W.T.C. scammer sentenced
Beatrice Kaufman, 69, who pleaded guilty to defrauding government agencies and private relief organizations out of $78,000 and attempting to illegally obtain even more in connection with the World Trade Center attack, was sentenced last week to 52 weekends in jail on Rikers Island. In addition to the jail time imposed on Fri. March 26 by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Roger Hayes as a result of a plea bargain, Kaufman had to pay more than $250,000 in fines and restitution to the Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Safe Horizon, and her insurance carrier.
Kaufman, the owner of a Lower Manhattan temporary employment agency, was living in the Hamptons on Sept. 11, 2001 while her Downtown apartment was being renovated but claimed the World Trade Center attack forced her to evacuate her apartment at 176 Broadway and caused her to lose business contracts.
Richard Vitale, 36, a Staten Island firefighter who was charged last September with assaulting his former girlfriend in her South End Ave. apartment in Battery Park City, was arrested again on Sun. March 28 in New Dorp, Staten Island and charged with sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl, police said.
The victim and the suspect in the Sunday incident were acquainted, but police declined to say what the relationship was.
In the Battery Park City assault case, which is still pending, Vitale was charged with pushing his way into the victims apartment after walking from the Sept. 11 ceremony last year at the World Trade Center site. The victim sustained minor injuries and Vitale fled but surrendered to police a short time later.
Jump in subway arrests
Arrests for subway crimes and offenses in Lower Manhattan, the Lower East Side, the Village and Chelsea from Jan. 1 to March 31 were up significantly from the same period last year, according to Officer James Rudolph, community affairs officer at Police Transit Division District 2. There were 33 felony arrests, which represented an increase of 136 percent from the same period last year, 27 panhandling arrests (59 percent increase), 213 fare evasion arrests (115 percent increase) and 265 arrests for other misdemeanors (114 percent increase).