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Vance: NY Senator Helps Catch ‘Callous’ Scam Artist

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Juliet Papa Juliet Papa
Juliet Papa is an award-winning reporter for 1010 WINS Radio, the...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Prosecutors say a Maryland man posed as a diplomat from the Dominican Republic in a fund-raising scam brought to light by a New York state senator.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: The scam unraveled when the alleged suspect called Sen. Espaillat

Francisco Alberto Gautreaux Calcano was awaiting arraignment Friday in New York on charges including grand larceny.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office says the 42-year-old Calcano got more than $15,000 by falsely claiming he was raising money to ship fire trucks and other needed vehicles to the Dominican Republic.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports: Manhattan DA says Calcano schemed thousands of dollars from donators

“In reality those vehicles did not exist,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance said.

Prosecutors say he pretended to be a Dominican embassy staffer or even an ambassador.

“The defendant is charged with callously taking advantage of his victims’ desire to help others in need and exploited their respect for the office of the Ambassador,” said Vance.

Prosecutors say state Sen. Adriano Espaillat became suspicious and called authorities after Calcano contacted his office. Espaillat says he can’t discuss details because of the ongoing case.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)