GOSHEN - A former Middletown resident admitted Tuesday to stealing from new immigrants by falsely promising to help them with immigration documents and proceedings, prosecutors said.
Byron Castillo, 37, pleaded guilty in Orange County Court to third-degree grand larceny, a felony, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutor said the plea covers a scheme by Castillo to defraud multiple immigrants.
Prosecutors say Castillo admitted in court that he took money from a recent immigrant from Ecuador, falsely promising to arrange for her relatives to get U.S. visas and to provide them with false visa documents and plane tickets.
In return for the plea, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of one to three years in prison. Castillo will be required to pay restitution to five immigrants he defrauded, prosecutors said.
“Those who think that they can escape arrest or prosecution in Orange County by preying on undocumented immigrants, who may be reluctant to come forward because of their immigration status, are sadly mistaken,” District Attorney David Hoovler said in a news release. “It must be well understood that this Office will not tolerate criminal acts of any type, against any victim. We are a nation of immigrants and all of our residents deserve to be free from being victimized by crime.”
Prosecutors said Castillo’s case was initiated through the office’s Immigrant Affairs Initiative, which helps immigrants who have been victimized by crime. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is also part of the New York District Attorneys’ League of Immigrant Affairs along with prosecutors in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens and Nassau County.