Unique Forgery Case

Although startups are more commonly associated with innovations in tech, they can also bring promises of improving every day, non-technology focused undertakings. Even legal services are jumping in on the trend. Companies such as LegalZoom and QuickLegal offer innovation when it comes to what many consider to be an unnecessarily complex and attorney-saturated world of legal services. Clients see these ventures as an opportunity to more easily obtain legal services without the hassles and fees that come with hiring an attorney.

Just how safe and reliable are these legal services? Well, when looking at the recent news regarding QuickLegal, one may reconsider using startup legal services.

Derek Bluford, the CEO and founder of QuickLegal, recently agreed to a legal judgment being entered against him. Bluford had previously been named in a lawsuit and charged with impersonating an attorney, forging legal documents, and fraudulently swindling two clients. The settlement agreement calls for Bluford to pay $559,330 in damages.

The lawsuit paints an interesting picture of both Bluford and his legal services. According to the complaint, Bluford was fraudulent and deceitful for nearly one year, leading to a swindling of almost half a million dollars from clients. It is alleged that Bluford fraudulently misrepresented himself as an attorney and led clients to believe that he was acting in their best interests. Instead, Bluford manufactured court and government documents, wrote up fictitious court orders, and wholly fabricated claims and hearings in an effort to swindle clients out of money.

While Bluford settled the case against him, he has vociferously denied the veracity of these allegations against him.

This unique case of forgery and deceit serves to illustrate a point that the easier alternative is not the wiser alternative to avail oneself of. Although internet-based legal services startups do provide easier access to legal advice and even “legal services,” these internet based legal service companies come with a risk. While every lawyers has an ethical duty of care and must reasonably ensure the confidentiality and security of a client’s information, there is no such responsibility for a non-lawyer, even if he or she masquerades as a lawyer. Lawyers face serious professional and legal repercussions when they fail to meet their duty of care. Legal startups and its employees–many, if not all, of whom are not attorneys–do not have the same ethical obligations.

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The accessibility of technology has made it much easier to conduct white collar and cybercrimes. If you are charged with a white collar or cybercrime, you too have a right to an attorney and to legal defense. If charged, it is important that you see the legal advice and counsel of an experienced and skilled attorney. New York criminal defense attorney Stephan Jacob Siegel has the experience and knowledge necessary to help identify and develop for you the strongest legal defense possible. Schedule a consultation today by calling (718) 575-3900.

Queens Gang Recently Indicted for Murder

Numerous violent gang members and criminals have been indicted in Queens according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who recently announced the indictment of 18 members and associates of a gang known as “Pop On Site” (POS) by a Queens County grand jury. The gang – which is also known as “Fully Loaded Outta Control Crips” (FLOCC) and “Young Flocc Boys” (YFB) – were charged with counts of conspiring to murder and assault rival street gang members as well as to acquire firearms in order to control a section of Rockaway, which the gang considers its territory. The grand jury also indicted the 18 members on charges with respect to seeking revenge for a shooting of its members.

The 90-count indictment is a response to the area’s increased gang-related violence. POS has been accused of perpetuating a “war zone” on the Rockaway streets between 2014 and 2015. Collaboration between police and prosecutors helped obtain the grand jury indictment. It also was a big step in working to reduce and eliminate gang violence that threatens the area. The POS members indicted range from ages 16 to 22. Their territory of operation is confined mostly to the NYPD’s 100th district.

The indictment comes on the heels of a long-term collaborative investigation. Investigators used various different techniques to monitor and gather evidence regarding the gang members’ activities and conversations. Gang members are alleged to have openly discussed their illegal activities over the phone and via social media posts. The gang members attempted to better disguise their conversations by using a series of coded language and phrases. Additionally, POS members sought to keep its members in jail informed of news, events, and even acts of violence.

Investigators were obviously able to decipher the coded communication between members. After pouring over thousands of conversations, prosecutors were able to piece together sufficient information that would ultimately lead to the 90-count indictment.

The indictment does not mean that the members are guilty or will serve any jail time. Each of those charged will continue to be considered innocent until proven guilty. The indictment allows for the prosecutor to officially bring charges against the 18 members for some or all of the counts and charges included in the indictment. The charged members will have a legal right to representation and criminal defense.

Call 718-575-3900 today for a consultation.

Our legal system is designed to protect defendants’ rights. Although a defendant may ultimately be found guilty, he or she does not give up his or her right to legal counsel. If you have been charged with a crime, you should seek the advice and legal counsel of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. New York criminal defense attorney Stephan Jacob Siegel has the experience and knowledge necessary to help formulate a strong legal strategy and preserve your rights. Schedule a consultation today by calling (718) 575-3900.

Famous Gotti Namesake Arrested on Drug Charges

It is not every day that one hears of a person with connections to the mob being arrested by the New York Police Department. The late John Gotti, perhaps one of history’s most recognizable mobsters, is likely turning in his grave after the NYPD’s latest arrest — the mobster’s grandson and namesake, John Gotti.

John Gotti III was recently arrested in his Howard Beach home after a police search in which detectives were able to seize $40,000 and 500 Oxycodone pills. The money and prescription medicine were found inside a bedroom safe.

The arrest comes on the heels of a drug probe known as “Operation Beach Party.”  Investigators executed a series of undercover activities in order to obtain sufficient evidence for purposes of a warrant.

According to the Queens County District Attorney, the Homorable Richard Brown, John Gotti and drug dealers were selling Oxycodone in both Howard Beach and Ozone Park. The Oxycodone, sold for between $23 and $24 per pill, allegedly helped net Gotti a hefty profit.

Police used wiretaps to record Gotti. He allegedly stated that his pill-pushing endeavor allowed for sales of nearly 4,200 pills per month netting him nearly $100,000 a month. Police investigators pulled audio from a listening device that was secretly installed in Gotti’s Infiniti sedan, almost echoing how his grandfather was caught several decades earlier.

In addition to using the wiretaps in order to procure evidence against Gotti, undercover cops allege that they made 11 purchases of Oxycodone from Gotti purchasing an estimated $46,000 worth of Oxycodone. Some of Gotti’s associates were also arrested in the bust. It is believed that $200,000 in drug proceeds being held for Gotti were seized from an associate’s Howard Beach home. If convicted, Gotti faces up to twenty-five years in prison for his crimes.

One does not need to be a mob boss in order to be charged with a drug crime. It is a sad reflection on our society that many individuals turn to selling illegal drugs such as Oxycodone. More arrests are likely to occur as law enforcement continues to ramp up efforts in order to keep these substances off the street.

Call 718-575-3900 today for a consultation.

Do not let the fear of drug charges prevent you from protecting your rights. New York criminal defense attorney Stephan Jacob Siegel, Esq. has significant experience in representing and protecting the rights of clients charged with virtually all of the crimes contained in the New York State Penal Law.  If you or a loved one are charged with a drug crime, schedule your initial consultation with the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel by calling 718-575-3900 today.