Four Charged In Scams Tied To 2008 Marine Park Murders
Three men and one woman were indicted in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Monday following an 18-month investigation initiated after the murders of two Marine Park lawyers. While officials have never arrested any suspects in connection with the July 2008 slayings of attorneys Mark Schwartz and his wife Christina Petrowski in their East 33rd Street home, investigators uncovered “a large-scale criminal conspiracy” that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office says the couple was involved in.
Indicted for enterprise corruption, money laundering and a dozen other charges were Robert Delvicario, a former U.S. customs agent once accused of stealing money from an evidence locker, who authorities claim was the financial scheme’s mastermind, Lennox Johnson, Shanda Bruce and Thermine Remy.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said, “In attempting to determine a motive for the Schwartz’s murders, my office and the NYPD uncovered a web of mortgage fraud, identity theft larceny and money laundering.”
Hynes said clues in the plot, dubbed “Operation Bankroll” and conducted in New Jersey, Delaware, as well as New York, included several checks stolen from the lawyers’ office that three of the suspects tried to cash two months before the Marine Park killings.
The indictment charges that Delvicario, Johnson and Bruce turned on the Marine Park lawyers in May 2008 when they attempted to cash forged checks totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. One check did not go through when the lawyers refused to authorize it, but another did when it was cashed after the murders.
The indictment charges that from 2006 to 2009 the defendants participated in “a series of financial and real estate scams in order to steal and launder money from the clients of the Schwartz’ law firm, in addition to clients of three corporations.”
Hynes described part of the conspiracy stating that the four defendants recruited straw buyers for fraudulent real estate transactions.
“In order to launder stolen money,” Hynes explained, “they would forge and falsify documents and use stolen identities to open bank accounts at numerous financial institutions.”
“The defendants thought they could pay for their extravagant lifestyles by stealing from clients who trusted them.” Hynes continued. “But, as often the case, they eventually turned on each other, robbing their own partners in crime, as well.”
If convicted on the charges in the indictment the four defendants face up to 25 years in prison.
The Brooklyn DA said investigators from his office continue to work with the NYPD to determine who killed Schwartz and Petrowski.