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PR- 301-09
June 30, 2009


Stimulus Funds Will Establish “Financial Crime Task Force” to Crack Down on Financial Crimes and Other Fraud

Project CleanUp Will Strengthen Community Service Sentences

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, members of Congress and City district attorneys today announced that New York City will receive $29.1 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support criminal justice activities. The funding, from the Justice Assistance Grant program, will launch a new Financial Crime Task Force and create Project CleanUp, which will take greater advantage of community service sentences to address local quality of life concerns, such as graffiti and litter. The funding will also support more than a dozen other established programs. Funding for the JAG program is distributed through a formula based on population and violent crime statistics. The Mayor was joined by Representatives Charles Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, and Anthony Weiner, District Attorneys Richard A. Brown of Queens County and Daniel Donovan of Richmond County, and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan.

“These grants will preserve and create jobs, not only by retaining and creating jobs in our criminal justice agencies, but also by enhancing the public safety that’s essential to economic growth,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Throughout our city, there are communities that not so many years ago were considered lost to criminal activity. We reclaimed those neighborhoods.  They’re now flourishing, with new homes and new businesses. These justice assistance grants will allow us to continue that momentum, carry out our five-borough economic recovery plan, and hasten our recovery from the national recession.”

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our families and communities,” said Senator Kristen Gillibrand. “These investments will make sure law enforcement has the resources they need to protect children, families and communities. We’ll get more illegal guns off the street and out of the hands of criminals. We’ll protect more children from abuse and provide more guidance for youths going through the juvenile justice system. We’ll arm law enforcement with the technology they need to do their jobs and keep us safe, and we’ll create and save fire marshal jobs to prevent arson. I will continue working with Mayor Bloomberg, Senator Schumer and the entire Congressional Delegation to make sure New York gets its fair share from the federal government to keep our streets safe.”

“When it comes to protecting our citizens, we need to be tough on crime and smart on prevention,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer said. “From the NYPD to our district attorneys to 911 call takers, these federal economic recovery funds will help employ the talented people and first-rate technology that allows New York City families to live in safety and security. I will continue to fight for funds that help close budget gaps, create and save jobs and protect our communities.”

“These critical funds will go a long way in assisting our city with many key criminal justice functions” said Rep. Gary Ackerman. “I am pleased that our City continues to benefit from the economic stimulus package particularly in such vital areas as law enforcement, keeping our city safe and creating and preserving jobs.”

"In the stimulus package we voted for in Congress is an additional $29.1 million for New York City to be used to enhance the criminal justice system, especially the District Attorney's offices and the Police Department," said Rep. Eliot Engel. "This money will not only fight crime to make us and our streets safer, it will also preserve or create an estimated 200 jobs which helps the local economy."

“The economic recovery funding for Justice Assistance Grants will provide critical support for the City’s law enforcement programs,” said Rep. Michael E. McMahon.  “This is just another example of the stimulus bill at work, and I commend Mayor Bloomberg for his thoughtful and efficient distribution of funds.”

"I am greatly pleased with the $29.1 million of direct grants provided by the Department of Justice under the Federal Stimulus Bill to the City of New York to help provide essential finances to many of New York City's essential criminal justice programs," said Rep. Gregory Meeks. "These grants will not only be used to enhance the safety and security measures throughout New York City, but also create jobs for many New Yorkers who have been hit hard by the current financial crisis and are in need of employment. I look forward to working with Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York to make sure that the necessary safety and security measures are carried out and look forward to the future enhancements that these grants will bring."

“I am very pleased to join Mayor Bloomberg in announcing this $29.1 million in Justice Department stimulus funds for New York City,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. “During these days of economic difficulty and seemingly permanent budget shortfalls, these funds will be a great boost for New York’s excellent law enforcement officials.  Our police officers and district attorneys have done tremendously well in recent years preventing, combating and prosecuting crime in our city, and these funds will make their jobs that much easier.  Likewise, $3.5 million of these funds will go to the Midtown and Red Hook Community Courts, which are located in my district and serve thousands of New Yorkers, promising to reduce rates of recidivism, improve local communities, and save the City money in the long term.”

“The economic stimulus funding for JAG will provide much-needed resources for various sophisticated, law enforcement initiatives and community-oriented programs,” said Rep. Edolphus Towns. “With an additional focus on our youth, this strategic funding provides resources for child advocacy centers and services for at-risk youth – a coordinated and comprehensive approach to improving our communities.”

“This $29 million will reduce crime and help keep our communities safe,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. “In Brooklyn, these funds will enable the Red Hook Community Justice Center to build on their already successful programs.”

“These funds get the federal government back in the business of keeping our streets safe,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner. “They will help all levels of law enforcement crackdown on violent offenders and provide a needed boost to the criminal justice system.”

Financial Crime Task Force

The Financial Crime Task Force will coordinate the efforts of the City agencies that currently investigate financial crimes to more effectively crack down on existing scams and make sure that new scams are discovered. In several areas, City agencies seek to regulate businesses, but they are limited by the fact that no one agency is equipped to detect and respond to the entire scope of a fraud, and in some cases by gaps in the regulatory structure.  The Financial Crime Task Force will coordinate the numerous City agencies that have a role in civil enforcement against businesses; ensure that financial crimes are investigated from all angles; and channel relevant information to prosecutors. 

Project CleanUp

Project CleanUp is a new effort to take greater advantage of community service sentences. Project CleanUp will put offenders arrested for minor offenses such as vandalism, shoplifting, and turnstile jumping to work repairing neighborhoods throughout New York City, assigning them more flexibly to emerging problem areas.  The program will build on our record of success in community service and ensure that a crime is tied to its consequences; show New Yorkers that the justice system is responding to neighborhood problems; and ensure high compliance rates. Project CleanUp projects will be efforts to address neighborhood problems including painting over graffiti, sorting recyclables, sweeping streets, cleaning up local parks, and taking care of blighted waterfront areas. It is estimated that Project CleanUp will supervise 70,000 community service hours for each of the next two years.  Project CleanUp participants will be offered links to social services – drug treatment, job training, and counseling. 

“Project CleanUp will help revitalize neighborhoods where crime threatens the social fabric,” said Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt. “Project CleanUp turns crime on its head by making criminals work to improve the quality of life in communities.”

Project CleanUp will bring the model of targeted community payback citywide. This was originally pioneered by the City and the State in three award-winning community courts – Midtown Community Court, Red Hook Community Justice Center and Bronx Community Solutions. Project CleanUp will be operated as a project of the Center for Court Innovation in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator.  

Stimulus Money Will Support Core Criminal Justice Functions

Funding from the Justice Assistance Grant program will also support the following programs:

NYPD - $2.5 million: for Police Communication Technicians, who operate the City’s 911 call centers.

CJC - $861,000:  for fighting human trafficking, technology enhancements, grants management, contractual oversight, and other continuing multi-agency initiatives.

District Attorneys’ Offices - $4.8 million:  The City’s five District Attorneys and the Special Narcotics Prosecutor will receive a combined $4.8 million to cover operating expenses that would have otherwise been cut due to budgetary shortfalls.

DoITT - $856,000:  for further enhancing the eArraignment system, which provides the City with comprehensive arrest-to-arraignment monitoring and processing.

NY/NJ HIDTA - $80,000:  The New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) will receive $80,000 to establish the position of HIDTA Performance Measurement Coordinator.

DOC - $6.9 million:  The Department of Correction will receive $6.9 million to significantly expand the Institute of Inner Development program for adolescent inmates in city jails.

Problem-solving courts - $3.5 million:  The City will use $3.5 million over four years to continue the operation of the Midtown and Red Hook community courts, which save the City money by sentencing low-level offenders to repair conditions of disorder and by helping them get jobs.

FDNY - $4.0 million:  for hiring and retaining 18 fire marshals, who protect the City by investigating arson and accidental fires and explosions.

Illegal gun initiatives - $300,000:  CJC will use $300,000 to hire staff that will help oversee and coordinate the City’s efforts targeting illegal guns.

Citywide community service - $1 million:  for reforming community service sentences. 

Bail expediting - $900,000:  for helping family members of arrestees navigate the bail system more rapidly, which saves DOC money by eliminating the expenses of intake and briefly housing arrestees who will soon make bail anyway.

Alternatives to juvenile detention - $1.0 million:  The City will use $1 million to supplement funding CASES (Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services), a nonprofit group that provides services in the community to at-risk youth.  Those services are intended to reduce recidivism and over-reliance on confinement.

Financial Crime Task Force - $1.0 million:  The City will invest $1 million to coordinate the numerous City agencies that have a role in civil enforcement against businesses, ensure that financial crimes are investigated from all angles, and channel relevant information to prosecutors.

Child Advocacy Centers - $1.4 million:  The City will use $1.4 million to continue and expand Child Advocacy Centers, which bring together government agencies and nonprofit organizations dealing with child abuse to help victims and effectively prosecute abusers


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

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