By Tom Momberg
A Ridgewood travel agent was charged with stealing thousands of dollars from an undocumented U.S. alien in a deceitful exchange for promising to procure legal immigration status for the victim, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced last week.
The undocumented alien was actually an informant working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security investigations, which began in Queens County after finding that immigrants are often targeted and exploited under similar circumstances, the DA said.
“In this particular case, the defendant is accused of being a con man who unscrupulously exploited an individual looking for help in achieving his American Dream, but ultimately found only an American Nightmare,” Brown said in a statement.
Dariusz Buczynski, 44, of Maspeth, is the owner of Anka Travel and Consulting Services, 65-14 Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood, where according to the DA’s office, an informant began working undercover in July 2012.
Buczynski is alleged to have advised the informant that he could assist in providing government documents that grant legal status, and would charge $12,000 for the entire process, including agency and government filing fees, according to the criminal complaint.
After almost a year of communication, Buczynski allegedly met with the informant and informed him that he would receive government forms in the mail in two to four weeks time, already having received $7,650 from the informant, according to the DA.
An investigation, led by Special Agent Peter Giannakos, of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, revealed that no applications or forms were submitted by Buczynski on the informant’s behalf.
During his arraignment March 10, Buczynski was charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Queens DA’s office.
As a result of the investigation, the DA is urging anyone who may have fallen victim of Buczynski’s alleged scheme, to reach out to the Queens Office of Immigration Affairs at 718-286-6690, or to the DA’s integrity unit at 718-286-6524.
The Office of Immigration Affairs serves as a liaison to immigrant communities to ensure access to the criminal justice system, educate immigrants and promote discourse in those communities.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb