More victims of a Ridgewood-based travel agent, who allegedly swindled undocumented immigrants out of thousands of dollars in return for procuring legal immigrant status, have come forward, leading to additional charges, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
The agent was identified as Dariusz “Darius” Buczynski, of Maspeth, who is the owner of Anka Travel and Consulting Services, located at 65-14 Fresh Pond Rd. and formerly at 71-20 Fresh Pond Rd., both in Ridgewood.
The new victims gave their stories after Brown earlier urged people who felt they may have been a victim of the defendant’s alleged scheme to call his newly established Office of Immigrant Affairs.
“Earlier this year, I established an Office of Immigrant Affairs to assist members of the Queens County’s various immigrant communities in navigating and accessing the criminal justice system because it has been my office’s experience that immigrants are often specifically targeted for fraud and exploitation due to their unfamiliarity with the law and their heavy reliance on finding someone to assist them in navigating the process of obtaining the necessary documents to work and remain in the United States,” Brown said. “This case clearly proves the need for such an office here in the county of immigrants as my office received many calls in the wake of the defendant’s initial arrest.”
According to the criminal charges, three couples separately visited Anka Travel to meet with Buczynski to ask for assistance in securing government documents granting legal status, including work documents and legal resident status.
Between Oct. 17, 2009, and Feb. 15, 2013, the victims allegedly paid Buczynski a total of $27,840, even though none of them received any documents or letters from the United States Immigration Service regarding an application for legal status or work authorization.
It is alleged that when the couples demanded their money back, Buczynski either did not return their calls and texts or told them he did not have the money.
Nine others have now made similar allegations against Buczynski, according to Brown.
“Confidence artists in general are illusionists who do not like having their schemes aired in public,” Brown said. “In this particular case, as a result of publicizing the defendant’s alleged scheme, other victims who might not have come forward did and the defendant now faces additional felony charges.”
Buczynski was arraigned last week in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint, charging him with third-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud, Brown said. The suspect, who faces up to seven years in jail if convicted, was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on Dec. 15.