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Press Release

Bloods Gang Member Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison 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 today that JATIEK SMITH, a/k/a “Tiek,” was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role as the leader of a violent and extortionate racketeering enterprise that terrorized the fire restoration industry in New York City.  SMITH was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff after being convicted following a bench trial in December 2023 of racketeering and extortion conspiracies. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Jatiek Smith led a group of gang members and associates that audaciously took over the New York City fire restoration industry through violence and threats.  We will not stand for gangs or any criminal groups that try to corrupt our institutions and threaten our safety.  Today’s sentence demonstrates that those who use violence and intimidation will face significant jail time.”    

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 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, the 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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In addition to the prison term, SMITH, 39, of Staten Island, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $354,546.44.  Restitution will be determined at a later date.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the New York City Police Department, and the New York City 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, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated June 3, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-193