Saturday, February 23, 2008


A worker cleaned pig intestines in Xinwangzhuang, a Chinese village. Lining from the intestines is processed into crude heparin.


Published: February 28, 2008

RUGAO, China — With reports of more than 400 patients in the United States suffering serious complications after receiving the blood-thinner heparin, American investigators are trying to determine whether the raw material for the drug, made from pig intestines, became contaminated on the journey that begins in the slaughterhouses of China.

The investigators are examining the records of a factory an hour from here that supplies much of the active ingredient in heparin for Baxter International, which earlier this month halted sales of multidose vials of heparin after reports of injuries and four deaths.

The owner of the factory, which is known as Changzhou SPL, says its supply chain is safe. It buys raw material from only two reputable wholesalers, it says, and audits their 10 to 12 suppliers.

“We have a collection chain in place, and we stick with that,” said David Strunce, the president of Scientific Protein Laboratories, an American company that owns a majority of Changzhou SPL. He declined repeated requests from The New York Times to identify those smaller suppliers, saying it was proprietary information.

But interviews with dozens of heparin producers and traders in several Chinese provinces, as well as a visit to a village near here dominated by tiny family workshops that process crude heparin from pig intestines, show the difficulties confronting investigators as they seek to trace the supply chain. The picture that emerges is of a chain more complex, and less orderly, than the one Mr. Strunce laid out.

The Chinese heparin market has become increasingly unsettled over the last year, as pig disease has swept through the country, depleting stocks, leading some farmers to sell sick pigs into the market and forcing heparin producers to scramble for new sources of raw material. Traders and industry experts say even big companies have been turning more often to the small village workshops, which are unregulated and often unsanitary.

One of the wholesalers named by Scientific Protein Laboratories, Ruihua Biochemical in Hangzhou, said it provided a mix of crude heparin that it manufactured and some that it bought “from small factories nearby in several villages.” The owner, Hua Ruihua, said he never inspected the small factories. “We are not the government,” he said in a telephone interview. “We have no right to inspect their pigs or intestines or facilities.”

The owner of one of those workshops, Fan Yinan, said, “I sold to Ruihua several times before, but since last September I have had no intestines.” He confirmed that “no one from Ruihua inspected my pigs or intestines.”

Asked about Ruihua Biochemical, the S.P.L. chief, Mr. Strunce, said, “We have no information to suggest that your information is true.”

This week, a spokeswoman for Baxter said the number of reports of adverse reactions to heparin had surpassed 400. A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration in the United States said the agency was reviewing the new reports and did not yet have a revised count.

The authorities have not determined that problems with the heparin supply chain led to the deaths and adverse reactions, first reported last month in Missouri. Nor have investigators determined that heparin from China was the culprit. Baxter also gets some of its ingredients from a plant in Wisconsin. Neither S.P.L. nor Baxter has been accused of doing anything wrong.

Even so, the problems involving heparin have again focused attention on the quality of products from China and the gaps in regulation by both the Chinese and United States governments. S.P.L.’s plant in Changzhou was certified by American officials to export to the United States even though neither government had inspected it. The plant has been exporting heparin to Baxter since 2004.

Like many chemical companies in China that make pharmaceutical ingredients for export, S.P.L. fell into a regulatory void. A spokesman for China’s State Food and Drug Administration, Shen Chen, said his agency had not inspected the S.P.L. factory because “as far as we know, it is not a drug manufacturer; it is a producer of chemical ingredients.” Mr. Shen said his agency was helping American investigators as part of a recent agreement with American regulators.

The process of making heparin begins with the intestines of slaughtered pigs, from which mucous membrane is collected and cooked, eventually producing a dry substance known as crude heparin. Major heparin producers like S.P.L. take that substance, refine it and sell it to companies like Baxter that make the final product, which is widely used in cardiovascular surgery and dialysis.

China Didn’t Check Drug Supplier, Files Show (February 16, 2008) Some experts say as much as 70 percent of China’s crude heparin — for domestic use and for export — comes from small factories in poor villages. One of the biggest areas for these workshops is here in coastal Jiangsu Province, north of Shanghai, where entire villages have become heparin production centers.

In a village called Xinwangzhuang, nearly every house along a narrow street doubles as a tiny heparin operation, where teams of four to eight women wearing aprons and white boots wash, splice, separate and process pig intestines into sausage casings and crude heparin.

The floors had large puddles and drainage channels; the workshops were dilapidated and unheated; and steam from the production process fogged up the windows and soaked the walls. There were large ovens to cook ingredients and halls lined with barrels to store enzymes, resins, intestines and wastewater.

“This is our family-style workshop,” said Zhu Jinlan, the owner of one heparin operation, who stopped sorting pig intestines and invited visitors to a back room, where she lives with her husband and child. “We’ve been doing this about 10 years.”

Experts say the small, unregulated factories could pose dangers because they do not have the same controls and rules as large slaughterhouses, which also produce crude heparin.

“If you don’t control the incoming source, it’s very hard to get rid of the contaminants,” says Liu Jian, a heparin expert at the University of North Carolina.

Mr. Strunce of S.P.L. says his company never buys directly from the crude-heparin producers, only through its wholesalers, which he called “consolidators” — Changzhou Techpool, its Chinese joint venture partner, and Ruihua. His company, he said, has records documenting all the transactions.

But here in Rugao, producers of crude heparin tell a somewhat different story. A sales manager for a major supplier, Nantong Koulong, said he sells directly to S.P.L. without going through either of the two wholesalers. “We provided crude heparin to Changzhou SPL,” said the sales manager, Chen Jianjun. Some of Koulong’s stock comes from the unregulated workshops, he said.

The owner of one such workshop, Ms. Zhu in Xinwangzhuang, said she sold to S.P.L. two years ago. She also sells to Koulong. “We are really a traditional family-style plant,” she said. “We have no certificate.”

S.P.L. said it never bought directly or indirectly from Koulong.

To the south, in Zhejiang Province, two officials of Zhejiang Willing Animal Byproducts Processing said they, too, sold to S.P.L. “We supply heparin to Changzhou SPL,” said Fang Weicai, the general manager, although he said later that he sold it privately and not under the auspices of his company.

After an outbreak of blue ear pig disease swept through 25 of China’s 31 provinces and regions last year, prices soared, and many drug suppliers had to look to the small workshops. The epidemic, said Cui Huifei, a heparin expert at the Shandong University School of Medicine, “made those biotech companies inevitably purchase from the family-style plants, for cheaper prices.”

A sales manager for another large slaughterhouse in Shandong Province, north of Jiangsu, said he was approached late last year by a buyer for S.P.L. offering what he described as rock-bottom prices for crude heparin.

“It was impossible,” said the sales manager, Wang Shengfu, who works for Shandong Jinluo Group, a major producer of crude heparin. “Only small factory-style farms could accept that low price.”

The deal was never consummated.

Mr. Strunce said S.P.L. responded to the disease outbreak by buying less raw material in China. “We were not out looking for additional heparin because we made do with what we already have,” he said, adding that the company “pays more than many people for heparin over there because we require a higher standard of heparin.”


Anonymous said...

I'll be out the rest of the day getting signatures for a kol koreh. Thanks

Anonymous said...

It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?

I like the variety with the new crop at Gissinger's shul.

Anonymous said...

Most items that are labeled made in the USA contain building block ingredients from China. Vitamins, preservatives and other ingredients.

Even "organic" food is now coming from China. Many of the Chinese farmers lie and cheat, supplying items that are not only NOT organic but toxic like the rest of the dreck.

Anonymous said...

"only through its wholesalers, which he called “consolidators”

So the NY Times seemingly catches the American importer lying. I hope Federal investigators nail this David Strunce putz.

Maybe Lubinsky is on their payroll too. Strunce uses the same terminology as Rubashkin.

KAJ kicks out Rubashkin turns into a "consolidation" of Rubashkin dumping KAJ.

Anonymous said...

Someone left a comment on Eckstein's YW that he shops in the 5 Towns and no one is pushing and shoving in store lines like in Brooklyn.

Maybe the putz is in another 5 Towns in an alternate universe. A huge percentage of 5 Towns people are Brooklyn transplants that got out of Dodge because they don't want to be as frum and can get away with it easier in Nassau County. They still retain all their bad middos and act like pigs. I've been budded in front while waiting in line at Chap a Nosh & the pizza store in Cedarhurst. They don't look chassidish or yeshivish like they did 10 years ago in Brooklyn but they've still got the same rotten personalities.

Anonymous said...


Can someone explain how Shafran justifies this is a business expense? I mean, I know the gantz 42 Broadway are pishing in their hoyzen from UOJ, but instructionals on potty training ???!!!

Anonymous said...

There is a Justin Paperny who is Jewish who currently works as a Sotheby's real estate agent.


2 Sentenced To Prison For Hedge Fund Fraud Scheme

POSTED: 5:33 pm PST February 25, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- The founder of an investment company and a former securities broker were each sentenced to federal prison terms Monday for a hedge fund fraud scheme that bilked investors out of at least $2.5 million (Bloomberg says $5 million. 2 other news sources say over $7 million.)

Keith Gilabert, 36, of Valencia, received a five-year sentence from U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson for orchestrating the scheme, which counted a blind 95-year-old rabbi as one of its victims.

Wilson sentenced Gilabert's co-conspirator, Justin Paperny, to 18 months in jail. The 32-year-old Studio City resident is a former account vice president at UBS Financial Services Inc.

Gilabert, who operated a company called Capital Management Group, pleaded guilty in June 2006 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud.

He got the maximum sentence under the law.

"He committed a dastardly fraud," the judge said. "The sentence -- he deserved every bit of it."

Wilson added there was "a decent chance" he would have handed down a tougher sentence on Gilabert had the law allowed it.

Gilabert, who is currently jailed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles, also was ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution to his victims.

Addressing the court, Gilabert apologized to his family and his victims.

"I made the choice to lie to my investors when things started to go wrong," he said. "I was driven to lie because the market turned against me."

In his plea agreement, Gilabert admitted operating a fraudulent hedge fund called GLT Venture Fund and lying to investors in an effort to persuade them to invest in it.

From September 2000 to January 2005, Gilabert collected millions of dollars from more than 40 clients, concealing that he lost most of the money and misappropriated much of the rest, according to court documents.

Rabbi Sam Bronstein, a Polish immigrant whose family was killed by the Nazis during World War II, angrily denounced both defendants.

"They robbed me of $4 million!" he shouted. "Give them the highest penalty!"

Gilabert and Paperny convinced Bronstein to invest $4 million in the bogus hedge fund, telling him it was backed by UBS. Gilabert later sent Bronstein phony statement accounts showing a positive financial performance, prosecutors said.

Leonard Steiner, an attorney representing Bronstein, said the rabbi had recouped much of his losses through a lawsuit against UBS and others, after Gilabert and Paperny siphoned off much of his net worth.

During his separate sentencing hearing, Paperny also apologized.

"I have no excuse," he said. "It will take some time, but I will repay every penny that was lost due to my conduct."

He also was ordered to pay more than $510,000 in restitution to his victims.

Paperny received less prison time than Gilabert because he assisted prosecutors with their case and joined the scheme at a later date.

Paperny, who helped Gilabert fraudulently conceal the GLT fund and lied to victims to persuade them to invest, pleaded guilty in February 2007 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud.

In his plea agreement, Paperny admitted receiving kickbacks from Gilabert. He also admitted that he informed management and supervisors at the brokerage firm that GLT was not following its stated investment strategy and that others in the firm were aware of Gilabert's criminal conduct, according to his plea agreement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beong-Soo Kim said no criminal charges were filed against the brokerage, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating.

Last month, Paperny settled a civil complaint with the SEC related to the fraud.

In a related matter, Gilabert and his 65-year-old mother-in-law, Hiromi Seele, were acquitted last year of charges that they interfered with an FBI investigation into the sale of two plots of land in Valencia.

Wilson ordered the acquittals, citing insufficient evidence against Gilabert and Seele.

Copyright 2008 by KNBC.com and KNBC (NBC4 Los Angeles).

Anonymous said...


A Jewish prisoner at the privately run Port Phillip Prison has claimed he was bashed by prison guards in a dispute over his wearing the traditional skull cap.

Police are investigating the allegation, and The Sunday Age believes the Victorian Ombudsman is also enquiring into the incident.

Top silk Robert Richter, QC, and the leading law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler have taken up the man's case, acting pro bono, and are exploring the possibilities of civil action.The prisoner, a 38-year-old father of three serving a six-month sentence for burglary, spent four nights in St Vincent's Hospital after the alleged beating. He was then transferred to the government-run Melbourne Assessment Prison.

The man received treatment for injuries, including severely blackened and bruised eyes and eye-sockets, a suspected broken nose, a cut to his face and damage to his left shoulder, allegedly sustained when he was stomped on while lying on the ground. The man reportedly also sustained a chipped tooth and is still suffering from ringing in his ears after the alleged attack on December 8.

Photos taken at the Melbourne Assessment Prison four days after the alleged assault show him with severe bruising around the eyes, and his left arm in a sling.

The incident is said to have been related to the prison officers' demand that the prisoner remove his yarmulka — the skull cap worn by religious Jews.

A spokeswoman for Corrections Victoria, Chris Panayotou, said that police were investigating allegations made by a prisoner at Port Phillip but no charges had yet been laid.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I just find these kinds of stories to be fascinating.


Twin gay-porn stars arrested in rooftop burglaries

Philadelphia Daily News

Anonymous said...


Jury Awards $322,751 For Botched Wedding


Ilene Mirman wanted a fairy-tale wedding for her only daughter, and spent more than a year planning small details such as 50 parrot tulips lining the aisle.

She got a flower massacre.

Her daughter, who had tried on more than 500 dresses and took two trips to New York to find the right gown, had to walk down an aisle lined with sagging tulips that appeared to be dying.

Boutonnieres and flowers for the chairs lining the aisle were missing in action.

And a discovery in the flower girl's basket was even more gruesome.

"She was given chopped-off heads of roses," said Julie Mirman, the bride. "As I walked down the aisle, all I saw were decapitated roses."

The decorator, who charged $25,000, was responsible for those and a lot of other problems at the high-end wedding on the Gulf behind the Mirmans' $3.8 million Siesta Key house, a jury found Thursday.


The two-man, four-woman jury awarded Ilene Mirman $322,751 in damages after the mother and daughter spent Thursday reliving the March 2006 wedding from the witness stand.

Julie Mirman testified that she could not stand to look at wedding photos until two months ago because her eyes drifted only to the imperfections - exposed poles and support beams in the tents, a sadly decorated traditional structure where the vows were exchanged, and dead flowers.

"It affected the whole night," Julie Mirman told the jury, recalling the limo ride with her new husband.

"I said, 'I want to do it again because I want to fix what wasn't right.'"

Ilene Mirman said she filed the lawsuit against Outside the Lines Event Decor and its owner, Aviva Samuels, because she never heard from them after the botched wedding and wanted to hold them accountable.

"You can't put them in jail," Ilene Mirman told the jury. "I can't recoup the wedding. We even talked about doing it again in her fifth year, but you just can't."

It took the jury about two minutes of deliberation Thursday to award $300,000 in damages for fraud, negligence and breach of duty and $22,751 for a breach in contract.

The next step is trying to collect it.

Outside the Lines did not show up for the trial, respond to any summons in the case or return phone calls from reporters.

An answering machine said Samuels would be out of town this week.


Mirman's lawyer, Jon Rosenthal, told the jury that Julie Mirman is no "bride-zilla," a term used to describe a bride who is not happy when even the smallest details are wrong.

Wedding planners say the mistakes at the Mirman wedding are the most basic kind, and there are no excuses. And it is a good reminder to brides to check a company's references before trusting it for the big day.

Julie Mirman told the jury that she selected Samuels as the decorator for the job when Samuels sent her an e-mail with a photo of an elegant chuppah, a traditional Jewish wedding structure.

"I was like, 'We found our person,'" Julie Mirman told the jury. It was just like chuppahs she had shown Samuels as examples.

Only later did she find out Samuels had not designed that chuppah. And on the wedding day, the chuppah was almost bare except for two bouquets at the top of the front pillars - exactly what the bride had asked Samuels not to do.

The biggest disappointment to Julie Mirman was the tent holding the reception, which had taut fabric on the ceiling that was cut raggedly.

It was supposed to be billowy, romantic and dreamlike, and Ilene Mirman had even paid an extra $1,500 for an expert tent designer.

"I wanted you to walk in and it be magical," she said. "I remember we walked into the tent and it was so bright in there, like it was lit by fluorescent light."

It was, because Samuels delivered only a few of the 24 Victorian-style lanterns with fringe she was supposed to hang, and Ilene Mirman had to bring in more lighting.

What were supposed to be delicate, white cotton napkins with an embroidered border turned out to be the heavy restaurant-type.

And they were not folded a certain way that had been agreed on.

"It's not anything I would wish on anybody," Ilene Mirman said.

"Every other vendor was great. The most visible vendor just didn't produce."

Anonymous said...

Freeman was born in 1956, the first of three sons, to an Orthodox Jewish couple from Nottingham.


Meet Mr Loophole: Britain’s most controversial lawyer opens up

Nick Freeman is not, it is safe to say, a universally popular man.

A smooth-talking lawyer, whose client base might have come straight from the pages of Who's Who (or at least Heat magazine), Freeman has achieved his own form of superstardom, defending the likes of David Beckham, Matthew Vaughn and the underwear model Caprice. Such has been his success in securing acquittals – mostly from motoring charges, and often on the slenderest of grounds – that the media have christened him Mr Loophole.

To the wider public, who quite understandably dislike the slightest appearance of rich and famous people getting special dispensation before the eyes of the law, Freeman seems designed to rankle. Health and safety campaigners have spent much of the past decade criticising his methods and his attitude towards the finer points of the legal system. Newspaper profiles have described him as a "public menace".

"I'm perfectly comfortable with what I do," says Freeman, welcoming me into his home. "I understand other people's arguments against what I do and I hope they understand my arguments."

Actually, Freeman's home isn't half as large as those his celebrity clients might covet. His neighbours include some of the wealthiest people in Britain (Mere is a short commute from Manchester, and boasts a posh golf club)

Freeman was born in 1956, the first of three sons, to an Orthodox Jewish couple from Nottingham. His father, who died a few years ago, owned a shop selling "ladies' gear" in the town. His mother, who is re-marrying this year at 76, was a housewife.

"Do you believe in God?" I ask. "Yes," he says immediately. No "ummm" or "errr" or pauses or anything. Just bang, "Yes." He fasts on Yom Kippur and tries not to eat bread over Pesach and goes to synagogue about twice a year. Stephanie is not Jewish. They talked about her converting, but in the end decided against it. "I apologise if I'm saying the wrong thing, but you're either born Jewish or not. [Converting] is a bit like painting a white man black and saying he's a black man." He also eats bacon.

The only grey cloud in Freeman's otherwise clear blue skies is a pending court case against a member of his motoring legal advice team at keepondriving.co.uk. In 2006, Freeman was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, but was never charged. However, the managing director of the website, Trevor Howarth, who is not a solicitor, was charged in May last year with perverting the course of justice. Freeman won't say anything about it, as the case against him is ongoing.

A Staffordshire bull terrier called Rocco wanders into the conservatory. I'm not sure about Staffs (just between you and me), but he seems a sweet dog and when he grasps my forearm in his drooling jaws he doesn't bite down. Much. I mean, he doesn't leave any marks. At least, he doesn't actually break the skin.

Then Rocco farts. It's just a little squeaky dog fart, but it stinks. And Freeman thinks this is really, seriously funny. I mean, he almost dies laughing, slapping his thighs with his hands, going red and rocking back and forwards in his chair. He cuddles the stinking hound and gazes into its eyes – it gazes adoringly back. "We love each other," Freeman says. "Did you know that the Kennel Club rates Staffs as being the second-best type of dog to have as a pet? They've just got an unfairly bad reputation." Freeman must know just how they feel.

In the loop: Freeman's greatest acquittals... and one that got away

Name: Sir Alex Ferguson

Charge: In October 1999, the Manchester United manager was prosecuted for avoiding a traffic jam by driving his BMW along the hard shoulder of the M602 in Eccles, Greater Manchester.

Plea: Freeman argued that Sir Alex was using the hard shoulder because of an emergency: he was suffering from diarrhoea and needed to reach a toilet.

Name: Ronnie O'Sullivan

Charge: Drink-driving. In December 2001, the snooker champ was accused of using his Porsche to race two women along Stratford High Street, east London, at 2am. He'd failed three breath tests, refused a blood test (citing a phobia of needles) and been unable to provide a urine sample.

Plea: Freeman successfully argued that O'Sullivan had been unable to give a urine sample because his depression made him too stressed to urinate.

Name: Caprice Bourret

Charge: The former underwear model was found to be one-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit, after being stopped in London after having drunk two bottles of red wine.

Plea: Freeman argued that the breathalyser reading had been distorted by antibiotics that Bourret was taking for the bladder infection cystitis. It didn't work: she was banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay a fine of £2,500.

Anonymous said...


The son of former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon has been taken to jail for fraud connected with his father's leadership bid for the Likud party in 1999.

Omri Sharon was fined 300,000 shekels ($80,000) and jailed for seven months for violating campaign finance laws, falsifying documents and perjury.

Right-wing Jewish activists shouted insults outside the Tel Aviv courthouse as Sharon arrived for the hearing. They blame the father and son for "annihilating Jewish life" in the Gaza Strip.

Anonymous said...


Hidden cellar discovered in child abuse probe at home

The grim prospect of more bodies being discovered at a Jersey former children's home was raised last night after a search dog reacted to a hidden cellar.
Police said the animal, trained to find human remains, showed an "extremely strong reaction" to the bricked-up underground room at Haut de la Garenne, the former care home at the centre of a child abuse investigation involving more than 160 victims over a 40-year period.

Forensic teams, who have found a child's skull and remains at the site, believe there is a second underground chamber they have yet to break into.

Both chambers are believed to be the same size, an estimated 12ft square and around 8ft high.

Jersey deputy police chief Lenny Harper said: "We have put the dog into a part of the cellar. We have an extremely strong reaction from the dog in one area."

He said an item was also found in the chamber fixed to the floor but would not say what it was.

"There is another room of the same size that appears to have been bricked up," said Mr Harper. "Some of the bricking up appears suspicious but there could be an innocent explanation for it."

What police have found in the cellar corroborates some of the evidence received from victims.

There are now more than 200 victims and witnesses involved in the investigation. Some who have spoken of their alleged abuse claim the cellars were used to abuse children and keep them in solitary confinement.

Police have received more than 70 calls in the past few days, some of which have mentioned the cellar, and Mr Harper said there were now 40 suspects in the inquiry.

Detectives have taken statements from witnesses in Australia and Thailand.

Mr Harper said he was confident there would be arrests.

The child abuse investigation started after a number of former members of staff were arrested on suspicion of paedophile crimes.

Mr Harper added that former police officers would be investigated because complaints of abuse had been made but not investigated.

He said detectives were investigating claims that child-size "shackles" were found by builders in 2003 but he had seen no evidence they existed.

An anthropologist and an archaeologist are expected to start work in the cellar today.

As the police search continues at the home, victims have revealed their stories of alleged beatings and sex attacks. Former residents have claimed they were raped, drugged and flogged.

The NSPCC said it had received more than 30 calls in the past two days from adults reporting allegations of childhood abuse in Jersey.

Peter Hannaford, 59, a resident at Haut de la Garenne until the age of 12, claimed staff encouraged all the children to attack and sexually assault him.

A woman, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed that in the 1970s, staff would have drunken parties and select weak children to abuse. She said she was subjected to the most "cruel sadistic and evil acts" and the most serious sexual abuse.

Anonymous said...


U.S. Imprisons More People Than Other Nations, Study Says

NEW YORK -- More than one in every 100 U.S. adults is in jail or prison -- making the U.S. the world's incarceration leader, according to a new report tracking the surge in U.S. inmate population.

The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, urged U.S. states to rein in corrections costs with alternative sentencing programs. (Read the report.)

"The United States imprisons more people than any country in the world," the report said. Using updated state-by-state data, it said more than 2.3 million adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008 ...

Anonymous said...


The city's wealthiest beggar just panhandled another six-figure payday.

Beggar Eddie Wise's lawyers will split $275,000 for helping him win a $100,000 payout from the city in 2006, a Manhattan federal judge has ruled this week.

The same lawyers will split an additional $48,000 for work they did on the case of Wise's friend, beggar Michael Brown.

Wise and Brown were the lead plaintiffs in a pending class-action suit accusing city cops of arresting thousands of people across the state under an anti-panhandling law that was ruled unconstitutional in 1992. The city won't challenge the award.

"Since the court significantly reduced plaintiff's original demand for attorney's fees by 25%, the city has elected not to appeal," said Rachel Seligman, a lawyer for the city.

Wise was arrested more than two dozen times while begging for loose change, mostly along Fordham Road from 2002 to 2005. He made $30 to $60 a day.

In December 2006, the city agreed to pay Wise $100,000 if he dropped his complaint, but dozens more flooded in with similar claims.

In July, Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that beggars across the state - not just those arrested in New York City - are eligible for a payout from the suit. A federal appeals court will decide in the coming months whether to overturn Scheindlin's decision.

The Bronx Defenders, a nonprofit legal advocacy group that argued the case for Wise and the others, says more than 7,000 beggars have been arrested by cops who cited the law since 1992.

Bronx Defenders' lawyer McGregor Smyth will share the fees with civil rights lawyers Matthew Brinckerhoff and Katherine Rosenfeld.

"We think it's an uncontroversial award," Brinckerhoff said. "Obviously, we're pleased that we'll be compensated for the work we did."

Scheindlin ordered city cops to stop enforcing the law in June 2005. A federal judge ruled in 1992 that begging - when done peacefully - is a protected form of free speech.

Anonymous said...

There's a Young Israel in East Brunswick

Jack "Yaakov" Melman, 46, of East Brunswick is named in the indictment for what authorities said was his role in laundering money in the scheme ...


NEWARK — A Freehold man, his father and two others were named in a 22-count federal indictment Thursday on charges of health care fraud that included the participation of several unidentified doctors to further the scheme, the indictment says.

Aleksandr "Alexander" Sirota, 37, the principal owner of TFS Management Services Inc., which also did business as ADS Management Services Inc., is accused of submitting bogus claims for payments to various insurance companies on behalf of doctors who operated out of an office in Elizabeth. According to the indictment, Sirota split the money received from the insurance companies with the medical doctors.

Grigory "Grisha" Sirota, 62, of Brooklyn, a principal owner of Continental Medical Supplies Inc. and the father of Aleksandr Sirota, is listed as a co-conspirator in the fraud.

Elizabeth DeGuzman, 47, of Elizabeth, a licensed physical therapist who was one of three people who worked in the Elizabeth office, was also listed as a co-conspirator.

Two doctors who worked out of the Elizabeth office are described as unindicted co-conspirators; they were identified in the indictment as V.R. and I.Z. A third, unindicted person accused of being a co-conspirator was identified as L.W., the principal owner of Premier Sales and Marketing Inc.

The two Sirotas and V.R. are alleged in the indictment to have conspired to defraud insurance companies by billing for medical treatments and services that were not actually rendered to patients, and for billing insurance companies for treatments rendered by unlicensed and unqualified individuals, including the elder Sirota. That scheme was executed from early 1998 through February 2004, according to the indictment.

DeGuzman, the Sirotas and I.Z. are alleged to have continued the scheme of defrauding insurance companies from February 2004 through June 2005.

I.Z. is also alleged to have coached patients to lie about their physical condition to permit the continuation of the fraudulent billing scheme.

The indictment further alleges that DeGuzman fabricated medical records to further the fraudulent billing scheme.

Jack "Yaakov" Melman, 46, of East Brunswick is named in the indictment for what authorities said was his role in laundering money in the scheme from August 2001 through December 2004. There are 12 counts that variously name the Sirotas or Melman in the money laundering scheme of the operation. L.W. is mentioned in the indictment as participating in the money laundering.

The indictment alleges that the defendants and co-conspirators laundered more than $400,000, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a prepared release.

The Sirotas and Elizabeth DeGuzman face a maximum of 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines if convicted on the health care fraud charges.

The money laundering charges against the Sirotas and Melman carry a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $500,000 fine upon conviction.

Aleksandr Sirota is also accused of witness tampering, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Sirota is accused of instructing V.R. to lie at a federal bankruptcy deposition concerning the alleged fee-splitting arrangement, the release says.

Each defendant made initial appearances Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk and were released on the following bails: Aleksandr Sirota, $500,000; Grigory Sirota, $350,000; DeGuzman, $200,000; and Melman, $500,000.

Anonymous said...

"The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, urged U.S. states to rein in corrections costs with alternative sentencing programs. "The United States imprisons more people than any country in the world," the report said."


I just love all these Liberal, bleeding heart ideas that give Get-out-of-jail-FREE cards to criminals. It appeals to the crowd at my Left-wing Modern Orthodox shul in Englewood, NJ. That's why I made the same recommendation to the State of New Jersey in my capacity as executive of the Corrections Dept board.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, so I'm not the only one who figured out you can call yourself the CEO of a non-profit organization.

Anonymous said...


How do I get in touch with Rabbi Genack? I have some bison that I shot while hunting that I want to sell to the Solomon company. As long as I can get it OU-certified, I'll package the meat on whatever color trays he wants.

Anonymous said...

"call yourself the CEO of a non-profit organization"

I vas first!!