www.crownheights.info, June 30,2022

Officials today announced the unsealing of a two-count Indictment charging nine people with racketeering conspiracy and extortion conspiracy of the Fire Mitigation Industry in New York City. Eight of them were arrested yesterday and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron in federal court in Manhattan

The defendants, who include members of the violent Bloods street gang, took control of First Response Cleaning Corp. (“First Response”), a Brooklyn-based company which provides clean-up services to properties damaged by fire. They then used First Response as a vehicle to extort other participants in the fire mitigation industry and to assert control over the industry using violence and threats of violence.

“We are smoking out corruption and violence in the fire mitigation industry with today’s charges,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “As alleged, the defendants used threats and violence to take over a company and then an industry. Thanks to our law enforcement partners’ work, today’s arrests bring an end to the defendants’ violent scheme.

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed yesterday in Manhattan federal court and statements made in court filings[1]:

First Response is an emergency mitigation services (or “EMS”) company which provides clean-up services to properties damaged by fire. When properties suffer fire damage, property owners often hire an EMS company to clean up the damaged property. Property owners also often rely upon adjusters—either a “public adjuster” or an “independent adjuster”—to investigate, process, and submit the insurance claims to their insurer. A public adjuster is paid by the property owner with a percentage of the settlement paid out by the insurer on the insurance claim, while an independent adjuster works for and is paid by the insurer. Full Article