NYC ghost gun operation investigation reveals fraud, other crimes: DA Bragg

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manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg announced Thursday the indictment of 18 people, many of them city employees, for allegedly using 3D printers to build ghost guns while also defrauding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and ultimately committing burglaries.

The investigation began with a ghost gun but eventually uncovered fraud and theft, the district attorney told reporters at a news conference.

“As alleged, the dismantling of a sophisticated ghost gun manufacturing facility revealed a wide-ranging conspiracy, including links to large-scale fraud and planned burglaries,” Bragg said. “These alleged schemes were largely organized by the city. “Carefully planned and carried out by government employees, many of whom abused their positions of public trust for personal gain.”

The indictments stem from a 2002 investigation into a ghost gun factory located in Cliffie Thompson’s East Village apartment. Thompson was indicted in January 2023 as a result of an ongoing investigation that led to the discovery of two additional ghost gun charges.

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images/File)

One of the charges led to an investigation into Craig Freeman, 56, and “Conspirator One,” who has not been named because his arraignment is pending.

Both suspects worked at the Brooklyn Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Barbara Kleiman shelter.

Freeman and co-conspirators were charged with fourth-degree conspiracy for purchasing ghost gun parts and manufacturing weapons between May 14, 2022, and January 13, 2023.

The co-conspirator allegedly shared 3D printing files, templates and links with Freeman so that he could build the weapons. Bragg said some of the templates were titled “9mm Bullet,” “Glock Automatic Switch,” “Mag Body” and “Right Side Frame.”

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The Glock switch is a part that can be printed with a 3D printer and inserted into a semi-automatic gun to turn it into an automatic pistol.

Co-conspirator No. 1 and Adrienne Manigault, 25, were charged with level four conspiracy Purchase ghost gun parts and craft weapons between May 14, 2022 and January 21, 2023.

The defendants allegedly purchased hundreds of dollars worth of 3D printers and materials, as well as ghost gun parts.

Bragg’s office said Manigault and co-conspirators exchanged text message links asking each other where to purchase parts and materials, often sharing pictures and videos of finished products.

Manigo is also charged with tampering with physical evidence, which he allegedly helped destroy before investigators executed a search warrant.

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ghost gun

New York Attorney General Letitia James has a ghost gun on display in her Manhattan office. (Archives from Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News via Getty Images)

Evidence uncovered in the investigation led to the discovery of more Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) fraud, allegedly led by “co-conspirator” and fellow DHS employee Charde Baker, 35.

Bragg said Baker worked for the Department of Homeland Security before becoming an NYPD employee. In 2023, she was fired from the NYPD and rehired by the Department of Homeland Security.

Bragg said Baker and co-conspirators, along with several other DHS employees, are accused of using their positions to steal personal information that identified unsuspecting individuals, including homeless individuals, to commit fraud.

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In June 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams spoke at a press conference with Attorney General Letitia James and others about illegal and largely untraceable “ghost guns.” “give a speech. (Spencer Pratt/Getty Images/File)

Along with Co-Conspirator 1 and Baker, Freeman, Latricia Kitchens, 36, Garret Whetsell, 38, all DHS employees, and 12 other defendants, He is accused Conduct with a level four fraudulent PUA scheme. Bragg said many of the defendants were also charged with first-degree grand larceny and other crimes.

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It is alleged that from April 17, 2020 to October 5, 2021, the defendants obtained personally identifiable information without their knowledge and submitted fraudulent claims to the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) in their own names. PUA claims. Once a claim is approved, the Department of Labor issues cards to the address provided on the application, which is sometimes their own home address.

Later in the process, the defendants used the Upper East Side mail route address of “Conspirator Three,” an employee of the United States Postal Service. U.S. Postal Service employees would allegedly intercept mail and provide the cards to other defendants.

3D printed ghost gun on display

An example of a 3D printed ghost gun during a statewide gun buyback event hosted by the New York State Attorney General’s Office in Brooklyn on April 29, 2023.
(Yuki Iwamura/AFP Getty Images)

The DA claims the defendants submitted 170 false applications worth $1.2 million.

The money was allegedly used to support a lavish lifestyle, enabling people to travel to Mexico and Tanzania.

Some of the other defendants in the PUA fraud scheme include Shanice Robers, 30, who worked as a school safety officer for the New York City Police Department; Dawayne Bell, 32, who worked for the New York City Housing Authority; David Barr, 33, an MTA employee; 43 Sabur Khalifah, 6, worked for the United States Postal Service.

In the fourth indictment, Bragg’s office charged Sameera Robers Baker, 34, and other defendants with second-degree burglary for allegedly breaking into a “co-conspirator’s” apartment on Nov. 23, 2020.

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According to the documents, Baker allegedly sent a text message between November 15 and 23, 2020, stating that “Co-Conspirator One” was holding thousands of dollars in proceeds from the PUA fraud that the organization had received in a safe in his apartment. The charges allegedly resulted in the “co-conspirator’s” apartment being burglarized at Baker’s direction.

“We are seeing clear links between those involved in violent crime and traditional white-collar fraud,” Bragg said. “My office will continue to use our existing expertise and tools to dismantle these types of interconnected schemes. , no matter how complex they are.”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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