Weinstein Law Blog

Friday, January 6, 2017

Former NYPD Officer Sues NYC and DA's Office for Malicious Prosecution

NEW YORK, NY – January 6, 2017 -- A former New York City police officer has filed a $10 million federal law suit against New York City, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and five assistant district attorneys, including the Chief of the Rackets Bureau, alleging the retired officer’s civil rights were violated by the DA’s abuse of process and gross negligence, when they were wrongly accused in a Social Security disability scam in a frenzy for public attention.

Darlene Ilchert, a 53-year-old resident of Nassau County, was arrested in 2014 as part of an indictment of 106 defendants, many police and firefighters, for alleged massive fraud against the federal Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits program. Ilchert was charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and one count of Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree. Nearly three years later, the she was cleared of all wrong doing and all charges filed against her were dropped, but not before she had suffered public humiliation, exacerbated health issues and economic hardship. Rather than pursue justice, the suit alleges the Manhattan DA acted in an overzealous matter, bringing criminal charges that were unfounded and without any reasonable basis.

The suit, brought by Manhattan attorney Jacob Z. Weinstein, argues that any reasonable prosecutor conducting an investigation would have realized their innocence. “This case will show how these public servants, officers of the court, abused their power and collectively and individually, and denied my client her rights under the Constitution  by negligently, wantonly and knowingly pursuing these claims,” said Jacob Z. Weinstein. “We will further show that the District Attorney and his office were not only negligent in training, hiring, and supervising Assistant District Attorneys and staff, but deliberately indifferent as well. These men suffered under a shadow while prosecutors overlooked the actual innocence of my clients until they were cleared nearly three long years later.”

Weinstein said his client suffered physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as economic injury. Mrs. Ilchert lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the DA’s freezing of her bank accounts, assets, and legal fees. This was because Mrs. Ilchert were swept up in the indictment with bad apples who turned out to be ringleaders in an alleged fraud.

 “Mrs. Ilchert, who is actually disabled, has suffered greatly from the DA’s actions – from being arrested and exacerbated mental health issues, to economic hardship, and the public humiliation of being paraded in front of the media for the DA’s gains,” Weinstein said.

The case is Ilchert v. City of New York et. al., 17-cv-00108 filed in the US District Court Southern District of New York 

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As a former prosecutor, I fully understand the power law enforcement has. As a trial attorney, I know the law seems very scary.