Conspiracies and How you May be Liable
Conspiracies are something that can come up for just about anything. From government cover ups, to alien abductions, just about anything can be made into a conspiracy. However, these are not the conspiracies that the courts and police are talking about when someone is charged with a crime. Conspiracy to commit a crime can vary depending on what the crime is, but it makes it illegal to conspire with another to commit the intended crime. Of course, that is not to say that real behind-closed-doors conspiracies do not occur.
Rockland County Conspiracy
Imagine a successful doctor and a mistress hiding their relationship from the doctor’s wife. Now imagine them deciding the only way to be together is to kill his wife. Unfortunately, you do not need an imagination to bring this story to life. Although this sounds like a made-for-tv movie, recently local Rockland podiatrist Ira Bernstein and his girlfriend Kelly Myzner Gribeluk were arrested for planning just such a scheme.
The Rockland Times reported on May 3, 2016 that a well known resident of the community was arrested on charges of murder conspiracy in the second degree, three counts of criminal solicitation, and two more counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree. Later the article was updated to reflect the names of the conspirators, and reveal their plot. Allegedly, they planned to kill Ira Bernstein’s wife, and assault two health care investigators who were looking into his business. It should be noted that Gribeluk was employed by Bernstein at the Rockland and Bergen Medi Spa and Wellness Center in Bardonia.
Then on May 6, 2016 LoHud reported that a Rockland grand jury was being prepared to hear evidence on the alleged murder-for-hire scheme. Allegedly, the plan was that Bernstein would pay $100,000 for a driver to run down his wife and claim it was an accident. An undercover officer obtained a significant portion of this information after a month long investigation, which began when the individual Bernstein approached for the murder informed the police.
Charges of Conspiracy
To explain how conspiracy in the second degree works, it is not necessarily a lesser form of a crime. Instead, conspiracy degrees are separated by the crimes which are being planned by the conspirators. Take for example Bernstein who is charged with conspiracy in the second degree. This means the conspiracy is of a crime which constitutes a class A felony (in this case murder). If he were accused of conspiracy in the third degree, then the underlying crime would be either a class B or a class C felony.
To be guilty of conspiracy in New York, the law states that a person may be charged if they commit an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. For Bernstein’s case this might be him providing the car to use in the conspiracy or providing the funds for the alleged conspiracy. Either way, you may be able to defend your claim if you are charged with conspiracy and the police are unable to prove either an agreement with another party, or that you committed an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you defend against these kinds of charges. This is why, if you are charged with a crime, you should contact Phillip J. Murphy. Phillip J. Murphy is licensed to practice in New York and has been practicing law since 1989. Contact us today to discuss your options.