A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Former Cop For Preying On Immigrants In Money-for-licenses Scam

Serving As Police Liaison To Latino Community, Former NYPD And Wappingers Falls Police Officer Conned Immigrants Into Giving Cash For Drivers’ Licenses And Immigration Assistance

Schneiderman: This Criminal Will Be Held Accountable For Despicably Preying On The Hopes And Dreams Of Immigrants

POUGHKEEPSIE – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest and arraignment of Miguel A. Rodriguez, 53, of Dutchess County, for conning immigrants seeking drivers licenses and immigration assistance out of thousands of dollars. Rodriguez, a former NYPD officer, allegedly carried out the scheme while serving as a police officer and a liaison to the Latino community in the Village of Wappingers Falls.

An indictment unsealed today charges Rodriguez with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (one count); Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (one count); Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (eight counts); Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (two counts); Petit Larceny (two counts); and Official Misconduct (one count). The top count carries a maximum sentence of 2 1/3 to seven years imprisonment.

“Corruption is toxic, undermining cooperation with law enforcement and eroding the public’s faith in government. Where corruption preys on the hopes and dreams of immigrants, it is all the more despicable,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “It is a fundamental duty to bring to justice those who defraud the most vulnerable people among us, and we will continue to root out these crimes wherever they occur.”

According to the Attorney General’s indictment, between October 2010 and August 2012, Rodriguez charged immigrants $300 each to enter a state lottery he falsely claimed could garner them valid NYS driver's licenses. The indictment also accuses Rodriguez of charging victims $500 to $1,000 for "Asylum and Withholding of Removal" applications, falsely promising that the applications would be reviewed by an attorney and filed with the appropriate immigration authorities—without even determining whether the victims could be eligible for the immigration benefits at all. In all, Rodriguez is charged with defrauding victims out of more than $13,000.

James T. Hayes, Jr., special agent in charge of HSI in New York,said, “Miguel Rodriguez allegedly conspired to violate the very laws he spent his entire life sworn to uphold. HSI is dedicated to ensuring the integrity of immigration documents and investigating those who seek to profit from the unlawful or fraudulent trade and sale of such documents."

Rodriguez was arraigned today in Dutchess County Supreme Court before the Honorable Justice Stephen L. Greller.

Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Wanda Perez-Maldonado, under the supervision of Public Integrity Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Chief William E. Schaeffer, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. Assistant Attorney General Jihee Suh also assisted with the prosecution. Investigators Angel LaPorte, Sixto Santiago, Andres Rodriguez, Gerard Matheson, Louis Carter and Aaron Sherer, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Michael Ward, Deputy Chief John McManus, and Chief Dominick Zarrella of the Attorney General's Investigations Bureau, participated in the investigation. Special Agent Donna Roethel of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Commissioner Carl Calabrese of the Wappinger Falls Police Department, and Investigator Christopher Politylo of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles provided assistance with the investigation.

The prosecution proceeds from a referral from the New York State Police.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Anyone with additional information on this matter or any other public corruption is encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-996-4630.

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