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Press Release

Bloods Gang Member Convicted At Trial For Violent And Extortionate Takeover Of The New York City Fire Mitigation Industry

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the conviction of JATIEK SMITH, a/k/a “Tiek,” of racketeering and extortion conspiracies.  The verdict was issued yesterday following a two-week bench trial before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff in December 2023. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Jatiek Smith’s audacious takeover of the New York City fire mitigation industry with the help of his gang associates presented a new form of organized criminal activity in our community, but the experienced career prosecutors of this Office and our law enforcement partners stand ready to combat violent and organized crime, no matter how unconventional.  We will not stand for gangs or any criminal groups who try to corrupt our communities and threaten our safety.  Those who do should expect to find themselves in handcuffs.”

According to the Indictment, statements made in public court proceedings and filings, and the evidence at trial:

The fire restoration industry refers to the businesses that repair properties that have suffered damage from fires or exposures to fires.  Within this industry, fire restoration companies (sometimes referred to as emergency mitigation services (“EMS”) companies) provide emergency mitigation services, demolition, and construction services to properties that have suffered such damages.  First Response Cleaning Corp. (“First Response”) was one such EMS company.

In 2019, JATIEK SMITH joined First Response and quickly assumed control over its operations.  SMITH, a member of the Bloods, a violent street gang, recruited other gang members and associates to join him at First Response.  As the leader of this crew, SMITH and his associates used violence, threats of violence, and extortion to terrorize and dominate the fire restoration industry in New York City. 

SMITH asserted control over the industry by first ousting First Response’s main competitor through violence, threats, and extortion.  Once SMITH and his crew had established control over the industry, they imposed rules that allocated a preferential share of fires to First Response.  These rules were backed by threats — including threats to kill children — and violence.  Industry participants, including senior citizens, who solicited fires in violation of SMITH’s rules were assaulted in broad daylight.  Through threats of violence, actual violence, and economic fear, SMITH and his crew also extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from other industry participants.  SMITH maximized his profits from this scheme by concealing illegal conditions in properties and defrauding insurance companies.    

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JATIEK SMITH, 39, of Staten Island, New York, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and extortion conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the sentence of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the New York City Police Department, and the Department of Investigation. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rushmi Bhaskaran, Marguerite B. Colson, Elizabeth A. Espinosa, and Adam S. Hobson, are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Paralegal Specialists Grayson Glogoff and Ananya Sankar. 


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff
(212) 637-2600

Updated February 15, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-054