The Investigative Bureau is the back bone of our criminal and civil litigation divisions. It is also a stand alone service available for other lawyers representing clients. In other instances clients that want to make investigative decisions on their own whether as part of a criminal or civil litigation will retain the services of the Investigative Bureau. The Investigative Bureau is not just for active cases but can be used to prevent criminal indictment or civil litigation or to initiate civil litigation. For others the bureau has been very useful in protecting and securing persons as well as property or for the recovery of stolen assets.
The Bureau is led by the Zuppa Firm’s founder Raymond Zuppa.
While still in law school at the Hofstra University Law School Criminal Justice Clinic Zuppa led an investigation that would become famous. The investigation would end in the exoneration of an African American sailor – James Franklin Willis – convicted of homicide a month after the end of World War II. Zuppa’s investigation included the location and recovery of thousands of pages of documents including the ship’s log; the court file; the Coroner’s Inquest and the FBI File. In addition Zuppa tracked down dozens of key witnesses living across the country. From the evidence it became clear that Willis – a crew member of a destroyer – danced with a white female while on liberty in the town of Wrangell Alaska. A large number of sailors from the South became enraged. They tracked Willis back to the ship where they severely beat him. They intended to lynch Willis. Willis killed a member of the lynching party in self defense. A riot ensued which quickly became an attempted mutiny. Willis and three other African American crewmen had to be evacuated from the ship and held in the local jail for their own protection. The events on board the ship escalated to the point where rioting crewman were finally stopped as they loaded the ships guns and aimed at the jail house.
Willis’ conviction was thrown out by the State of Alaska some 55 years after it occurred. See the attached link.
Zuppa is also a former prosecutor in an investigative bureau of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. The Rackets Bureau investigated and prosecuted organized crime activities including gambling, money laundering, tax evasion, complex fraud, extortion, arson, prostitution, enterprise corruption/RICO, identity theft, large scale credit card and bank fraud and a host of other organized crime activities. In addition the Rackets Bureau investigated public corruption and a myriad of high profile cases.
Zuppa coordinated large scale multi agency investigations involving teams comprised of both state and federal law enforcement agencies. These investigations involved the simultaneous coordinated use of sophisticated electronic surveillance including wiretaps and “bugging”; the placement of multiple undercover teams into various facets of the criminal enterprise’s operations; the “flipping” and “turning” of suspects into cooperators; the subpoenaing of massive amounts of financial records; the execution of search warrants; and the synchronized arrest of dozens of suspects.
The coordination of such large scale multi agency investigations presented logistical nightmares not just in tactical deployment but in other areas such as inter-agency and intra-agency relations/cooperation and the maintenance of secrecy.
An example of Zuppa’s work is an investigation entitled “Operation Gateway.” The operation investigated Russian Organized Crime’s infiltration of the NYPD in order to stage phony car accidents. The purpose of the scheme was the fraudulent collection of insurance benefits. The investigation involved multiple state and federal entities; extensive wiretaps; the use of “wired” informants; five undercover teams; multiple search warrants; and numerous arrests. One of the highlights of the operation was the creation of a dummy insurance claims settlement company – Gateway Claims Settlement – including an address; web page and phone numbers. Through a combination of letters and calls Zuppa’s team was able to lure over 50 criminals to one location through the promise of an $11,000.00 dollar settlement check. The criminals flew in from as far as the Dominican Republic and Indiana only to be arrested. See the attached link.
The Investigative Bureau is staffed by retired NYPD Detectives, Lieutenants and Sergeants, as well as former members of federal law enforcement that encompass a multitude of specialties from electronic surveillance to dignitary protection.
The Investigative Bureau’s staff has the following Training and Certifications:
NYS Method of Instruction ( State Certified Police Instructor )
New Mexico Tech response to terrorist bombing ( Instructor certified )
New Mexico Tech response to Suicide bombers
F.E.M.A Counter –Terrorism
U.S. Department of Homeland Security –Incident Commanders Course
NYPD Specialized Security Dignitary Protection Course
NYPD and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chemical Ordnance, Biological, Radiological Awareness (COBRA) Training
NYPD and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Hostile Surveillance Detection
NYPD and U.S. Department of Homeland Behavioral Facial Recognition Training
NYPD Motor Carrier Trucks and Terrorisms Training
NYPD Crime Prevention Course
NYPD Crime Scene / Evidence Collection
NYPD Vehicle Hidden Compartments Course
TSA TWIC card
The Investigative Bureau as described is capable of any type investigation whether in support of a civil or criminal case. This also includes:
Theory of the Case
Investigation, Analysis and Gathering of Evidence
Witness Location and Production
Electronic and Computer Surveillance
Electronic and Computer Counter Surveillance and Detection
Privileged Corporate Investigation and Compliance
The Recovery of Stolen Assets
Location of Missing Persons Including Location and Return of Missing Children
Location and Return of Children that Have Been Removed From U.S. Jurisdiction by Estranged Parent
High End Security Including Courier
High End Personal Security
One of the sweeter highlights of our operation was reuniting a 14 year old girl with her parents. The girl had run away from home. We received information that she was in Brooklyn, New York. Through the use of Facebook and a handsome young teenage boy volunteer we were able to lure her to a meeting with the boy. The boy was there. So were the police and her parents. She went home.