Mob shakedown at W.T.C.
Eight members of the Colombo crime family were indicted by a Brooklyn federal grand jury on Tues., March 9 for offering kickbacks to a foreman on the Freedom Tower project at the World Trade Center to get a subcontract for a Colombo-family carting firm. Prosecutors charged that Michael Persico, 53, with James Bombino and others, offered a kickback to the construction site foreman to insure that Testa Corp., a Boston-based excavation company, subcontract with All Around Trucking, a Colombo dominated carter, to remove debris.
The defendants are also charged with threatening to shut down the One W.T.C. construction site and threatening Testa with violence for falling behind in payments to the carting company.
Persico, whose only police record is a drunk driving arrest, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Tuesday. The other defendants also pleaded not guilty.
The charges include testimony from undercover informants who submitted conversations among Persico, Bombino, and another defendant, Theodore Persico, a cousin of Michael Persico who is on probation.
Ex NYC-TV boss
Trevor Scotland, 39, former chief operating officer of NYC-TV, the city-owned television station with headquarters in the Municipal Building, 1 Centre St., was sentenced last week to 15 months in prison for stealing more than $60,000 from the station.
Scotland pleaded guilty Oct. 9 to a federal wire fraud charge involving VRT Multimedia, Inc., and its owner, Vincent R. Taylor.
The offense occurred between March 2007 and April 2008 when Scotland directed that VRT be paid for commercials that NYC-TV aired even though VRT did no work on them, according to the complaint. Taylor then paid Scotland about 80 percent of the money and keep about 20 percent, according to the charge.
In addition to the prison term, Federal Judge Paul Crotty imposed a three-year probation sentence and ordered Scotland to pay $65,317 restitution.
Taylor was indicted separately and pleaded guilty Nov. 9. He is to be sentenced March 25.
Sentence date and retrial
James Jimenez, 37, charged with grand larceny and burglary in connection with an August 2007 burglary of a penthouse suite in the Soho Grand hotel on W. Broadway near Grand St., will be sentenced on April 9 for larceny, of which he was convicted last month, according to a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the burglary charge and Jimenez is to be retried on that charge at a date to be set later, the spokesperson said.
Chauffeur’s scam plea
A former limo driver who ran a hedge fund with a Wall St. office, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in Manhattan federal court on March 5 for stealing nearly $20 million from investors.
Alan Fishman, 50, a Ukrainian-born immigrant, chauffeured Wall St. lawyers and bankers around until 2001 when he joined his cousin Gary Gelman and two other conspirators to form A.R. Capital Global Fund with offices at 39 Broadway.
Fishman, who had no securities experience, became president of the company, according to the complaint.
The conspirators told about 70 investors that their money would go into overseas real estate, currency trades, oil and gas and other commodities, according to the charges. Instead the money went into three Ukrainian stocks, a Ukrainian money market fund, and to bank accounts in Lithuania, including one held by a company in the West Indies.
Fishman was responsible for investment decision and administration while continuing to work at the limousine company. When one client came to New York to check on his investment, Fishman said the office was being renovated and met him at a deli in the Financial District, the complaint says.
Two colleagues, Daniel Ledven and Edward Veisman also pleaded guilty last week. Gelman is a fugitive and is believed to be in the Ukraine.
Fishman has agreed to pay a $160,000 penalty and is to be sentenced June 18. He faces up to five years in prison.
— Albert Amateau