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US Attorney Reports Men Arrested For Allegedly Distributing Fraudulent Law Enforcement Badges & Credentials

LAWFUEL – Legal Announcements – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOHN A. ULIANKO, Regional Director for the Federal Protective Service (“FPS”), Region 2,
announced that RALPH RIOS and ROBERT NEVES were arrested today by
agents of the Federal Protective Service on charges that they
distributed hundreds of false law enforcement badges and
credentials. According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan
federal court:

NEVES and RIOS are the principals of the U.S. Recovery
Bureau (the “School”), which offers monthly classes in bounty
hunting and in how to restrain people. The classes regularly
take place in Brooklyn and Passaic, New Jersey, and in other
locations, including one in Washington Heights, Manhattan, New
York. Despite its name, U.S. Recovery Bureau is not a
governmental organization.

The School provides graduates of its course with badges
and credentials that give the impression that they were issued by
actual government law enforcement agencies because, among other
reasons, (a) the badge is in the same shape as a New York City
Police Department (“NYPD”) Detective badge; (b) the badge bears a
seal with a bald eagle that is a facsimile of the great seal of
the United States; (c) the badge reads “U.S. Recovery Bureau” and
under the seal is the word “Agent” and a badge serial number; (d)
the badge is in a leather wallet that also holds credentials that
are the same shape and size as federal law enforcement
credentials and identify the graduate as a “Special Agent” of the
“U.S. Recovery Bureau”; (e) the credentials bear an emblem in
the center of the card that is a facsimile of the great seal of
the United States; and (f) the credentials lack any clear
indication that they are not issued by a governmental
organization.

The U.S. Recovery Bureau also sells other materials,
including clothing that says “Fugitive Task Force,” handcuffs,
and batons.

Law enforcement authorities have arrested multiple
graduates of U.S. Recovery Bureau for using the credentials
issued by the School. On some occasions, students have used
their School-issued credentials to try to avoid tickets and other
law enforcement actions. In other cases, students have used the
credentials to try to access secure government buildings. In at
least one case, students have used the School-issued credentials
to impersonate law enforcement officers in order to effectuate
robberies. Of approximately 943 students who received
credentials from U.S. Recovery Bureau, at least 78 were convicted
felons at the time they took the U.S. Recovery Bureau course.
NEVES, 49, is from Staten Island, New York, and RIOS,
49, is from Homestead, Florida. They each face a maximum
sentence of five years in prison. NEVES was presented this
afternoon in Manhattan federal court before United States
Magistrate Judge DEBRA FREEMAN; RIOS was presented in the
Southern District of Florida.

Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative work of the FPS
and the Police Impersonation Unit of the NYPD in this case, and
thanked the United States Marshals Service, the New York Office
of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for
their roles in the arrests.

Assistant United States Attorney WILLIAM J. HARRINGTON
is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely
accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.
08-164 ###

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