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Crime Nearby: Nonprofit Scammer Pleads Guilty to 47 Felony Charges

Patch looks at crime in the Long Island community.

Commack

A former Port Jefferson Station resident and employee at the Long Island Head Injury Association, a Commack nonprofit that assists survivors of traumatic brain injuries, pleaded guilty last month to nearly 50 felony charges. According to court records online, Benjamin Achampong pleaded guilty in December after being arrested last April, when he was extradited from Georgia – where he was facing 16 identity theft charges for reportedly using stolen credit cards – to face charges in Suffolk County Court. Achampong stole the identity of individuals who were disabled with brain injuries to file false tax returns, and also cashed checks in their name. The charges include: two counts of first degree identity theft; 20 counts of second degree identity theft; 20 counts of first degree offering a false instrument for filing and second degree grand larceny.

Kings Park

An Islip teen was arrested for threats on a social media site to blow up the Kings Park High School gym, according to police. Steven S. Taggart, 16, was charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident a misdemeanor, and was arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Saturday. According to Newsday, Taggart admitted posting on Twitter that he was preparing to blow up "The Kingdome", a nickname for the Kings Park gym. Taggart entered a plea of not guilty to the felony charge of falsely reporting an incident on school grounds. He is being charged as an adult. Taggart is expected back in court on Feb. 15.

Huntington

A Nassau County man was arrested Friday in connection with an incident that took place in Melville and left a Suffolk County police officer with minor injuries. Robert Stein, 54, whose last known address is 1944 Prospect Ave., East Meadow, but who told police he is homeless, is charged with second degree assault of a police officer, first degree reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an incident with injury, two counts of petit larceny and three counts of third degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer. Police on patrol at the Park and Ride off exit 49 of the Long Island Expressway noticed a vehicle that was wanted in connection with prior petit larcenies of gasoline. Police said after an officer approached the vehicle, the driver suddenly drove forward, hitting the officer with the side view mirror and the officer’s gun belt got caught on the mirror. The man allegedly continued driving with the officer caught on the vehicle for approximately 200 yards before the officer was able to free himself. The driver then fled the scene in his vehicle, followed by Kergaravat, and was pursued into Nassau County where he was eventually apprehended after driving down a dead end street, East 2nd Street in Mineola. McAleavey was treated at Huntington Hospital for lacerations and contusions. Stein will be held overnight at the Second Precinct and arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Saturday.

Mineola

The Capital One Bank on Hillside Avenue in Williston Park was robbed Friday afternoon by a man who threatened use of a gun, according to police. Police say the incident occurred at 422 Hillside Ave. at about at 5:25 p.m. After the man approached a teller and presented a robbery demand note, the teller handed over an undetermined amount of cash to the thief who then fled on foot, according to police. There were five employees and three customers present in the bank at the time of the robbery. No injuries were reported. The subject is described as 30 years of age, 5’9” tall, thin build with a light complexion.

Northport

Miguel Velasquez, 20, of Northport was arrested Wednesday night and charged with second degree assault with intent to injure after he allegedly stabbed a man inside NorthSport Athletic Facility following a dispute. Northport Police responded to NorthSport for a report of a fight with a stabbing around 11:18 p.m. In an interview with police, the victim said that he was playing soccer and his shift was over so he went to the recreational area to get a drink where he noticed Velasquez arguing with another person before the stabbing occurred. Velasquez fled the scene and was arrested by police at a different location.

Locust Valley

Nassau police charged the driver of a cement truck with manslaughter in connection with the horrific school bus crash in Locust Valley last July that left one man dead. Raymond Ragen, 44, of Mineola, was charged Tuesday with driving while under the influence of drugs when he barreled into a Long Island Rail Road bridge July 23 and careened into an oncoming school bus. Driver Jorge Guevara was pronounced dead at the scene after a cement truck smashed head-on into the bus he was driving in the oncoming lane, police said. A six-month investigation determined through toxicology reports that Ragen was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, police said Wednesday. The accident occurred on Oyster Bay Road near Matinecock Court. The mixing compartment was knocked from the truck as the vehicle collided with the bus in the westbound lane. The bus was transporting the children from a day camp in the area. Ragen is charged with second-degree manslaughter, five counts of assault, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, reckless endangerment, driving while ability impaired by drugs in a commercial vehicle, aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, various vehicular assault, reckless driving and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, police said.

Lattingtown

The skeletal remains of a person were found in Lattingtown Monday. A female walking her dog in the sand at the end of Sheep Lane at 3 p.m. found the remains of what is believed to be a female about 20-30 years old, Nassau County Police said. The Homicide Squad called the case an undetermined homicide. A gold necklace with a pig charm was recovered at the scene. Police recovered 90 percent of the remains Monday and the last 10 percent Tuesday after digging below the spot where the body was located. Cops have appealed to the public for help in identifying the victim. 

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