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02 Thursday

Human Trafficking Charges Filed

Several Ukrainians have been charged with smuggling in at least seven immigrants, although authorities say the operation likely involved many more immigrants.

Four of the defendants, two men and two women, were arraigned yesterday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on charges of smuggling and extortion.

The defendants allegedly used threats of violence to ensure the immigrants they trafficked would later pay off their debts to them. The defendants helped prepare false visa applications for the immigrants in Eastern Europe and then would smuggle them into America, according to court papers filed by prosecutors. The immigrants were charged between $13,000 and $19,500. Those who failed to repay their smuggling debts were physically threatened, a federal prosecutor, Winston Chan, said yesterday at the arraignment.

In one instance, a defendant, Oktavian Kupchanko, said he would have the wife and daughters of one of the immigrants raped because the immigrant was behind on his debts, according to a court papers filed by prosecutors.

26 Friday

Fake Dentist Said To Dump Patient

A fake dentist is accused of dumping a critically ill patient on the curb outside his office after she lost consciousness during surgery, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said today.

Alexander Poperetchny, 47, pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment and unauthorized practice at his arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Thursday, the DA's office said.

Mr. Poperetchny's attorney, Arkady Bukh, said his client was a dental technician and did not perform any procedure requiring a dental license. He said the practice did have a licensed dentist on staff.

He also said Mr. Poperetchny called 911 when the woman passed out.

The patient, Villimin Colleti, 71, was taken to Coney Island Hospital suffering from heart and brain damage, the DA's office said.

She became unconscious while in the dental chair on Tuesday afternoon at the Brighton Beach office, the prosecutor's office said. It was not immediately clear what caused her to become ill.

Criminal Court Judge Richard Allman said the case would go before the grand jury. He set bail at $200,000 bond or $50,000 cash, and scheduled a preliminary hearing for October 30. Mr. Arkady said he expected his client to post bail today.