Robert Vineberg, 57, was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, with Max Rosenblum and Juliana Luchkiw, both 22 and Vineberg’s neighbors, charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine. Charges against a fourth person, Thomas Cushman, were dropped. None of the three charged had serious prior criminal records.
Police raided Vineberg’s apartment after a tip came to the NYPD from someone who had “firsthand” knowledge of the dealers Hoffman used. They ended up seizing more than 350 bags of heroin. Vineberg’s stepdaughter Christina Soto told police that Hoffman had been an acquaintance of her father for months, with the Daily News reporting that Hoffman’s phone number was found on a cell phone in Vineberg’s apartment. Officials told the Times, though, that a direct link between those arrested and Hoffman’s fatal overdose last Sunday had yet to be established.
“Just for the record, this case and the charges against Mr. Vineberg have absolutely nothing to do with the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman,” Vineberg’s lawyer Edward Kratt told the Daily News. “I hope that the district attorney will not use Mr. Vineberg as a scapegoat in that unfortunate situation.”
Luchkiw’s lawyer said his client, a student at Parsons School for Design, was charged after cocaine was found in her apartment, yet noted that no heroin had been found there. Rosenblum’s lawyer, Daniel Hochheiser, said his client “has nothing to do with Philip Seymour Hoffman.”
On Wednesday, the city medical examiner said that Hoffman’s initial autopsy could not determine an official cause of death, with the results of further toxicology tests expected in the next few days.
A private funeral for Hoffman has been arranged for Friday, with a memorial service scheduled for later this month.