A man who allegedly was involved in a scheme to steal money by taking advantage of undocumented immigrants in Westchester, claiming he could help them gain legal citizenship, has been arraigned on an 87 count indictment.
Washington State resident Juan Cedillo, 64, was arrested in February after he allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from illegal immigrants.
On Wednesday, Nov. 13, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr., announced that Cedillo was charged this week with individual counts of scheme to defraud with he intent to defraud more than 10 people and to obtain property greater than $1,000 from multiple people.
Cedillo was also charged with 85 counts of immigrant assistance fraud in an effort to obtain property of more than $1,000 by fraud.
The indictment alleges that between November 2013 and February this year, Cedillo defrauded 17 victims in Yonkers who sought immigration assistance services.
It is alleged that Cedillo would recruit families by word-of-mouth and direct them to join his fabricated “U.S. Counter Insurgents Association of Justice” for a $5,000 fee, the DA noted. During his meetings with families, he would tell them he was “better than” or “higher” than an immigration lawyer, claiming he had contacts at multiple government agencies, including at times the CIA, the FBI and The White House. He promised he would obtain U-Visas for them and guarantee them “Green Cards.”
During the process of creating falsified U-Visa applications, he would take further payments totaling approximately $3,000, obtaining a total of $8,000 from each victim.
According to police, in reality, Cedillo would simply submit a U-Visa application – which is available online – with false and incomplete information and submit it to the federal government for standard processing. Cedillo allegedly falsely indicated that the applicants were a victim of crime (a requirement for a successful U-Visa application), and he failed to include supporting documents.
Police investigators noted that none of Cedillo's U-Visa applications for Yonkers families have been approved or led to a change of immigration status.
“No one should be able to take advantage of any community, especially those most vulnerable to crime,” Scarpino said. “We will seek justice for anyone living in Westchester County no matter their immigration status. Immigrants should never be concerned about coming forward. Our Office is always here to help.”
Bail for Cedillo was set at $25,000 cash bail or bond. He is scheduled to return to court on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
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