Volume 19 Issue 52 | May 11 -17, 2007

Police Blotter

Guilty of extortion
Four defendants were found guilty last week of extorting money from drivers of private vans operating between Chinatown and Sunset Park over a 20-month period between July 2004 and May 1, 2006.

In addition to the extortion charge, one of the defendants, Hui Chen, was convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice and witness tampering in the Manhattan federal court jury trial that concluded May 2.

After her arrest in May of last year, the jury found that Chen threatened and tried to persuade one of the driver victims to stop cooperating with federal investigators and asked another driver to testify falsely on her behalf.

Chen and her co-defendants, Heng De Oh-Yang, known as Ou Yang; Guo Chao Zhang, known as “The Controller,” and Yong Wang, known as “Jackie,” forced drivers of vans shuttling passengers between East Broadway and Market St. in Chinatown and Eighth Ave. in Brooklyn to pay monthly extortion fees of $200 to $400.

Zhang prevented drivers who did not pay from picking up and discharging passengers. Wang beat up two drivers and threatened others, according to evidence at trial. Chen and Oh-Yang were identified as bosses of the gang, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia. The N.Y.P.D. and the FBI investigated the case.

Judge Denny Chin ordered Chen’s bail revoked and had her held pending an Aug. 9 sentencing. The other defendants were put on home detention with electronic monitoring pending sentencing on Aug. 9.

Colored money scam
The FBI arrested Calvin Swen in the lounge of the Tribeca Grand on Tuesday night May 1, and charged him with conspiracy and fraud in connection with a scheme involving the attempted sale of “white money” to an FBI undercover agent.

Swen, known as “Jerome,” and an unnamed co-conspirator, met an undercover agent on April 20 and offered what was purported to be stacks of U.S. $100 bills that the government had originally intended as aid for Sierra Leone, but had dyed white to fool rebels who had highjacked previous money shipments, according to the complaint.

The conspirators told the agent that the white paper could be converted back into legal tender by using special chemicals and legitimate $100 bills and gave a demonstration of the process, the complaint says

The conspirators then agreed to give the undercover $10 million in $100 bills of white money and the undercover said he would furnish $5 million in $100 bills of legitimate money to be used to convert the white money. For that service, the undercover was to get 30 percent of the white money, according to court papers.

They met again on May 1 in the Tribeca Grand to close the deal and Swen brought a rolling duffle bag with eight large bricks of white paper, each of which he said was $500,000 of white money.

Swen was being held this week pending a Fri., May 11 federal court bail hearing.

Photo shop break-in
The manager of Harborview Photo at 22 Battery Pl. came to work on Monday morning, April 30, and found the front door had been forced open sometime during the weekend, police said. The burglar made off with $177 in cash.

Gone from locker
A patron of the Equinox fitness center at 14 Wall St. left his locker open for a few minutes when he went to shave at 5:45 p.m. Tues., May 1 and returned to find his Gucci bag with his Prada wallet gone, police said.

Office theft
An employee of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council told police that someone made off with an Apple laptop and a Sony video camera from the office at 120 Broadway sometime between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sun., April 29 during an L.M.C.C. event for invited guests.

— Albert Amateau

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