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Rare human trafficking indictment may land man in prison for decades

As a defense attorney, I love a tough case but this is something else.  Allen Brown’s attorney has to size this case up sooner rather than later.  That’ll be difficult to do as I am sure the discovery is massive.   However, you need to sit down with your client and ask him to be up front with you and cut out the BS.  At least some of the other guys will flip, but since some are related, the chances of them going down swinging is high.

One bone the State could throw Allen is to go easy on the rest of his family if they plea out as well.  With so many charges, everyone has to get creative on how this deal can be sold to all parties involved.

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced the indictment today of an alleged pimp who is charged with running a human trafficking and prostitution ring in Jersey City in which scores of women were induced to use heroin and cocaine and were beaten if they did not turn a daily quota of tricks.

According to Division of Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni, the leader of the ring, Allen Brown, a.k.a. “Prince,” 47, of Jersey City, was indicted by a state grand jury on first-degree charges of racketeering, human trafficking and money laundering, as well as numerous second- and third-degree charges, including conspiracy, promoting prostitution, criminal coercion, theft by extortion, failure to pay taxes, and drug and weapons offenses.

The first-degree human trafficking charge alone carries a sentence of 20 years to life in state prison. The charges resulted from “Operation Red Light,” an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and the Jersey City Police Department.

“This is a shocking case of human trafficking,” said Attorney General Milgram. “We charge that Allen Brown enslaved vulnerable young women in a living hell of addiction and prostitution, controlling them with narcotics, threats and beatings. We will prosecute him to the full extent of the law.”

For nearly two decades, Brown allegedly ran prostitution rings in Jersey City, coercing scores of women to prostitute for him. Through the years, Brown allegedly had residences that served as “stables” in a number of locations in Jersey City, bringing women to the stables from other cities. He brought women from cities including Camden, Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Newark and Philadelphia. His last stable was 18 Lyon Court in Jersey City, an upscale condo development on Newark Bay in the Society Hill section of the city.

Once the women went with Brown, he allegedly would take away their cell phones and any form of identification they possessed. A number of the locations where they were housed allegedly had reverse locks on them that could not be unlocked from the inside without a key. Only a select few had a key. The others would be locked in until it was time to work again. None of the women were allowed to go anywhere alone or without permission.

It is alleged that the women forced to prostitute for Brown were given heroin and cocaine so Brown could control them and exploit their addiction. They were driven to “tracks” – motels or streets in Jersey City and sometimes locations in other cities – where they were expected to make a certain amount of money each night turning tricks to cover their daily drug debt and provide a profit for Brown. If they did not make the daily quota, ranging from $500-$1,000, they were allegedly refused drugs, beaten or denied entry into the house until the money was made.

“Human trafficking takes a devastating toll on its victims,” said Director Gramiccioni. “We urge anyone with information about suspected human trafficking to call our hotline at 1-877-986-7534. We will continue to make investigating and prosecuting these crimes a priority.”

“The arrest and subsequent indictment of Allen Brown is another example of the positive results achieved when law enforcement agencies join forces,” said Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey. “This collaborative effort resulted in the rescue of vulnerable individuals from what basically is a life of involuntary servitude. This case shows that prostitution is not a victimless crime. I am pleased the Division of Criminal Justice chose to work with the Jersey City Police Department and look forward to a successful prosecution.”

Brown allegedly collected all money and ordered subordinates to secure and control the women. On July 28, the woman who acted as boss or “bottom” over the women for Brown pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering. Annie Cooper, a.k.a. “China,” 40, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Kevin G. Callahan in Hudson County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that she be sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison.

Cooper was tasked with enforcing the house rules Brown established and disciplining the women for breaking the rules. If Cooper refused to enforce the rules, she allegedly would face physical violence at the hands of Brown. Cooper would discipline the women for not bringing home the daily quota of money they were required to make, sometimes kicking them and beating them with her fists and household objects. Cooper handed out heroin and cocaine to the women or withheld drugs if they did not meet demands.

The enterprise also consisted of subordinates who were responsible for transporting the women to work as prostitutes, obtaining narcotics for the women, maintaining the household and vehicles, and securing the women. These individuals allegedly included, among others, three men who were indicted today: Anthony Evans, 51, of Jersey City; Brown’s nephew, Arthur Brown, 37, of Jersey City; and Jerome Robinson, 30, of Newark.

Over the years, Allen Brown allegedly made hundreds of thousands of dollars, which he used to furnish his home, purchase jewelry, buy vehicles, and purchase drugs. The ring also included individuals who allegedly laundered the proceeds of the criminal activities through various financial transactions. Frequently Allen Brown used family members and friends to act as the legitimate holder of vehicle titles, real property leases, cash and other property that he paid for with criminal proceeds. Those people included Prince’s mother, Tecora P. Brown, 72, of Bayonne; his niece, Tecora L. Brown, 35, of Jersey City; and Marlo Taylor, 39, of Newark. They are also named in the indictment. Robinson also is charged with money laundering.

It is charged that Allen Brown specifically used his mother’s bank account to launder almost $500,000 he extorted from one his victims. This victim received an inheritance from her family estate and turned it over to Brown after he allegedly made threats against her and her family.

Brown, Cooper and Evans were arrested on Sept. 12, 2008, when detectives from the Division of Criminal Justice and Jersey City Police executed a search warrant at 18 Lyon Court. Arthur Brown was also charged that day. Allen Brown, Evans and Cooper are being held in the Hudson County Jail with bail for each set at $325,000. Arthur Brown is in state prison on other charges. The remaining defendants will be ordered to appear in court at a later date to answer the charges.

Deputy Attorney General Annmarie Taggart and Supervising Deputy Attorney General Lauren Scarpa Yfantis presented the case to the state grand jury.

The investigation was conducted and coordinated for the Division of Criminal Justice by Detective Noelle Holl, Taggart, Yfantis and the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau North Squad. They worked cooperatively with the Jersey City Police Department. The investigation was conducted for the Jersey City Police Department by Capt. Gary Lallo and the Special Investigation Unit. Attorney General Milgram also thanked Detective Mike Kurinzi of the Elizabeth Police Department for his valuable assistance.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Hudson County.

First-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $200,000 fine, while second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine. Third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The first-degree money laundering charge carries an enhanced penalty of $500,000.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. A copy of the indictment is linked to this release at

The State has seized the following vehicles that allegedly were purchased with criminal proceeds:

• 1999 Dae Woo, registered to Tecora P. Brown;
• 1994 Cadillac DeVille, registered to Marlo Taylor;
• 2004 Hummer, H2, registered to Tecora P. Brown; and
• 1981 Rolls Royce, registered to Marlo Taylor.

The defendants were charged in the indictment as follows:

Allen Brown a.k.a. Prince
• Racketeering. First Degree.
• Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking and Promote Prostitution. Second Degree.
• Human Trafficking. First Degree.
• Promoting Prostitution. Third Degree.
• Criminal Coercion. Third Degree.
• Conspiracy to commit money laundering, promote prostitution and theft by extortion. First Degree.
• Money Laundering, First Degree.
• Theft by Extortion, Second Degree.
• Conspiracy to commit money laundering and promote prostitution. Third Degree.
• Money Laundering. Third Degree.
• Possession of a Weapon and Controlled Dangerous Substances, Second Degree.
• Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose. Third Degree.
• Possession of CDS with the Intent to Distribute. Third Degree.
• Possession of CDS. Third Degree.
• Failure to file State Taxes. Third Degree
• Failure to Pay Gross Income Tax. Third Degree.

Arthur Brown
• Racketeering. First Degree
• Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking and Promote Prostitution. Second Degree.
• Promoting Prostitution. Third Degree.

Tecora Brown
• Racketeering, First Degree
• Promoting Prostitution. Third Degree.
• Conspiracy to commit money laundering, promote prostitution and theft by extortion. First Degree.
• Money Laundering. First Degree.
• Theft by Extortion. Second Degree.
• Failure to file State Taxes. Third Degree
• Failure to Pay Gross Income Tax. Third Degree.

Marlo Taylor
• Racketeering. First Degree
• Promoting Prostitution. Third Degree.
• Conspiracy to commit money laundering and promote prostitution. Third Degree.
• Money Laundering, Third Degree.

Tecora L. Brown
• Racketeering, First Degree
• Promoting Prostitution. Third Degree.
• Conspiracy to commit money laundering and promote prostitution. Third Degree.
• Money Laundering. Third Degree.

Jerome Robinson
• Racketeering. First Degree
• Promoting Prostitution. Third Degree.
• Conspiracy to commit money laundering and promote prostitution. Third Degree.
• Money Laundering. Third Degree.

Anthony Evans
• Racketeering. First Degree.
• Conspiracy to commit Human Trafficking and Promote Prostitution. Second Degree.
• Promoting Prostitution. Third Degree.

Operation Bloodette busts alleged drug ring run by female gang members

You don’t see this every day huh?  Females being arrested for major drug crimes.  This case will be very interesting for a number of different reasons. 

First off, the attorneys for the adults will have to hook up with the attorneys for the juveniles.  The State will try to waive the juveniles up to adult court and this will be done before the adult cases go anywhere.  The attorneys are going to get a free crack at some of the detectives that testify at the waiver hearing.  It will help everyone if they all work together.  The best part is, assuming all juveniles can be waived, there will be 12 waiver hearings so each hearing should build on the last one.  Rarely do attorneys get such an opportunity to  create so much discovery so early.

Second, as an attorney for the big fish, you just have to know that some of the little fish will flip at some point, especially if they have bad attorneys.  However, the charges are so serious that a few small fish testifying against your client may not be the end of the world.

Third, the discovery in this case is going to be massive.  Making sure that you have everything is going to take quite a while.  The more cooks in the kitchen, the messier things can get. 

In other words, sounds like a fun case.  Some attorneys hate a lot of work, but this is what I live for. The plea offer will probably be pretty high so why not take the next two or three years and fight the case? 
 For Immediate Release
 Tuesday, July 28, 2009

 Drug Ring Directed by Female Gang Leaders Dismantled

  Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, Special Agent in Charge of the  Drug Enforcement Administration/New Jersey Division Gerard McAleer, Statewide Director of Gangs, Guns and  Violent Crime Control Strategies Jose Cordero, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, East Orange Police Chief  Ron Borgo, and Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy today announced the arrest of 43 gang members and their  associates, in connection with the dismantling of a female-led gang that was trafficking narcotics in Newark, East Orange, Orange, and Montclair.

  The investigation was part of the statewide anti-gang initiative coordinated by the Attorney General’s Office in  connection with the Governor’s Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods.

  Initiated in January 2009, the joint investigation dubbed “Operation Bloodette” traced an elaborate PCP, cocaine,  crack cocaine, and marijuana distribution ring that sold significant quantities of drugs to gang members and their  associates of the 464 PIRU and Sex Money Murder sets of the Bloods. Undercover detectives from the Essex  County Prosecutor’s Gang and Narcotics VIPER Unit, East Orange, Newark, Montclair and Orange police  departments, along with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recovered narcotics including: 62 ounces of PCP, 13.3 grams of heroin (266 decks), 54 grams of cocaine, and 36 grams of  marijuana, with a total estimated street value of $133,000. In addition, four fully-loaded handguns, 138 rounds of  ammunition, and more than $21,000 in cash were seized. It is alleged that the operation was distributing more than  $50,000 worth of narcotics per week or more than $2.6 million per year. 

  The alleged ring leaders, Iyesha Harrison, 25, of East Orange, and Tyesha Stephens, 30, of Newark, were  orchestrating the operation primarily from two locations: the South Orange Ave. vicinity bordering East Orange  and Newark, and Stephens’ apartment on Elizabeth Ave. in Newark. On July 13, defendant Harrison was arrested  and charged with leader of a narcotics trafficking network (first degree), distribution of CDS (third degree),  distribution of CDS within 1,000 ft of a school (third degree), conspiracy to distribute CDS (second degree), and  employing a juvenile to distribute CDS (second degree). On June 15, defendant Stephens was arrested and charged  with possession of CDS (third degree), possession of CDS with intent to distribute (first degree), possession of  CDS with intent to distribute within 1,000 ft of a school (third degree), possession of CDS with intent to  distribute within 500 ft. of public housing (second degree), and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child  (second degree). Both women are being held in the Essex County Jail. Bail for both was set at $300,000.

  Of the 43 defendants arrested, 12 are juveniles and 31 are alleged to be gang members and/or associates.

  “With these arrests, we have dismantled a drug ring led by two female members of the Bloods that was dealing more than $50,000 a week in PCP, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana,” said Attorney General Anne Milgram. “While  the threat posed to our communities by these criminal enterprises is the same whether they are led by men or women, it is disturbing that gangs have evolved to exert the same destructive control over the lives of young women that  they have over young men, enlisting them in deadly violence.”

  These criminal charges are mere accusations. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven  guilty in a court of law.

As predicted, charges upgraded in American Idol case

As I predicted a few hours ago, Daniel Bark is now facing some additional charges aggravated manslaughter, death by auto and eluding police, all related to the death of American Idol contestant Alexis Cohen.  His bail is now set at $150,000. 

I think the Agg Man charges are going to be tough for the State to prove here because Bark was not arrested until the next day.  Thus, it will be tough for the State to prove that he was highly intoxicated which is usually required for an Agg Man charges in this context.  Thus, my guess is a plea is eventually worked out for about 10 years. 

Story is here.

Charges could be upgraded in case involving death of former American Idol contestant Alexis Cohen

Former American Idol contestant Alexis Cohen struck by a car as she was killed on Saturday while walking near the intersection of Bay Boulevard and Dupont Avenue in the beach town of Seaside Heights.  Police allege that 23 year old Daniel Bark struck her with his car causing fatal head, chest and abdomen injuries.

Bark fled the scene and was arrested at 6 p.m.  on Sunday in Atlantic Highlands which is about an hour or so north of Seaside Heights.  He is in jail on $35,000 bail.

Right now he is only charged with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.  My guess is that Bark was at intoxicated to some extent so I expect that homicide charges will be filed shortly.  As a result, his bail will be much higher. 

This is going to be a high profile case and everyone will be watching what happens due to the American Idol connection.  As a result, Bark needs an attorney that will hit the ground running and start preparing for trial today!  That is his best hope to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.

Story is here.

Princeton High School coach indicted for sexual assault

James Kearney Jr., aPrinceton High School girls’ basketball coach has indicted on two counts of sexual assault for an alleged affair he had with a 17 year old student.  Not really sure why they went with the indictment as they could have worked this out beforehand.

My guess is that he will plea out to a 4th degree and get probation.  He will do this through a union attorney and it will be all done in a few months.  That’s how many of these cases are handled which is why I see a lot of attorneys come in my office but so many of them opt for the free representation.  I’d like to see one of these cases go to trial as it would be a great jury nullification defense.  While you can’t exactly argue that explicitly, that’s really what this is and everyone knows it.

Story is here.

Two great trial victories for our firm this month

At my firm, we are trial lawyers.  Its a lot of fun but it is also very stressful because we actually care about our clients (unlike some attorneys I know).  Thus, if I were to lose a trial, I would be very upset.  This month featured two trials for our firm and we got great results for both of them.

The first was my case.  My client was charged with possession of a handgun without a permit, possession of hollow nose bullets and resisting arrest.  It was a tough case as the resisting arrest charge made it look like he was guilty of the handgun charge.  However, I was able to show that the police did literally no investigation.  A rookie cop saw a black man with a gun and decided that it was case closed. 

I first picked a great jury that was eager to hear the “other side of the story” and I worked that into the theme of my case.  My client was well prepped for trial and he did a great job even though he has some learning and memory issues.  I was able to break things down for him so he could understand, process and remember key points. 

The tough part of the case came from the jury instructions.  The way NJ is set up, possession of a handgun is almost a strict liability crime.  If you pick up a gun for any reason, even to prevent injury to someone else, you can be found guilty of a crime that will land you in prison for five years regardless of who you are. 

In the end, the jury got confused on this issue.  My client was acquitted on the bullets and resisting charge and the jury hung on the handgun charge.  Now the State’s case got incredibly weaker, I am hopeful that we can work this out and keep a great guy out of prison.

The other case was even tougher.  The client was facing major cocaine distribution charges in addition to minor marijuana charges.  The marijuana charge wasn’t really at issue as the coke charge was the main focus since that charge would have landed him in prison for decades. 

The police allege that our client ditched the coke in the police car after he was arrested.  The arresting officer alleges that he checked the car regularly even though there was no policy that directed him to do so.  However, a mere three days after this case, such a policy was instituted.  Hmm, wonder why that was?  Thus, the trial turned on whether or not the jury bought the cop’s story.

In the end, skillful cross examination convinced the jury that the police were full of it when they returned a not-guilty verdict on the cocaine charges after just a few short hours of deliberations.

In the past five years, our firm has tried many cases with almost all of them ending in either a total acquittal, hung jury or an otherwise great verdict.  This has added to the firm’s impressive success rate that has been built up over 30 years.

Lobster thief gets four years in prison

This is a wierd case for many reasons.  Anthony Jones has previously admitted he took frozen lobsters from Bally’s Atlantic City and tried to sneak them out in his jacket and backpack.  He was stopped by casino security and later arrested.  A few months ago, he pleaded guilty to burglary.  Today, he was sentenced to four years in prison.  The lobsters were worth $1,275.

I can only assume that he had a prior record since four years is pretty crazy for this type of offense.  In addition, I assume that he didn’t hire an attorney as this should have never even been indicted.  You get it busted down to Atlantic City municipal court, pay the casino for the lobsters, pay a fine  and move on with your life.  Just don’t see four years for this at all.

Story is here.

Howell man charged with sexually assaulting 13 year old girl

Viktor Zhadanov, 26, of Howell was charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Morris County girl he met in an online kids’ chat room, after police found him alone with her in his SUV at 1 a.m. 

The girl allegedly reported that she had previously met Zhadanov on another occasion when she  performed a sex act on him.   They allegedly met in a kids’ online chat room where he used the name Slave and claimed to be 15 years old and from Newark.

Zhadanov gave a statement and told police that he drove from his home in Howell to meet the girl on a few occasions but he denied knowing her age or that he engaged in any sexual activity with her.  However, there is no indication as to how he claims met her.   

This case will likely turn on whether or not the State can prove the computer evidence.  If they can’t, the entire case will turn on the girl’s credibility.  You kind of have to wonder about a 13 year old girl that is allowed to go out at 1am and what type of family she comes from.  Thus, he may have a decent shot here.

Story is here.

Crisis counselor charged with sexual assault of 4 children

Jerry Jones, a crisis intervention counselor who works for the Union County Division of Youth Services was arrested on charges of sexual assault involving four children.  The children range in age from 6 to 14 years old.  He is charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

The  investigation began after a boy told his parents that Jones had assaulted him and a further investigation revealed additional victims.  This sounds like a real tough case as it is really four cases.  Thus, to win, a defense attorney would have to win all four cases.  The State has to just win one in order to put him away for a long time.

His best bet is to work out a deal and to work it out sooner rather than later.  With his older age, you want to stay away from anything that could be a de facto life sentence. 

Story is here.

Man charged with sexually assaulting 10 year old in New Brunswick

Jeffrey Hagood, of Commercial Avenue in New Brunswick has been charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with his alleged assault off a 10 year old girl.  There is no indication as to how he knew this girl, but my guess is that she was the daughter of a girlfriend or other friend that was staying with him.

The case started with an anonymous tip to DYFS and he was eventually arrested.  Again, my guess is that he made a statement where he admitted to the assault.  Otherwise, these cases are tough to prosecute without a statement.

Story is here.