US Attorney – Man Charged With Ponzi Scam Targeting El Camino Church Members – LawFuel Legal Newswire

LawFuel – Legal Newswire – LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and RONALD J. VERROCHIO, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States
Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced the arrest today
of BRYANT ISMAIL RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a Bryant Rodriguez, a/k/a Rubin
Rodriguez, a/k/a Salvador Rodriguez, a/k/a Robert Rodriguez,
a/k/a Ishmael Rodriguez, for allegedly perpetrating a Ponzi
scheme to defraud fellow members of the El Camino Church and
their friends. According to the criminal Complaint filed in
Manhattan federal court:

Commencing in approximately mid-2007, RODRIGUEZ, a
member of El Camino Church in the Washington Heights neighborhood
of Manhattan, told the church’s pastor and other members that he
was involved with an electronics distribution company named (or
with a name similar to) “C&E Communications & Electronics, Inc.,”
(“C&E”) that purportedly had contracts to sell electronic
products to a number of large electronic products retailers.
RODRIGUEZ offered opportunities to the pastor and to various
members of the Church to invest in C&E, promising investment
returns in the amount of thirty percent or more every month.
Several members did invest and receive initial returns on their
investments, after which they, or friends and family of theirs,
invested additional money with RODRIGUEZ. C&E did not, however,
have any contracts with the electronics retailers RODRIGUEZ
named, and RODRIGUEZ did not make payments to investors in the
amounts promised. Thus far investments with RODRIGUEZ in the
total amount of approximately $960,000 have been identified;
return payments, however, have only been identified in the amount
of about $415,000.

RODRIGUEZ, 44, is charged with one count of mail fraud,
which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
RODRIGUEZ is expected to be presented later today
before United States Magistrate Judge FRANK MAAS in Manhattan
federal court.

MR. DASSIN thanked the USPIS for its work in this
investigation, and said the investigation is continuing.
This prosecution is being handled by the Major Crimes
Unite of the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United
States Attorney SARAH LAI is in charge of the prosecution.
If you believe you were a victim of this crime,
including a victim entitled to restitution, and you wish to
provide information to law enforcement and/or receive notice of
future developments in the case or additional information, please
contact Wendy Olsen-Clancy, the Victim Witness Coordinator at the
United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New
York, at (866) 874-8900 or [email protected] For additional
information, go to: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys/victimwitness.html
on the Internet.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely
accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.
08-344 ###

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