2015-12-02 / Features

DA Charges ‘Con Artist’ Who Defrauded Immigrants

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that a Ridgewood travel agent who allegedly bilked an undocumented alien out of thousands of dollars in return for purportedly procuring legal immigrant status for the individual has been charged with perpetrating a similar scheme on a dozen other individuals. The arrest came after the District Attorney urged members of the public who believed that they may have been a victim of the defendant’s alleged scheme to call his Office of Immigrant Affairs, DA Brown explained in his announcement on November 23.

District Attorney Brown said, “Earlier this year, I established an Office of Immigrant Affairs to assist members of 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. 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.”

DA Brown continued, “Confidence artists in general are illusionists who do not like having their schemes aired in public. 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.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Dariusz ( a.k.a. Darius) Buczynski, 44, of 53-49 65th Place in Maspeth. Buczynski is the owner of Anka Travel and Consulting Services, located at 65-14 Fresh Pond Road, Ridgewood, and formerly at 71-20 Fresh Pond Road, Ridgewood, and 683 Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn. Buczynski was arraigned last week in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging him with third-degree grand larceny and firstdegree scheme to defraud. Buczynski, who faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, was released on his own recognizance and the case was adjourned to December 15, 2015, to join the related matter.

According to the criminal charges, Brown stated three couples separately went to Buczynski’s business, Anka Travel, and met with Buczynski and asked for assistance in securing government documents granting legal status, including work documents and legal resident status. At various times between October 17, 2009, and February 15, 2013, they allegedly paid him a total of $27,840, although none had received any documents or letters from the United States Immigration Service regarding any application for legal status or work authorization. A review of immigration application filings by the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement allegedly revealed that no applications for legal status or work authorization had been filed on behalf of any of the couples. It is alleged that when the three couples individually demanded the return of their money, Buczynski either did not return telephone calls and texts or simply told them that he no longer had the money. Nine other individuals also made similar allegations against Buczynski.

The District Attorney noted that his Office of Immigrant Affairs, which is under the direction of Assistant District Attorney Carmencita Gutierrez, serves as a liaison to immigrant communities and New Americans in Queens, both to ensure that they are aware of and know how to access the criminal justice system if they are victimized and to assist community members and groups with questions, concerns or complaints and direct them to the appropriate bureaus and divisions within the Queens District Attorney’s Office. Brown stressed that immigrants who have been victimized and are undocumented should not be afraid to come forward, as his office is not concerned with their immigrations status in this country and the office does not report their status to any outside agencies.

The Office of Immigrant Affairs can be reached through its support hotline, 718-286-6690, or by email, OIA@queensda.org. Additional information about the Immigrant Affairs office can be found on its facebook page: Queens District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

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