Nov. 21, 2016 By Domenick Rafter
The 112th Precinct Community Council meeting got a visit Wednesday from the borough’s top federal prosecutor.
Robert Capers, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, spoke to the council Wednesday night at the 112th Precinct house in Forest Hills and fielded questions on a wide variety of topics from lack of prosecution of bankers responsible for the 2008 financial crisis to working with the NYPD.
Capers succeeded Loretta Lynch as the top federal prosecutor for the Eastern District, which covers Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau and Suffolk counties, in December 2015 after Lynch was appointed Attorney General of the United States by President Barack Obama. Capers and his assistant prosecutors try cases in two courthouses, one in Downtown Brooklyn and another in Central Islip in Suffolk County.
Capers told the audience that because of the size and diversity of the Eastern District, a wide array of different crimes come across his desk for prosecution, from terrorism to narcotics, violent crime, corruption and even identity theft.
“There are almost no type of crimes we haven’t prosecuted,” he said.
Keeping on the theme of the identity theft problem discussed earlier in the meeting, Capers said fraudsters have been prosecuted at the federal level as well locally and the feds have a great understanding of how they work. He explained how scam artists are often a network of different people tasked with different jobs both locally and in another location, perhaps out of the country, but some of them operate under our noses.
“There are people in the district who do this,” Capers said.
Capers talked about how his office and federal law enforcement officials work alongside the NYPD to catch folks wanted for federal crimes like identity theft, giving local authorities breathing room to do the investigations they need to do.
“We don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” he said. “We will continue to work with police and federal investigators.”
One meeting attendee asked Capers why there had been no protection against bankers responsible for the 2008 financial crisis, even while many bankers were found liable in civil court.
“The burden of proof for a criminal case is much higher than a civil case,” Capers explained.