Volume 77 / Number 37 - Feb. 13 - 19, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Police Blotter

Bust in bomb hoax
Police arrested Chi Vuong, 31, of Queens on Wed., Jan. 30, and charged him with making a false report on May 1, 2007, about a bomb on the L train tracks of the Union Square subway station. Police responded to the 911 cell phone call last year but found no bomb. A call from the same cell phone reporting a fight in Queens led police to connect Vuong’s cell phone with the bomb threat. He was freed last week on $1,500 bail pending a May 13 court appearance.

Guilty in medical scam
Two physicians involved in the medical insurance scam of Premier Medical Care, 99 University Pl., that involved 21 defendants over a 10-year period were sentenced to prison terms on Feb. 11 after being found guilty in a Nov. 13 trial.

Victor Basbus, a neurologist, of 33 Fifth Ave., was sentenced to from two to six years on 13 counts involving insurance fraud, and Gerardo Yanayaco, an internist, of 451 Park Ave. S., was sentenced to 10 months in jail on five counts.

The sentences concluded the case against the conspiracy led by Abraham Pustilnik, known as Abraham Post, and his mother, Isabella Pustilnik, known as Isabella Post, nonphysicians who illegally controlled Premier Medical Care and seven other clinics. More than 60 insurance carriers were defrauded of millions of dollars, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Abraham and Isabella Pustilnik previously pleaded guilty and have agreed to pay $4 million in restitution, the D.A.’s Office said.
In addition, more than a dozen other defendants pleaded guilty,

Bad Lotus position
A Staten Island man at Lotus, 409 W. 14th St., told police another patron attacked and punched him on his way to the men’s room at 2:25 a.m. Fri., Feb. 1. Once in the men’s room, his assailant prevented him from leaving by holding the door closed and punching him again. The victim said that someone took his gold chain, valued at $5,000, sometime during the fracas.

Wash. Sq. Village death
A woman, 74, whose name was withheld pending family notification, plunged to her death at 10:50 p.m. Sun., Feb. 10, from one of the higher floors of 4 Washington Square Village, police said. New York University owns the 17-story Washington Square Village complex, located between LaGuardia Pl. and Mercer St. from W. Third to Bleecker Sts., which is occupied mostly by tenants connected with N.Y.U. and some others not connected with the university. The victim was not affiliated with the school, a spokesperson said.

N.Y.U. residence fire
A fire that started in the dryer of the laundry room of the N.Y.U. residence at 636 Greenwich St. at Morton St. at about 10 a.m. Mon., Feb. 11, filled many of the apartments in the eight-story building with smoke. Residents said the fire alarm failed to go off on three or four floors of the building. John Beckman, N.Y.U. spokesperson, said the alarms are arranged to sound on the fire floor and the floor above and added that the sprinkler system and the alarms functioned properly.

Dies after fire
Worstine Wright, 78, a longtime resident of 346 E. 21st St., collapsed and died after fleeing down three flights of stairs at about 1:50 a.m. Sat., Feb. 9, after a fire broke out in the kitchen of a neighboring third-floor apartment in the five-story tenement. She was declared dead at Bellevue Hospital.

Sour apples
A group of about 10 teenage boys and girls walked into the Apple Store on W. 14th St. at Ninth Ave. at about 2:15 p.m. Sun., Feb. 3, and began harassing customers, bad-mouthing Apple computer products and rearranging displays, police said. The gang left after 15 minutes, and nothing was reported stolen.

Arrest in theft
Police arrested three men who were trying to steal clothing from La Perla, a Gansevoort Market boutique at 425 W. 14th St., at about 1:40 p.m. Sun., Feb. 3. Charged with grand larceny were Xavier Morehead, 20, Jonathan Kalt, 19, and James Tillman, 19.

Plea to extortion
George Pauliny, a vice president of Turner Construction Co., Inc., 345 Hudson St., pleaded guilty on Thurs., Feb. 7, to grand larceny by extortion, announced D.A. Morgenthau.

The defendant, 61, admitted he threatened to exclude subcontractors that Turner used on New York City Economic Development Corporation contracts unless they performed private work on Pauliny’s home in Queens.

Pauliny was suspended from his position at Turner in August when the investigation became known. The subcontractors whom he victimized were working on Turner’s E.D.C. contracts renovating Pier 88 on W. 48th St. and the new Red Hook passenger ship terminal in Brooklyn.

As a result of the plea, Pauliny will lose his $190,000-per-year job with Turner and will pay about $10,000 in restitution to the subcontractors for work, including installing new boiler and radiant heating systems, that they performed at his home without being fully or fairly paid. Under the plea, Pauliny will also be permanently barred from any future contracting work on any government contracts.

Turner Construction assisted the D.A.’s investigation of the case.

Albert Amateau

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