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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko killing appears linked to used car scam at Universal Auto World LI














Is NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko's killing linked to the financial scheme that was operating out of two Lawrence car dealerships -- uncovered during a murder probe of one of the used car salesmen --they helped drug dealers, pimps and gang members buy luxury cars and keep their names off motor vehicle records, it's a highly active investigation, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

The scheme operated out of Universal Auto World and Victory Toyota, Rice said. Ten managers and salesmen and Universal Auto have been charged. Most defendants, including the dealership, were charged with scheme to defraud and grand larceny, as well as other charges. Nassau police began probing the dealerships after the Jan. 11th 2007 shooting death of Collin Thomas, a salesman at Universal Auto.

Rice's office is also investigating a link between the Thomas slaying and a car stolen from another Five Towns dealership that was used in the July 9th 2007 shooting of two New York City police officers, Herman Yan and Russel Timoshenko who was killed. Thomas' death remains unsolved."This investigation started with a murder and eventually led the police department and my office into a tangled web of financial schemes and bogus identities,"

Detectives are investigating possible links between the men accused of gunning down two Brooklyn cops (photos above) and an alleged million-dollar scam at a Long Island auto dealership. Officers Timoshenko and Herman Yan pulled over a black BMW sport utility vehicle at 2:30 am in Brooklyn on July 9 2007 after noticing that the license plate did not match the vehicle. As the officers approached the stolen SUV on foot, its occupants opened fire, shooting Timoshenko in the face and throat and Yan in the arm and torso. Timoshenko was instantly brain-damaged and paralyzed from the neck down; after five days in a coma, he died. Yan lost so much blood that he required surgery.

Timoshenko-slay suspect's damaging one-way ticket to trouble; By Scott Shifrel DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER Friday, July 18th 2008, A one-way street could land an accused cop killer a one-way ticket - to prison. Ex-con Lee Woods was telling Brooklyn detectives he had nothing to do with shooting Officer Russel Timoshenko last year when the map-challenged perp slipped up, a detective testified Thursday. Woods said he was in a second car following pals Dexter Bostic aka Bostick and Robert Ellis in their black BMW SUVwhen they were pulled over on Rogers Ave., Detective Louis Yaro said at a hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Woods said he proceeded to the next corner where he made a U-turn and drove back past the BMW and the police car," Yaro said. "He sat at the opposite corner to watch what was going on." Woods heard shots, saw Timoshenko's partner Herman Yan fire at the BMW and then he drove off, he told Yaro, but he made a crucial navigational gaffe.

While probing the murder of car salesman Collin Thomas outside the showroom of Universal Auto World in Lawrence, L.I., in January 2007, cops unraveled what they said was the massive scam at the dealership. The luxury models, including Maseratis and Aston Martins, were allegedly sold or transferred under the table to individuals who didn't want cars in their real names. Nassau County Police Lt. Kevin Smith said his department and city cops were investigating if accused cop shooters Dexter Bostic and Robert Ellis knew Thomas and were part of the scam.

Bostic aka Bostick worked as a car salesman at Five Towns Mitsubishi, just up the road from Universal on Burnside Avenue in Inwood. Ellis, who lived with Bostic, also may have once worked at Five Towns. "We're investigating any links between these people," Smith said. Collin Thomas had worked at Five Towns Chrysler, across the street, for several years before joining Universal Auto World. Thomas, 27, a father of two, was shot in the back as he closed up for the night on Jan. 11 2007.

As part of the homicide probe, Nassau County police raided the Universal Auto World dealership, owned by auto czar Michael Oshry, and Oshry's Hewlett Harbor home and seized business records. Cops found banking records were sent to the house, though the state requires such files be kept at businesses, according to court papers filed in a civil forfeiture action by the Nassau district attorney. "The dealership knew what was going on," an investigator said. Oshry's lawyer, William Petrillo, said his client "has not engaged in any criminal activity."

Thomas' fiancée, Cindy Heron, 21, said he was popular and successful. "All his customers loved him," she said. Universal shut its doors June 22, 2007 and liquidated its assets.

Cops say Bostic and Ellis were in a black BMW SUV that Bostic had taken from the Mitsubishi lot when they fired at Officers Herman Yan and Russel Timoshenko. Dexter Bostic, who shot Timoshenko, was arrested for rape, assault, and robbery at age 16; after spending nine years behind bars, he was convicted again for an armed robbery committed less than a year after his release from prison. Yet he was back on the street in 2004 after a mere three years in jail, and he has apparently been continuing his crime spree.
Robert Ellis, who shot Yan, was convicted as a teenager of rape and sodomy. The driver of the stolen SUV, Lee Woods, also began his criminal career as a teen, serving time for possession of a loaded gun and assault on an officer. He continued his violence in jail against prison guards and other inmates. Russel Timoshenko, 23, (photo above) died while on life support at Kings County Hospital from the injuries he suffered when he and his partner stopped the stolen black SUV in Brooklyn, according to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
AMONG THOSE CHARGED ARE ;
Universal Auto Sales, LLC DBA Universal Auto World, located at 711 Burnside Avenue in Lawrence, is charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, seven counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and 16 counts of Falsification of Business Records in the First Degree. It is represented by Joseph Gentile, Esq.

Christ Tsiropoulos, 38, of Bellmore is the former general manager and co-owner of Universal Auto Sales, LLC. He was arrested in December 4, 2007 and charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, seven counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and 16 counts of Falsification of Business Records in the First Degree. He is represented by Steven Singer, Esq. He is facing a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Nazeem Mohamed, 43, of Richmond Hill was arrested in December 5, 2007 and charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, three counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and five counts of Falsification of Business Records in the First Degree. He is represented by Nick Marino Esq. He is facing a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Haimraj Prashad, 38, of Jamaica, Queens was arrested in December 5, 2007 and charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, four counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and four counts of Falsification of Business Records in the First Degree. He is represented by Rovshan Sharov, Esq. He is facing a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted.

Bill Warner
Private Investigator

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