A collective of Staten Islanders and Brooklyn residents have found themselves facing racketeering, conspiracy and extortion charges. The nine, ranging in age from 29 to 42 and containing members of the Bloods gang, are accused of a bold scheme to violently take over a Brooklyn-based emergency mitigation service (EMS) company, then allegedly spreading their gospel of intimidation and extortion to other New York City EMS companies as well as public adjusters. These men are said to have put a stranglehold on the city’s larger EMS industry with violence and threats of violence.
“This indictment is a clear demonstration that those who use violence, force and threats of force to inflict harm on New Yorkers – will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell in a statement.
Jatiek “Tiek” Smith supposedly headed the scheme. Smith was identified in a 2014 report by the Staten Island Advance to be “the reputed leader” of the Tombstone Gangsta Blood set based in the New Brighton section of the reporting outlet’s borough. In 2019, Smith led eight others to bumrush First Response Cleaning Corp., an EMS company, threatening violence and sometimes carrying it out. If you’re asking what an EMS company is, they are outfits hired to clean up scenes after fire damage.
After seizing control of First Response, Tiek and the crew allegedly turned their sights on the greater New York City EMS industry, threatening and extorting other NYC EMS companies as well as public adjusters. The public adjusting was critical to the alleged conspirators’ reign as a money maker. The fire-damaged property owners pay them to investigate, process and submit the insurance claims to their insurer with a percentage of the settlement paid. The indicted invaders allegedly had a public adjuster on the team named Octavio Peralta, who helped submit false insurance claims for damaged properties.
As implied earlier, the defendants are alleged to have used violent force in order for their victims to stay in line. They’re accused of even going so far as to threaten death on their victims and their family members. They were also known to film attacks and disseminate the videos to their other victims to warn of what would happen if they didn’t get with the program. Once power was solidified, the defendants had reportedly imposed a system among the EMS companies, which included a strict rotation system dictating which companies got which losses. According to the prosecution, not only were they extorting money, they forced other companies to pay them for the privilege of working without facing retaliation. To top things off, the group is accused of intimidating witnesses believed to be working with authorities.
In addition to Smith and Peralta, Sequan “Supa” Jackson, Anthony “Touch” McGee, Kaheen “Biz” Small, Damon “Demo” Dore, Hasim “Hoodie” Smith, Rahmiek “Ready” Lacewell and Manuel “Manny” Pereira each face one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. According to the Department of Justice:
Each count carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison, for a combined statutory maximum of 40 years in prison.
The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
“Members of the Bloods allegedly infiltrated the First Response Cleaning Corporation and utilized violence to command dominance and compliance over their competitors within the insurance industry,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Ricky J. Patel. “This criminal organization took advantage of people in time of personal and professional turmoil to enrich themselves at others expense.”
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