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From FBI.gov

By Chris Cumella

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released a statement that it is seeking assistance in locating individuals who had participated in the riots, which took place at the United States Capitol building Wednesday, Jan. 6. 

In addition to citizens, the FBI is also looking for off-duty police officers and firefighters who may have been involved.

A brief memo on the FBI official website at www.fbi.gov noted that an investigation has been launched to track down and arrest those individuals.

“We have deployed our full investigative resources and are working closely with our federal, state and local partners to aggressively pursue those involved in criminal activity during the events of January 6,” the memo said.

Next to the bureau’s statement can be seen a list of news events about the Capitol riots, with arrests and charges. 

The bureau’s call to action was for citizens to utilize its online forum, specifically if they had documents, photos or video to attach. 

There is also an option enabling participants to utilize the FBI’s phone number at 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) to report any relevant tips.

FBI Director Christopher Wray made a statement detailing that the violence and destruction of property at the U.S. Capitol building was appalling and disrespectful to the democratic process. 

“As we have said consistently, we do not tolerate violent agitators and extremists who use the guise of First Amendment-protected activity to incite violence and wreak havoc,” he said.

“Our agents and analysts have been hard at work … gathering evidence, sharing intelligence, and working with federal prosecutors to bring charges,”  Wray added. “We are determined to find those responsible and ensure justice is served.”

These investigations follow directly after the attacks on the Capitol building, which many outlets and organizations have blamed on President Trump’s (R) morning rally as a direct cause of the violence. 

During his speech, the president urged his supporters to “fight much harder” against “bad people” and “show strength” at the Capitol, where lawmakers were about to certify the Electoral College votes giving victory to President-elect Joe Biden (D), who is to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

Regarding off-duty police officers, a media liaison for the Suffolk police department stated in an email that they currently have no specific knowledge that any of its off-duty members attended the event, and will comply with any investigations necessary moving forward. 

“The Suffolk County Police Department will cooperate, if requested, with the federal investigation into the events at the U.S. Capitol, including any alleged involvement of our members,” the statement said.

Defendants from Port Jeff, Mount Sinai, Coram, among those indicted

Stock photo

In a plot that could have been lifted straight from the script of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” six North Shore residents were among 14 indicted in federal court in Brooklyn July 13 for their alleged roles in a $147 million stock manipulation scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

A press release regarding the indictment alleged the defendants defrauded investors by obtaining shares in five publicly traded companies from insiders at the companies for below-market prices, artificially drove up the prices of the shares, while “aggressively and repeatedly” calling and emailing victims to purchase shares — oftentimes senior citizens — and then sold their own shares between January 2014 and July 2017.

“Manipulating stock prices, as alleged in this case, to appear more attractive to investors, is a deliberate attempt at sabotaging fair market trading,” Assistant Director-in-Charge for the FBI’s New York field office William Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. Sweeney and acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde read the indictments. “Manipulation, at its core, is a true act of deception, especially when the elderly are targeted. This scheme involved an incredible amount of money, more than $147 million. That’s no small change for even the savviest investor. As evidenced by our arrests today, we take these matters seriously, and will continue to pursue those who make victims out of unwitting participants in these schemes.”

Managers of My Street Research — a Melville based investment firm — Erik Matz, 44, of Mount Sinai and Ronald Hardy, 42, of Port Jefferson were among those indicted. They also engaged in a scheme to launder about $14.7 million in proceeds obtained as a result of the scheme, according to Rohde’s office. The government restrained Matz’s Mount Sinai home and seized bank accounts containing alleged criminally obtained money. The attorney representing Matz and Hardy did not respond to a request for comment. A phone message requesting comment from My Street Research was not returned.

Dennis Verderosa, 67, and Emin L. Cohen, 33, both of Coram, and McArthur Jean, 34, of Dix Hills were among those listed as “cold-callers” for the operation.

Cohen’s and Verderosa’s attorneys each declined to comment via email. Jean’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Robert Gilbert, 51, of Cold Spring Harbor and owner of the investment firm Accredited Investor Preview was also among the 14 people indicted.

“We’re still studying the indictment, but Mr. Gilbert is mentioned substantively in only one paragraph,” Gilbert’s attorney Ira Sorkin said in a phone interview. “He has not been incarcerated, and there is no claim any of his assets have been frozen as is the case with some of the others. Until we have a chance to read further into the indictment we will have no further comment.”

The five companies whose stocks were pushed by the “pump-and-dump” scheme were National Waste Management Holdings, Inc., CES Synergies, Inc., Grilled Cheese Truck,  Hydrocarb Energy Corporation and Intelligent Content Enterprises, Inc.

Editor’s note: Anyone victimized by the alleged scheme can contact the writer of this story via email at [email protected]

A 76-year-old veteran committed suicide on the Northport VA campus last week. File photo

By Victoria Espinoza

A 76-year-old veteran from Islip committed suicide Sunday, Aug. 21, in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, according to news sources.

Peter A. Kaisen was pronounced dead at the scene, and according to Northport VA Director Philip Moschitta, in a letter to U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), the body was found next to his car in parking lot I on the campus. Moschitta said an employee of the VA found the body lying on the pavement, and the Northport Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department and FBI responded to the scene.

Moschitta also said there is no record of Kaisen entering the emergency room that day, and that during the 12 minutes he spent at the VA, he didn’t appear to leave the parking lot, as shown on video surveillance.

Multiple news sources have reported that Kaisen was denied service, but Veterans Affairs denies the veteran sought medical attention, although they said the investigation is ongoing.

“Our staff of medical professionals would never turn away an individual who required any level of health care,” Moschitta said in the letter. “We have not found any evidence that the veteran sought assistance from any of our staff, including visiting the emergency room that day. It appears the details of the tragic incident may have been misrepresented in the media coverage.”

Zeldin, a veteran himself, said the loss is heartbreaking.

The loss of even a single veteran in America due to suicide is one too much,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, throughout our country, every day 22 veterans take their own life. It is so important to have the best possible understanding as to why these suicides keep happening. For me personally, I have lost more people I know due to suicide than in combat. Our veterans are returning home feeling isolated and alone and feeling like their family, friends and colleagues at work don’t understand what it is that they are going through. What is especially tragic, especially here in Suffolk County, is that a veteran will feel isolated and alone even though there are literally thousands of others throughout our county who would move heaven and Earth to shower a veteran in need with love, appreciation and support.”

Zeldin said that it’s important to note that even though Kaisen’s death was a result of suicide, there are many incidents of veterans whose deaths are incorrectly labeled suicide.

“PFC Joseph Dwyer’s last words when he passed away in 2008 were ‘I don’t want to die.’ He was looking for temporary relief to escape his pain, but he wasn’t looking to leave behind a young widow and 2-year-old daughter.”

Dwyer is known around the country for a famous photo of him carrying a young ailing Iraqi boy during combat. Dwyer’s legacy led to the creation the PFC Joseph Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Program, which provides a safe, confidential and educational platform where all veterans are welcome to meet with other veterans in support of each other’s successful transition to postservice life.

“This program should be in every county in the United States,” Zeldin said. “Losing one veteran as a result of suicide is unacceptable. As investigations into this suicide continue, I will continue to aggressively stay on top of this situation. What is so incredibly important to me and for others is to identify any specific ways at all that this veteran was underserved, so that it can be immediately and completely corrected in order for something very positive to result from this very tragic event. Every time a veteran takes his or her own life, the system has failed.”