Upon the foregoing papers, plaintiff Vadim Purygin (the husband) moves for summary judgment as a matter of law: (1) pursuant to CPLR 3212(c) and Domestic Relations Law (DRL) § 236, dismissing the claim of defendant Irina Purygina (the wife) to share in his alleged enhanced earnings capacity from the courses of study that he completed at Long Island University (LIU); (2) pursuant to CPLR 3212(c) and DRL § 236, dismissing defendant's claim of a right to share in his alleged enhanced earning capacity from the medical degree that he obtained from Ross University Medical School (Medical School); and (3) pursuant to CPLR 3212(c) and DRL § 236, dismissing defendant's claim of a right to share in his alleged enhanced earning capacity from the one year of medical residency that he completed prior to the commencement of the instant divorce action that had not then resulted in any degree or license. Defendant cross moves for an order, pursuant to DRL § 237, granting her attorneys' fees and costs in defending this motion.
The arrest of two bail bondsmen charged with lying under oath
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the arrest of licensed bail bondsmen, Kisha Dunkley, 35, and his employee Andrew Wright, 28, on charges they falsified paperwork and lied in court proceedings, in order to overcharge clients.
Charges against Wright and Dunkley include Perjury in the First Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted they face up to seven years in prison.
The defendants operate a bail bonding company, called Dan Dunn Bail Bonds or Aable Bail Bonds, located at 26 Court St., Suite 611. Today’s arrest is the result of an investigation into complaints the company had overcharged clients. The fees bail bondsmen can charge are regulated by state law.
In an effort to expose the alleged fraud, investigators from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office created two fictitious cases, with two fictitious defendants, each charged with Robbery in the First Degree, and had their names entered into the Corrections Department and New York State Unified Court System computer databases. The computers listed $10,000 as their bail. Detective Investigators from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office then posed as relatives of the defendants and contacted Able Bail Bonds about posting bail.
In the case of the first fake robbery case, Dunkley and Wright are charged with telling Detective Investigators that they would only have to provide $1500 for the Dunkley and Wright to bail out their relative, even though it would have been standard practice to require a $3,000 deposit on a $10,000 bail bond. Though the maximum fee bail bondsmen are allowed to charge on $10,000 bail is $860, the defendants are accused of charging $1360 in this case.
In the case of the second fake robbery case, the defendants are charged with requiring a $1400 deposit and demanding a fee of $1160.
In both cases, the defendants are charged with writing on sworn affidavits and testifying at court bail hearings, under oath, that they received $3,000 deposits and charged fees of $860. The first case was called in Brooklyn Supreme Court August 26, and the second on September 14.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Moehle and Rackets Division Bureau Chief Jeffrey Ferguson. Michael Vecchione is Chief of the Rackets Division.
Charges against 59 nyc taxicab drivers engaged in widespread fraud of customers
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the arrests of 59 New York City taxicab drivers for defrauding and stealing from their customers over a 20-month period. Forty-five of those arrested were each separately charged with two counts of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a felony. An additional 14 taxicab drivers were arrested and individually charged with a cumulative total of more than 5,000 counts of petit larceny, a misdemeanor, via criminal complaints. The arrests follow an investigation in partnership with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (“TLC”) and the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”).
“No one is above the law – or below our radar,” said District Attorney Vance. “Although these drivers stole from their customers a few dollars at time, these scams amounted to a massive fraud that cast suspicion on an industry that is a vital part of our life and economy in New York City. I thank the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the Department of Investigation for their assistance in building these cases.”
According to documents filed in court, between November 2008 and June 2010, the 45 indicted defendants regularly defrauded their customers by pressing a button on their taxicab meters that engaged the suburban rate, known as Rate Code 4, for trips that never left the borders of New York City. Rate Code 4 doubles the amount of the fare charged after it is engaged, and may only be activated when traveling outside the city limits and into Westchester or Nassau Counties. The District Attorney’s Office and DOI were able to detect each instance of a fraudulent Rate Code 4 overcharge by using data generated from within the taxicabs, including GPS coordinates and other trip sheet data. GPS data revealed that many of the fraudulent trips involved pickups and drop-offs at tourist locations such as Central Park, LaGuardia Airport, Grand Central Station and Wall Street. The evidence recovered by the District Attorney’s Office and DOI revealed that these indicted taxicab drivers systematically engaged Rate Code 4 as a means of increasing the fares they collected, with most overcharging multiple customers on a regular basis.
According to documents filed in court, over the course of the indictment period, the defendants stole more than $235,000 in overcharged fares and fraudulently engaged Rate Code 4 more than 77,000 times. For instance, one of the indicted defendants fraudulently engaged the Rate Code 4 fare on 5,127 separate occasions, stealing more than $11,000. Another indicted defendant engaged Rate Code 4 on 4,772 separate occasions, stealing more than $15,500.
DECISION & ORDER
In an action for a divorce and ancillary relief, the defendant appeals (1), as limited by her brief, from so much of an order of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Thomas, J.), dated January 21, 2010, as granted the plaintiff's cross motion to appoint an appraiser to value her degrees for the purpose of equitable distribution, and (2) from a money judgment of the same court entered March 15, 2010, which, upon so much of the order dated January 21, 2010, as granted her motion for an award of an interim attorney's fee, is in her favor in the sum of only $7,000, and the plaintiff cross-appeals (1), as limited by his brief, from so much of the same order as granted the defendant's motion for an award of an interim attorney's fee, and (2) from the same money judgment.
ORDERED that on the Court's own motion, the defendant's notice of appeal from so much of the order dated January 21, 2010, as awarded her an interim attorney's fee in the sum of only $7,000, is deemed to be a premature notice of appeal from the money judgment (see CPLR 5520[c]); and it is further,
ORDERED that the plaintiff's cross appeal from the order dated January 21, 2010, is dismissed; and it is further,
ORDERED that the order dated January 21, 2010, is affirmed insofar as reviewed; and it is further,
ORDERED that the money judgment is affirmed; and it is further,
ORDERED that one bill of costs is awarded to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff's cross appeal from the order dated January 21, 2010, must be dismissed because the right of direct cross appeal therefrom terminated with the entry of the money judgment [*2]in the action (see Matter of Aho, 39 NY2d 241, 248). The issues raised on the cross appeal from the order are brought up for review and have been considered on the cross appeal from the money judgment (see CPLR 5501[a]).
This action for a divorce and ancillary relief arises from the termination of a 16-year marriage between the plaintiff husband and the defendant wife. During the course of the marriage, the defendant began taking the necessary classes to earn both a Bachelor of Science and a Doctorate degree in physical therapy. After the plaintiff commenced this action for a divorce and ancillary relief in August 2007, the defendant continued with her studies and, ultimately, was granted both degrees in May 2009.
The Supreme Court properly granted the plaintiff's cross motion to appoint an appraiser to value the defendant's degrees for the purpose of equitable distribution. "The definition of marital property should be construed broadly in order to give effect to the economic partnership concept of the marriage relationship recognized in the statute" (Mesholam v Mesholam, 11 NY3d 24, 28 [internal quotation marks omitted]). "[F]ew undertakings during a marriage better qualify as the type of joint effort . . . than contributions toward one spouse's acquisition of a professional license" (O'Brien v O'Brien, 66 NY2d 576, 585). "In order to constitute marital property, a degree or license must be attributable to a course of study, at least part of which was undertaken during the marriage. The license or degree will constitute marital property only to the extent that it is attributable to the work done during the marriage" (McGowan v McGowan, 142 AD2d 355, 363).
Here, it is undisputed that the defendant completed many of the required courses to obtain her degrees during the course of the marriage. Therefore, to the extent that the defendant's degrees are attributable to the course work completed during the marriage, the plaintiff may be entitled to equitable distribution of a portion of the defendant's enhanced earning capacity (see Rodriguez v Rodriguez, 70 AD3d 799, 801; Miklos v Miklos, 9 AD3d 397; Vora v Vora, 268 AD2d 470; Vainchenker v Vainchenker, 242 AD2d 620; cf. McGowan v McGowan, 142 AD2d at 363). However, " it [will be] incumbent upon the nontitled party seeking a distributive share of such assets to demonstrate that [he or she] made a substantial contribution to the titled party's acquisition of that marital asset'" (Schwartz v Schwartz, 67 AD3d 989, 991, quoting Higgins v Higgins, 50 AD3d 852, 853 [internal quotation marks omitted]).
Contrary to the plaintiff's contention, based on the disparate financial circumstances between the parties, the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in awarding an interim attorney's fee to the defendant (see Domestic Relations Law § 237[a]). However, contrary to the defendant's contention, the Supreme Court also providently exercised its discretion in awarding her an interim attorney's fee in the sum of only $7,000 (see Levesque v Levesque, 73 AD3d 990; Davis-Potente v Potente, 60 AD3d 720; Petrov v Basheva-Petrova, 46 AD3d 791; Zheng v Pan, 23 AD3d 378; Bogannam v Bogannam, 20 AD3d 442). This amount was sufficient to ensure that the defendant was able to litigate the action on equal footing with the plaintiff (see O'Shea v O'Shea, 93 NY2d 187; Davis-Potente v Potente, 60 AD3d 720; Prichep v Prichep, 52 AD3d 61, 64).
SKELOS, J.P., BALKIN, LEVENTHAL and HALL, JJ., concur.
Matthew G. Kiernan
Clerk of the Court