The Allure of Stealing Identities – Will the real Joel Landau of Rivington Please Take a Bow.

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Dear Mr. Joel Landau (not Rabbi Landau):

At the risk of violating your attorney’s copyright claims, we did not use your picture. You might have wanted us to in this instance since it looks like your name is being used in multiple places. 

Dear Rabbi Landau (not Joel Landau of Rivington fame (notoriety):

Please submit a photo of yourself if you would like us to publish a clear and unequivocal distinction. We hope to be of some assistance in clearing this up for you. We did not even seek out a publicly available photograph since your identity appears to have been trampled on enough.

LM

https://therealdeal.com/2017/04/24/california-rabbi-says-hes-not-the-joel-landau-promoting-allure-group-online/

California rabbi says he’s not the Joel Landau promoting Allure Group online

Online posts use San Francisco man’s photo and bio to talk up shamed real estate firm

A California rabbi named Joel Landau says he has nothing to do with posts made online under that name promoting the Allure Group.

The San Francisco rabbi’s photo and biography were used to promote the Allure Group, run by a different Joel Landau, to promote the company online, the New York Daily News reported.

A post on the Times of Israel website, for example, talks about growth in the healthcare sector and points to Allure as a firm that “managed to position themselves as the best possible alternative for elderly patients, providing them with affordable quality care.”

The post then links to the website of Allure’s Landau, who played a key role in removing a deed restriction from the Lower East Side’s Rivington House before selling the property to Slate Property Group, China Vanke and Adam America Real Estate for $116 million.

The Landau based out of San Francisco said he had nothing to do with the posts.

“For some strange reason, someone is using me to blog,” the rabbi said. “Anyone who does a little bit of research on Allure sees that they’re embroiled in some less than savory things.”

“None of that is mine,” he added. “Absolutely, positively nothing. Zilch.”

Allure, which specializes in nursing homes, did not return a request for comment. In December, CABS Nursing Home filed a lawsuit against Allure, claiming the company forced out residents shortly after buying the property, and it ultimately led to the deaths of some of the facility’s residents.

 

The Brius Jet Watch – 40,000 Feet

 

http://briuswatch.org/jet-paper/

The Jet Papers

In February of 2017, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) published a report (“Misplaced Priorities at 40,000 Feet”) about a luxury jet operated by a Brius-related company for the benefit of Brius’ owner and CEO, Shlomo Rechnitz.

The following are links to many of the source documents used to prepare the report. All of the documents are public records obtained from state and federal government agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration, the California Secretary of State, and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Brius LLC Gulfstream G-IV Documentation

(1) Aircraft Bill of Sale (AC Form 8050-2) memorializing the purchase of the Gulfstream G-IV jet by SR Administrative Services, LLC. Dated September 20, 2013. Source: Federal Aviation Administration.

(2) Aircraft Registration Application (AC Form 8050-1) submitted by SR Administrative Services, LLC and signed by Shlomo Rechnitz. Dated September 20, 2013. Source: Federal Aviation Administration.

(3) Aircraft Registration Renewal Application (AC Form 8050-1B) submitted by SR Administrative Services, LLC. Dated July 12, 2016. Source: Federal Aviation Administration.

(4) Flight Data covering the period from September 2013 through July 2016, which the FAA provided in electronic “.xls” format. The hyperlinked spreadsheet contains two tabs: (1) “Sheet 1 – modified” and (2) “Sheet 2 – original”. Source: Federal Aviation Administration.

(5) Loan and Security Agreement by and between Compass Bank and SR Administrative Services, LLC signed by Shlomo Rechnitz and detailing a $3.628 million loan for the purchase of the jet. This document also describes the agreement by which SR Administrative Services, LLC leased the jet to SR Capital, LLC. See page 6 and various pages following the initial signature page, including an attachment entitled “Acknowledgment, Grant of Security Interest and Subordination Agreement by SR Capital, LLC.” Dated September 17, 2013. Source: Federal Aviation Administration.

(6) Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization” (Form LLC-1) for “SR Administrative Services, LLC.” Dated June 3, 2013. Source: California Secretary of State.

(7) Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization”(Form LLC-1) for “SR Capital, LLC.” Dated December 28, 2009. Source: California Secretary of State.

(8) Statements of Information” (Form LLC-12) for “SR Administrative Services, LLC. Dated November 9, 2015 and July 12, 2013. Source: California Secretary of State.

(9) Statements of Information” (Form LLC-12) for “SR Capital, LLC. Dated January 28, 2015 and October 6, 2015. Source: California Secretary of State.

(10) Certificate of Status” for “SR Administrative Services, LLC. Dated September 14, 2016. Source: California Secretary of State.

(11) Certificate of Status” for “SR Capital, LLC. Dated September 14, 2016. Source: California Secretary of State.

(12) Certificate of Merger” (Form OBE Merger-1) for“SR Capital, LLC,” signed by Shlomo Rechnitz. Dated December 20, 2012. Source: California Secretary of State.

(13) Excerpt from Medi-Cal Cost Report Describing a Brius Nursing Home’s Transactions with SR Capital, LLC. This two-page excerpt is taken from a recent Medi-Cal Cost Report submitted by one of Brius’ nursing homes, Monterey Healthcare & Wellness Center (Rosemead, CA), to the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). This excerpt offers an example of the kinds of financial transactions between “SR Capital, LLC” (the corporation that operates the jet) and individual Brius nursing homes. On the second page of the document, Monterey Healthcare & Wellness Center reports it paid $530,382 to SR Capital/YTR Capital during the 12-month period ended December 31, 2015. In addition, it shows that Monterey Healthcare & Wellness Center owed $4,327,952 to “SR Capital, LLC” at the end of 2015. Source: California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

(14) Shlomo Rechnitz, SR Capital, LLC and SR Administrative Services, LLC. This notarized document is excerpted from the 54-page “Loan and Security Agreement by and between Compass Bank and SR Administrative Services, LLC,” which is available in its entirety on this page. It is excerpted here in order to document Rechnitz’ role atop SR Capital, LLC and SR Administrative Services, LLC, the corporations that operate and own the jet. For example, Rechnitz signed this notarized document which identifies him as the “CEO” and “Managing Member” of “SR capital, LLC, a California limited liability company, as the sole member and manager of SR ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES, LLC, a California limited liability company…” Multiple additional public records confirm Rechnitz’ positions.

Echo Therapeutics Inc, one in a String of Platinum Decimated Companies…. Answering Some Questions.

The below is an article that was posted in Valuewalk. The author asks some obvious and reasonable questions. Taken in a vacuum, one might wonder. However, when viewed through the looking glass of Platinum corporate savagery, the answers to those questions take on a whole new perspective.

Our comments are in red. – LM

Echo Therapeutics Inc (ECTE) – A Stock With No Revenue And A Short Catalyst

Platinum Partners is the largest investor in Echo Therapeutics (common, warrants, pref and debt). Below is the author’s take on the stock itself, but it raises some bigger questions regarding Platinum such as:

  1. why was platinum (a $1 billion fund) repeatedly investing in such a micro cap stock. Because as part of Platinum’s strategy, Platinum acts as the savior “institutional investor,” proceeds to increase value through name recognition, to take control, divest the company of its most valuable assets and equity and then to tank the stock and leave nothing for investors. Most likely in bankruptcy, Platinum repurchases the company at a substantial discount or holds onto the assets and sells them.
  2. How did Platinum value its investment in the warrants and preferred as there is no “market” for these illiquid investments. The value is an arbitrary number intended to guide other investors who view Platinum’s investment as a benchmark. As you know there were some questions about how Platinum valued some of its other investments. See Black Elk and Optionable, Echo Therapeutics and dozens if not hundreds of others. They all follow the same pattern of setting a benchmark, enticing other investors to increase capital thereby increasing value and then tanking the company by divesting it of its assets through a series of tender offers, mergers, special purpose vehicles or strategic partners. In Echo’s case it was a Chinese partner who made promises of Chinese FDA approval to appear legitimate.
  3. Did Platinum invest in ECTE while at the same time preventing Platinum investors from withdrawing from the fund (aka failing to honor redemption requests). Most likely or they created a class of shares in which they too were investors and then voted one class over the other thereby diluting the equity for the second class. That was followed by removing the value through a series of tenders, mergers, corporate takeovers, strategic partnerships…

Echo Therapeutics Inc (ECTE) – An Overvalued Stock

Echo Therapeutics (ECTE) has no revenue, is losing money, is facing delisting from the Nasdaq exchange, needs capital, recently filed a shelf offering (very late in the day on a Friday!) and faces competition from much larger industry competitors. According to the latest 10Q, the company had only $42k of unrestricted cash (not much cushion for a company that burns over $1mm per quarter) yet boasts an equity market cap of almost $35 million (using the 20 million shares, which includes convert pref,…most data sources like yahoo and Bloomberg use only 11 million shares outstanding). The company also expects to have negative cash flows for the foreseeable future as it funds its operating losses and capital expenditures. Echo Therapeutics is up 25% YTD and up 100% from its 52 week low. This was not the case initially. The software had value. The company was a Platinum target from start to finish.

To make it an even more attractive short candidate, consider that its largest shareholder is Platinum Partners, the fund that one of its executives has been accused of paying bribes to a union boss in exchange for an investment and the same fund that yesterday the FBI raided on reportedly as part of an investigation into Platinum’s valuation of its hard to value illiquid assets. It has also been reported that Platinum will be liquidating some or all of its funds (which makes the short even more interesting). Finally, it has been reported that Platinum failed to honor redemption requests from investors and that Platinum has defaulted on a $30 million loan from New Mountain Capital…in other words, Platinum appears to have some very serious problems and their future is uncertain. Platinum Partners gets involved to give the company seeming legitimacy, name recognition, institutional investor interest thereby enticing other investors.

Furthermore, Platinum’s investment (and ECTE’s market cap) are larger than it might initially appear as most of Platinum’s investment is in the form of convertible Preferred stock, so the number of shares outstanding is, theoretically larger than it appears on the cover of the 10q. In addition there are Blockers limiting the number of shares that the preferred can be converted into, so the ownership table in the proxy table understates Platinum’s true ownership, although the footnotes give more accurate information. Precisely why their pattern of corporate savagery works.

Echo Therapeutics is trying to develop a non-invasive (aka no needles), wireless, continuous glucose monitoring system. You can see the latest presentation at http://echotx.com/investors/investor-relations/ . The company has been developing its products for several years now but still has no commercially viable product. It probably doesn’t help that they spend more on SG&A than they do on R&D and that they compete with companies with significantly greater resources. ECTE does talk about getting approval from the Chinese FDA (we have our doubts) and the company does put out press releases on things that we believe are of limited real value. Promises of Chinese FDA approval was a ruse to add seeming legitimacy to its choice of strategic partner, also a Platinum related entity, in China. Meetings were held in China, thereby removing the US entrepreneurs and board members from earshot. To reiterate, the supposed FDA Approval in China was a ruse intended to make the entire scheme appear legitimate, reasonable and even value enhancing.

To avoid delisting from the Nasdaq, by the July 5, 2016 ECTE will need stockholders’ equity above $2.5 million (last quarter it was negative $4.7 million) and to provide projections that it can maintain that amount through June 30, 2017 (remember the company loses money and lost $2.6 million last quarter). ECTE could, theoretically meet the Nasdaq requirements by doing one of 2 things, neither of which would be good for current shareholders: 1) Raise equity through a recently filed (but not yet effective) $25 million shelf, although it is unclear if ECTE has enough time to pursue this option and who would buy the stock or 2) Have Platinum convert some/all of its preferred stock into common stock, although given Platinum’s other problems I’m not sure how focused they are on ECTE at the moment.

In addition to being ECTE’s largest shareholder, Platinum has the right to nominate one director to ECTE’s Board. Platinum’s designee is ECTE’s Chairman, Michael M. Goldberg. Goldberg’s previous biographies indicate he used to work for Platinum. However his employment by Platinum is not mentioned in the bio listed in ECTE’s SEC filings and we wonder why. (Note: Mr. Goldberg is also Board Director for ticker NAVB, another Platinum related company whose stock has cratered recently.) Each and every member of the Platinum team from start to finish is a Platinum person, friend, family member, financial colleague and co-conspirator. This is part of the same Platinum pattern. Platinum Controls all aspects of the entity it takes over. It is carefully planned, reflecting savvy, a clear understanding both of the markets and of investor behavior and a willingness to destroy the most vulnerable, those who began the venture and did not know enough to prevent Platinum from stepping in.

Besides Michael Goldberg, Echo Therapeutics has 2 other non-employee directors, one of whom is Mr. Goldberg’s first cousin. Couldn’t ECTE find a qualified director who was not related to an existing Board member? To be clear, we don’t know either of the Goldbergs nor are we suggesting they have done anything wrong. However, their ties to Platinum (and each other) are red flags for us. They should be huge red flags, warning signs a cause for running in the opposite direction.

Not surprisingly, ECTE has failed to attract much interest from institutional investors. If ECTE is such an interesting investment, why have so many sophisticated investors avoided it? Our opinion is that Platinum owns shares when the company is functioning with moderate returns, dumps those shares into the market, tanking the stock, which serves to make a company appear less financially viable. They then enter as the “legitimate institutional investor” at a lower market price, take over a majority of shares and proceed to acquire control in seemingly legal contracts and transactions then divest the company of its most valuable assets under the guise of  trying to rebuild a company. In reality the entire path from start to finish is a well orchestrated ballet, with a chorus of additional dancers waiting at the sideline to step in and steal the show.

Based on the latest proxy as of April 2016 we estimate Platinum’s investment to consist of 783k common shares, 5.6 mm shares (theorectically convertible from preferred stock) and 2.8 million warrants. Clearly exiting its position will be challenging considering the company needs to sell shares too to raise cash and the trading volume is limited. No surprises. It was orchestrated in similar fashion in EVERY other deal that Platinum has entered (see Objectionable, Black Elk and others).

Echo Therapeutics is an overvalued stock where we believe both insiders and the company will need to sell large numbers of shares and we don’t see how either can occur at these prices. Echo Therapeutics can be saved if the Receiver in Bankruptcy sees the company through the looking glass of Platinum’s involvement and facilitates its recovery by denying Platinum and its partners any involvement.

A Platinum/Uber Collaboration and $8M In Losses to Investors

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How several small-time investors got hosed when Uber crashed the taxi market

Unhappy about their losses the green cab owners have sued their broker and his partners for allegedly cheating them out of $8 million

When Dr. Amarpreet Singh received a tip from a patient back in 2013, he was all ears. The city was expanding its taxi fleet, the patient explained. Would he be interested in investing in cabs? “I said I’d certainly like to talk to someone about that,” recalled Singh, chief of oculo-facial plastic surgery at Harlem Hospital Center.

Singh’s patient introduced him to a taxi broker, who said the city was issuing thousands of permits for a new line of cabs, called green taxis, that would pick up passengers in the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan. Some green-taxi owners were already reaping profits of as much as $550 every week, the broker said, and it wasn’t expensive to get in on the action, because the city was offering incentives for cabs retrofitted to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs.

Singh liked the idea of helping disabled New Yorkers get around town, so he paid the broker $75,000 for five green-cab permits, plus another $325,000 for vehicles. Then he waited for drivers to rent his taxis. And waited some more. After nearly two years he got in touch with his patient to see what was up with the investment. Singh learned his cabs were lying fallow in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. He dashed over and found a parking lot filled with 600 cars, none with license plates and some not even outfitted as taxis.

“It was just a sea of green,” said Singh. “I walked out telling myself, Oh my God, what have I done?”

The collapse of the taxi business has dramatically altered New York’s streetscape. Spurred by the advent of Uber and other apps, the number of drivers looking for passengers has grown by 40%, but the surge has meant less business for cabbies, who are making 30% fewer trips than only three years ago. Those who invested in yellow or green cabs are seeing their investments wiped out as drivers flock to rivals or pursue other work and cars sit idle. Since 2013 5,000 taxi drivers have thrown in the towel, and last month Queens-based Melrose Credit Union was seized by state regulators after delinquent cab loans soared tenfold in just 18 months. The stock price of the city’s preeminent taxi lender, Medallion Financial Corp., has fallen so far that one share now costs less than a subway ride.

Among those sucked into the vortex are scores of novice investors who saw the same potential in green cabs as what yellow-taxi medallions offered decades ago: cheap investments (the first medallions sold for $10 in 1937 before peaking at more than $1 million) with yearly returns that far outpaced the stock market. But these small-time players bought green cabs just before the taxi business began its free fall. Singh is in this group along with a dozen other investors, including a home health care company president, a purchasing manager at a software firm, a vice president of sales at a printing company and a commercial real estate broker in Baltimore.

Jake Zamansky, a prominent plaintiff lawyer on Wall Street, said people need to be wary about buying into taxis and other investments that don’t have the same disclosure requirements as publicly traded stocks and bonds. “It’s imperative investors do their own due diligence or stay away,” he said.

The taxi investors are not happy about their losses and have sued in Brooklyn state court, alleging their green-cab broker and his partners cheated them out of $8 million by selling taxi permits “in the manner of a Ponzi scheme.” They also allege the defendants funneled millions of dollars’ worth of taxi money into Platinum Partners, a large hedge fund that federal prosecutors likened to a Ponzi scheme after it collapsed last year.

Billed as a slam dunk

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Williamsburg Waterfront Transformer (and all Related Companies) Sued – Investor Fraud

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Case 1:17-cv-02161-CBA-RML Document 1 Filed 04/10/17

 

DNAInfo – https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170418/bushwick/real-estate-landlord-tenant-housing-scam-investors

Man Behind Williamsburg Waterfront Transformation Sued for Investor Fraud

WILLIAMSBURG — The Brooklyn developer who laid the groundwork for an explosion of residential properties along the Williamsburg waterfront ran a get-richer-quick real estate scheme for five years, conning a small group of Israeli investors out of more than $20 million, according to a Brooklyn federal lawsuit.

Instead, the duo overcharged investors Jacob Schonberg, Binyomin Schonberg, Binyomin Halpern and Raphael Barouch Elkaim hundreds of thousands of dollars for each property and funneled the extra funds into 20 “secret properties,” according to the suit filed on April 10. From those hidden assets, they collected all the rental income — an extra $90 million for themselves.

While the buildings Strulovich and Oberlander were supposed to be refurbishing sunk into neglect, accruing building violations and stop-work orders, the partners sent their investors fictitious updates to trick them  into believing things were going according to plan, and to encourage them to invest in additional properties, the lawsuit charges.

Williamsburg developer Yechezkel Strulovich and his Israeli business partner, Yechiel Oberlander, sweet-talked four well-heeled investors into sinking millions of dollars into 20 properties in Bushwick, Williamsburg, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, promising to fix up and manage the buildings and give the investors their money back in a matter of months, according to the suit filed on April 10. They also promised the funders a big cut of future profits.

The elaborate scam began in 2012, when Oberlander, a member of the small Orthodox Jewish community living in Israel, propositioned the four Israelis about investing in a series of Brooklyn properties, according to the suit.

They would see a full return on their investment within a matter of months, and they would reap 45 percent of the profits after that, Oberlander said, promising to take care of all the construction, renovation and property management needs.

Oberlander advertised his connection to Williamsburg developer Strulovich, whose “vision” for the Williamsburg waterfront in 1998 — which involved converting factories in loft apartments — led Crain’s New York to anoint him as one of “Brooklyn’s miracle makers.”

But in purchase after purchase, Strulovich and Oberlander lied to the investors about the sale price of the properties they’d bought, the lawsuit claims. The two charged overcharged for properties at 901 Bushwick Ave., 106 Kingston Ave. 1213 Jefferson Ave., 369 Gates Ave., 853 Lexington Ave., and 14 other locations by hundreds and thousands of dollars, the investors later found out.

All that extra money supported their “lavish lifestyles” and paid off their personal debts, the complaint claims, although much of it appears to have been funneled into the 20 “secret properties” that Strulovich and Oberlander bought with cash and loans using the investors’ properties as collateral, according to the suit.

Strulovich and Overlander led on their four marks with periodic payouts and photographs of construction sites as evidence of their project’s progress, the lawsuit claims.

The duo intentionally took advantage of the four Israeli investors and “knew that they were not United States citizens or residents, knew they were unfamiliar with the complexities of New York real estate and construction,” the lawsuit reads.

In truth, their actual properties were “languishing, unoccupied and unrenovated” and plagued with stop work orders, code violations and defaulted loan payments, the lawsuit says.

Take, for example, the commercial property at 73 Empire Blvd. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, where the partners claimed they had paid $1M to secure control of the ground-floor commercial lease.

They actually paid far less than that, the lawsuit alleges, and they never made any repairs on the building, eventually losing a potential contract with Dollar Tree, because actual trees growing inside made the building structurally unsafe, according to the lawsuit.

Another building at 454 Central Ave. has an active stop work order, 23 open Department of Building violations and owes the city more than $130,000 in unpaid Department of Building fines, city records show. It has been cited over the years for tilting dangerously and for collecting hazardous garbage and debris inside and out, DOB violation records show.

The investors first became suspicious in the spring of 2016, after Strulovich and Oberlander took out additional mortgages on three properties they said had run out of money. Then, in February, they found out the duo was trying to sell two of their properties without telling them, raising red flags and prompting them to probe their other investments.

The investors’ attorneys at Oved Law didn’t didn’t return a request for comment.

Judah Zelmanovitz, the attorney who represented the sales of several of the buildings, according to property records, couldn’t be reached for comment.

To read the article in its original format and for access to the case file click here.

Off the Books Entitlements, Section 8, Bilking the System in One of the Most Gentrified Neighborhoods

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NY Daily News Photograph.

Hasidic neighborhood in South Williamsburg is a top beneficiary of Section 8, but some question whether law is strictly followed

From the NY Daily News

Little boys in yarmulkes peer from apartment balconies, watching the men below toss bread into a bonfire.

The annual spring ritual marks the first day of Passover in the Hasidic Jewish enclave of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where daily life is built on ancient laws and religious devotion. But the insular community depends on outside money to survive — federal subsidies to help many low-income Hasidic families cover the rent.

New York City’s 123,000 vouchers make this the largest Section 8 voucher program in the country. Reluctant landlords and rising rents are making vouchers nearly impossible to use in many areas of the city. Tenants, especially larger families, are often relegated to the edges of Brooklyn and the Bronx. That’s why this cluster of Hasidic households stands out.

The neighborhood is home to one of the highest concentrations of Section 8 housing vouchers in the city, according to federal data analyzed by WNYC and the Daily News. In several of its census tracts, Section 8 tenants compose more than 30% of residents, a level reached only in scattered pockets of the Bronx.

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Bribery, Guns and 32 Months

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DNA INFO

Brooklyn Businessman Sentenced to 32 Months in NYPD Bribery Scheme

MANHATTAN — A Brooklyn businessman who bribed NYPD officers in exchange for expediting gun licenses for clients was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Thursday.

Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, 45, had pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges after paying tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes since 2013 to Sergeant David Villanueva in the licensing division, who then shared some of the money with Officer Richard Ochetal.

“By engaging in an egregious scheme to trade cash for gun licenses, Alex Lichtenstein and his co-defendants in the New York City Police Department corrupted the sensitive process of evaluating gun license applications in New York City,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.

“Today’s sentence shows that individuals who so brazenly abuse the public’s trust in law enforcement — whether they are the officers receiving bribes or the citizens paying them — will be held to account for their crimes.”

Lichtenstein — who served as the leader of the Borough Park neighborhood patrol, Shomrim — made off with between $150,000 to $250,000 from his clients, some of whom had criminal convictions and a history of domestic violence.

He was finally banned from the licensing division in 2016 after rumors spread about his client fees and he then tried to bribe another officer who recorded the Brooklyn businessman offering a $6,000 bribe.

Lichtenstein was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $230,000.

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY CLICK HERE.