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Former NYPD cop arrested for preying on immigrants in money-for-licenses scam

POUGHKEEPSIE – A New Windsor man was arrested on charges that he conned immigrants seeking drivers’ licenses and immigration assistance out of thousands of dollars.

Miguel Rodriguez, 53, a former New York City police 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.

He was arraigned in Dutchess County Supreme Court on Friday on nine charges of grand larceny, one count of attempted grand larceny, two counts of scheme to defraud, two counts of petit larceny and one count of official misconduct.

If convicted of the top count, he could face up to 2 1/3 to seven years in state prison.

Rodriguez was arrested at the Empire State Building in New York City where he was about to start a new job as an armed security guard.

According to the state attorney general’s indictment, between 2010 and August 2012, Rodriguez charged immigrants $300 each to enter a state lottery he falsely claimed could garner them valid New York State driver’s licenses. He is also accused 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 over $13,000.