Did You Know?
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe has released the 2012 Annual Report of the District Attorney's Office.
The 62-page report outlines the accomplishments and initiatives of the RCDA's office in 2012, and looks ahead in a challenging fiscal climate to maintaining visionary programs implemented during the past five years.
Highlights of the Annual Report include:
-The Rockland County District Attorney's Office achieved a 95.5% conviction rate in 2012, among the highest in all of New York State
District Attorney Zugibe said, "We made great strides last year, despite extraordinary fiscal challenges. Our visionary model of Community Prosecution maintained your confidence and enhanced quality of life, while efficient and productive operations managed the public's money responsibly. In the years to come, this office will continue to vigorously prosecute criminals, support crime victims and uphold our duty to be a good partner in the community. My administration is committed to justice and will ensure that public safety in Rockland County remains our top priority."
Welcome! The Rockland County District Attorney's newsletter is published several times a year in a continuing effort to inform the public of our efforts on behalf of the citizens. This is your source for news about recent prosecutions, initiatives and other highlights from the courtroom and our office. Be sure to check our website - RocklandCountyDA.com for current press releases and other important information about the Rockland County District Attorney's Office.
Summer 2013 Issue's Highlights:
- District Attorney's Office Releases Annual Report
- Continued Push For Stronger Federal Gun Laws
- Amnesty Program For STAR Violators Achieves Taxpayer Savings
- Crackdown On Child Care Subsidy Fraud
- Major Cases File: Drug Task Force
- YPI Soars To New Heights
- Making A Difference
The State of New York recently passed some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. The legislation, which received overwhelming public support following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, is already serving as a precedent for several other states. In February, District Attorney Zugibe joined with U.S. Congresswoman Nita Lowey and other local officials in Haverstraw to urge Congress to pass federal gun control legislation. In April, the U.S. Senate defeated a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales, as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons modeled after military assault weapons. Despite the failed attempt by Congress, District Attorney Zugibe promised the local push for tougher federal gun laws would not end.
On April 8th, fourteen Spring Valley teenagers gathered at the Kurtz Civic Center to become the latest graduates of the Rockland County District Attorney's Youth and Police Initiative (YPI). The program brings together at-risk teens with local police officers in an effort to enhance the officers and prosecutors understanding of the beliefs, values, and experiences of local youth, while ensuring that young participants develop a genuine regard for the challenges that cops face on the job. Ultimately, YPI forges the understanding that teens and police officers are not that different from one another.
Over the course of several weeks, the teens built relationships with 9 Spring Valley police officers through shared experiences, structured conversation and trust-building activities.
Since its launch in 2009, the successful mentoring program has graduated more than 130 students in the North Rockland, Nyack and Spring Valley public school districts. More than sixty police officers from the Haverstraw, Orangetown and Spring Valley police departments have taken part in the effort aimed at building trust in law enforcement, while reducing delinquency and violence among at-risk teens.
The Youth and Police Initiative is part of District Attorney Zugibe's continuing efforts to promote community safety through targeted prevention-based programming. A tenth YPI session is planned for the fall in Spring Valley.
District Attorney Zugibe joined with Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef and Susan Sherwood, Commissioner of Social Services on April 25th to announce the arrest of 14 individuals on charges of illegally obtaining subsidized child care funds. The defendants allegedly fraudulently obtained child care subsidy payments from the Rockland County Department of Social Services by submitting false information to receive the benefits meant to provide child care for needy families. The total amount allegedly stolen from taxpayers exceeds $ 229,000.
Child care subsidy fraud may exist when an applicant for, or recipient of, child care services deliberately provides the County Department of Social Services with false or incomplete information or omits information on such data as household composition, household income, the need for child care services, address, etc. to receive or retain child care services to which they are not legally entitled to receive.
To report suspect child care fraud:
- E-mail information to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax information to 845-364-3169
- Mail information to the Rockland County Department of Social Services, Special Investigations Unit, P.O. Box 307, Pomona, NY 10970
- Call Information Rockland at 845-364-2020
Residents providing information can remain anonymous.
District Attorney Zugibe broke new ground in February with the unveiling of a unique amnesty program to allow STAR program violators to pay up and avoid criminal charges and possible arrest. The amnesty initiative followed an intensive investigation aimed at rooting out county residents who were double-dipping their STAR, or New York State School Tax Relief property tax break. Detectives in the Special Investigations Unit uncovered more than $679,000 in improperly or fraudulently claimed STAR exemptions from 2012 in each of Rockland's five towns.
The amnesty program yielded impressive results: 108 individuals came forward to renounce their STAR exemption, saving New York State $434,832. In addition, the sweep led to a greater awareness of STAR guidelines, resulting in a noticeable decrease in enrollments for 2013. In the weeks since D.A. Zugibe announced the STAR amnesty, state officials have laid out plans to develop mechanisms to aid local assessors in monitoring exemptions.
On the evening of May 9th, members of the Rockland County District Attorney's Special Victims Unit were recognized by Mariska Hargitay during the sixth annual Joyful Heart Foundation Gala in New York City. The event raised funds for the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization Hargitay started in 2004 after she began playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Rockland's SVU, including lead prosecutor Patricia Gunning and Detective Mary Murphy, were invited to attend the event after the award-winning actress identified the work being done at the "Spirit of Rockland" Special Victims Center as a model of all that the Joyful Heart Foundation represents.
The employees of the Rockland County District Attorney, in partnership with the community we serve, are dedicated to the pursuit of truth, justice and protection of the innocent, and the prevention of crime through the vigorous and professional prosecution of those who violate the law.
Major Cases File: Drug Task Force
Two career criminals were indicted by a Rockland County grand jury in May on drug charges following a two-month undercover investigation into narcotics trafficking in Nyack.
Village residents Dominic White, 37, and Larnell Fortier, 23, were charged with various felony counts of criminal sale and criminal possession of controlled substances. At the time of the arrests, White was on parole for prior drug sales in Nyack and Fortier was on probation for drug dealing in the community. District Attorney Zugibe said, "The arrests once again underscore our continuing commitment to end drug-dealing and reduce drug-based violence within the Village of Nyack. We will not allow criminals like these to pedal their poison and terrorize our neighborhoods."