinnacle achievement and best outcome irrespective of the allegation.

With the above in mind, my words cannot accurately reflect the emotions – from anxiety and fear to joy and relief – that wash over the vindicated when the battles commence and rage until the almost literal war is over. It is the target of the wrongful, hurtful and traumatic claim that lives through these emotions who can best articulate them. The following is one such client’s review that makes me proud of my efforts and of my client’s strength while providing me with immeasurable satisfaction and relief that I delivered her the justice she unequivocally deserved.

If you shook Robert Morgenthau’s hand, you were one clasp away from the men and women whose names you read about in history books, faces you saw in black and white photographs and movies, and voices you heard in scratchy inaudible recordings. From Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King, Morgenthau was not merely a secondary figure, but a core piece of the fabric and events that shaped New York, the United States and the world. With these men’s blood, sweat and tears, and that of countless other men and women whose names we will never know, the nation leapt forward with a purposeful objective even if only at times incrementally. Sadly, with Morgenthau’s passing, night descends upon an era that we, as a nation, have already strayed for far too long. Gone are the days of FDR, JFK, and King when leaders unhesitatingly rose to preserve and protect the greater public good. Few are our leaders today who embrace their duty to selflessly safeguard the public irrespective of their personal agendas or beliefs.Morgenthau-Family-300x193

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College Title IX lawyers and student misconduct attorneys representing clients in cases alleging gender-based misconduct and dating violence accusations know firsthand how the system is not one founded in due process. Simply, university violations, from NYU and Columbia to Pace and Fordham, not only lack the checks and balances taken for granted in the criminal justice system but are enforced by university administrators often lacking the investigative experience necessary to pursue the right leads and effectively parse through the evidence. Couple these factors with a legal threshold that is not beyond a reasonable doubt but a preponderance of the evidence, the subject of an accusation is often left without the tools and recourse necessary to defend him or herself. Fortunately, for a client falsely accused of a horrific rape that morphed into claims she was a monster-like stalker and manipulative predator, after a five month long investigation and ultimate adjudication, the college exonerate our client. Only slightly less gratifying, the college found that the accuser was in fact the abuser leading to a responsible finding and multi-year hold on her diploma post-graduation.

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Criminal charges dismissed on the motion of the prosecution [*check*]. Maltreatment and Negligence finding by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) amended from indicated to unfounded [*check*]. Article 10 Negligence Petition filed by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) withdrawn [*check*]. A Criminal Court and Family Court “hat trick” by Crotty Saland PC’s defense team? Check yet again.

While Crotty Saland PC’s family law attorneys and criminal defense lawyers secured yet another successful disposition, and more importantly fair and just one, above cases demonstrate once again that when accused of wrongdoing, one often has many battles ahead on one’s way to vindication. After being targeted by the mother of his child with fictitious allegations as a likely means to pry custody away from our client, the mother’s attempts ultimately backfired in spectacular fashion. The exoneration of our client aside, now it is she who appears to be the subject of an ACS investigation.

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While our client charged with Third and Second Degree Menacing and Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief cannot get back the months of his life lost to the criminal justice system, what started off as a bogus claim and an arrest of a federal law enforcement officer finally ended with his complete exoneration in a New York City Criminal Court. Although our client can now pursue the back pay he was denied during his suspension, as grateful as he was that the system “worked,” our client unfortunately witnessed firsthand how difficult it is when the system sees you as guilty even if the law is supposed to protect you with the presumption of innocence. Thankfully, after months of back and forth with a prosecutor who did her due diligence and, even if disagreeing, kept an open mind, pushing the case to a trial and rejecting an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back of this unfounded case. A great effort – and even better resolution – for the criminal attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC.

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Although there may be victims and their advocates who will argue it does not go far enough, with the passage of New York Penal Law 245.15, Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image (awaiting the Governor’s signature) police departments and District Attorneys throughout the State of New York will have the ability to prosecute certain types of actions that fall under the umbrella of Revenge Porn crimes. Similar to NYC’s Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image, Administrative Code 10-177*3, this new statute would allow victims to pursue their alleged abusers criminally in a NY Criminal Court as well as in a Civil Court by establishing the means for a private right of action – a lawsuit – pursuant to Civil Rights Law 52-b. Equally important, a violation of Penal Law 245.15 would also constitute a Family Offense thereby potentially allowing a petitioner to secure a Family Court Order of Protection without the arrest of their alleged tormentor.

Whether you are a victim or an accused, before you find yourself on either end of a Criminal, Family or Civil Court proceeding, educate yourself on the law, consult with your counsel or lawyer, and take the steps to protect yourself going forward.

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U4-Disclosure-300x166Financial professionals who have taken and passed the Series 6, 7, 63, 65 or 66 exams know that an arrest and conviction can decimate careers regulated and overseen by FINRA. Many of these men and women, however, are unaware that New York State allows people with no more than two criminal convictions, of which only one can be a non-violent felony, to apply to have their criminal record sealed pursuant to NY Criminal Procedure law 160.59. Although not expunged, once the record is sealed, except for some specified organizations and law enforcement agencies, employers and the general public are prevented from “seeing” their past. With the above in mind, the following questions come time mind that are worthy of review with a lawyer versed in New York sealing law.  If, for example, you were convicted of Assault, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance or even Grand Larceny, must you disclose on your FINRA U4 the old arrest and criminal conviction if you successfully had the same sealed? For that matter, if you already shared the information as broker-dealers are obliged, is there a way to remove these records or prevent FINRA from keeping or sharing your history or taking adverse actions? Simply (albeit, not that simply), before responding to Criminal Disclosure questions 14A and 14B and determining how to protect yourself if you already disclosed a now sealed criminal conviction, it behooves you to discuss your specific matter with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in NYS’s pseudo-expungement law, FINRA’s U4 and relevant statutes including NYS Human Rights Law 296(16).

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As miserable as it likely was for Kristaps Porzingis to play for the perennially cellar-dwelling New York Knicks, the current Dallas Maverick’s All-Star forward is in the type of foul trouble that outweighs any he experienced at Madison Square Garden. Either a victim of Extortion and Blackmail or a man on the precipice of an arrest for a heinous Rape crime, the “Unicorn” finds himself playing both offense and defense as the game clock is expiring.

If what alleged is true, forcing another person to engage in sexual intercourse by a threat or use of physical force – defined as “forcible compulsion” in the New York Penal Law – is not only a statutorily identified “violent crime” of First Degree Rape, but exposes a person to registration as a sex offender upon conviction. Alternatively, if the complainant’s allegation was nothing but a money grab to unjustly enrich herself, then in lieu of find himself with handcuffs slapped on his wrists, 7’3” Latvian can steal the ball of public opinion and the criminal justice system and demand that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office prosecute his accuser for Second Degree Attempted Grand Larceny by Extortion in violation of New York Penal Law 110/155.40.

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Some may deem Paul Manafort’s roughly seven and a half year sentence in Federal Court as light, but should the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office prevail in its prosecution of Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, lobbyist and jet-setter will likely not be so fortunate the second time around. While there may be Double Jeopardy grounds that the criminal defense team can explore to dismiss the indictment if close enough to the Federal case, if convicted of First Degree Residential Mortgage Fraud or the lesser offense of Attempted First Degree Residential Mortgage Fraud as reflected in New York Penal Law sections 187.25 and 110/187.25 respectively, Manafort’s days (years?) of yearning for the penthouse will be that much longer as he cools his heels in the Big House.  Whether or not he is deemed a “predicate felon” for his Federal conviction, meaning New York views his plea and sentence as a prior felony in this state, Manafort would face up to 25 years in prison and no less than 1 to 3  years for the class B felony of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree. In the event he is deemed a “predicate felon,” his minimum sentence would be 4.5 to 9 years “upstate.” All of this ignores the lesser, but nonetheless serious crimes of Attempted First Degree Mortgage Fraud, a class C felony, and the class E felonies of First Degree Falsifying Business Records, Fourth Degree Conspiracy and First Degree Scheme to Defraud. If convicted, as a predicate, Manafort’s sentencing judge would be mandated to incarcerate him to no less than 3 to 6 years and 1.5 to 3 years on these two respective felony classes and a corresponding maximum of 15 and 4 years as a temporary leasee of an 8 by 8 SRO with unobstructed views of New York’s finest concrete and iron construction.

Understanding Residential Mortgage Fraud

If what prosecutors claim is true, Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin could have Razzy worthy roles starring next to Marlon Brown in a remake of 1989’s “How I Got into College.” The alleged easy way out amateurs who, with others, collectively paid millions of dollars to “assist” their genetic lottery winners’ successful college admission into such universities as USC, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forrest, Ramsey (well, not really), and others, relied on the good old power of the almighty dollar to perpetrate the nationwide college entrance scheme. In lieu of cheating the old-fashioned way, “Operation Varsity Blues,” the relatively unoriginal but cutely named federal bribery and cheating investigation, resulted in dozens of arrests involving paid off Division 1 coaches, photoshopped pictures of high schoolers playing sports when they were likely absorbed in selfie inspired “insta” posts, and some old school cheating on SATs and ACTs. A heck of a scheme if you don’t get caught, this entire criminal enterprise had nothing on the one-man professional test-taking operation and self-proclaimed “GMAT Hero” along with his larger band of [admission slot] thieves. Responsible for taking in excess of 500 GMAT, GRE and TOEFL exams (go ahead, Google “Lu Xu” and “GMAT”), his proficiency  and skill was unparalleled even among his test-taking cohorts. Sorta’ a lesser known of the Uncanny Xmen of the college admissions underground.

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