Ex-NYPD cop in Dutchess accused of preying on immigrants

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A former cop who worked as a liaison to immigrants in Dutchess County was arrested Friday for allegedly scamming immigrants by promising to get them driver's licenses and benefits, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

Miguel A. Rodriguez, 53, was still a New York City police Officer when he worked as an immigrant liaison in Wappingers Falls. Rodriguez, who worked with the local Latino community, allegedly told his victims there was a state lottery in which they could win valid New York licenses and charged them $300 apiece to enter the phony lottery, Schneiderman's office said.

Rodriguez also was accused of charging $500-$1,000 to secure asylum and residency for immigrants, allegedly telling his victims their applications were reviewed by an attorney and filed with immigration authorities.

Prosecutors said Rodriguez ran the scam from October 2010 through August 2012, netting more than $13,000 for himself. Rodriguez is no longer a police officer, although it's not clear when or how he left employment with the NYPD.

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"Corruption is toxic, undermining cooperation with law enforcement and eroding the public's faith in government," Schneiderman said in a statement, calling Rodriguez's alleged scam "despicable."

State Police arrested Rodriguez on Friday and charged him with several counts of grand larceny, attempted grand larceny and scheme to defraud, all felonies, as well as misdemeanor petty larceny and official misconduct. If convicted of the top count, Rodriguez could be sentenced to as many as seven years in prison.

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