DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES THE SENTENCING OF RAFAEL MASSO FOR DEFRAUDING IMMIGRANTS

Defendant Stole More Than $24,000 by Impersonating a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of Rafael Masso, 28, to two to six years in state prison, for defrauding three Dominican immigrants by impersonating a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agent and purporting to provide legal services to immigrants. On December 14, 2010, MASSO pleaded guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.

“The defendant victimized members of the Spanish-speaking community by pretending to be a federal agent,” said District Attorney Vance. “This sentence should send a clear and strong message that predatory fraud schemes targeting our immigrant community will not be tolerated. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute these schemes.”

The District Attorney’s Office’s Immigrant Affairs Program addresses the victimization of immigrants. Immigrants seeking residency or citizenship are often preyed upon by criminals who steal from them by employing a variety of schemes. Undocumented immigrants may also be targeted for criminal schemes and exploitation related to their employment, wages, and housing. The Immigrant Affairs Program is meant to aid and encourage both documented and undocumented immigrant victims and witnesses who may fear cooperating with law enforcement because of their immigration status.

Regardless of immigration status, individuals with concerns or issues related to their immigration status and the criminal justice system can contact District Attorney’s Office’s Immigrant Affairs Program Hotline at 212-335-3600.

District Attorney Vance thanked Assistant District Attorney Melissa Pennington, who handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Daysi Mejia, Attorney-in-Charge of the Immigrant Affairs Program, and Thomas Wornom, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. Investigators Alejandro Arenas, Erika Figueroa, and Angelo Pisani from the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau assisted in the case, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Jose Flores and Chief Investigator John Bilich.

District Attorney Vance also thanked the Office of Fraud Detection & National Security within USCIS, New York District; the Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program of the United States Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review; and the Labor and Employment Division of the Principal Legal Advisor’s Office within Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their assistance.

Defendant Information:

RAFAEL MASSO, D.O.B. 4/7/1982
Bronx, N.Y.

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, 1 count, class D felony
Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, 1 count, class E felony

Sentenced:

Two to six years in state prison

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