YONKERS, NY — March 28, 2019 — Mayor Mike Spano and Police Commissioner Charles Gardner this afternoon announced the felony arrest of Juan CEDILLO at a press conference held at Saint Peter’s Church on Riverdale Avenue. CEDILLO is accused of defrauding multiple Yonkers undocumented immigrant Hispanic families with the false promise of immigration status legalization in exchange for money. To date, we have identified over 40 Yonkers families that have paid over $300,000 to CEDILLO.
CEDILLO, a 63-year-old resident of Washington State, was the vice-president of United States Counter Insurgents Association of Justice, Inc., a dissolved Washington State corporation. Investigation has yielded that as early as November 2013, CEDILLO had established contact with undocumented immigrant Hispanic families in Yonkers and offered immigration services to them in exchange for money. Specifically, it is alleged that CEDILLO represented himself as an operator with connections to various Federal agencies and that he had the ability to successfully advocate on his clients behalf to obtain a U-Visa and legal status through his company. CEDILLO required interested participates to join his organization for the amount of $5,000, and then for an additional $3,000 he would process their application. In reality, CEDILLO would simply submit a U-Visa application – which is available online – with false and incomplete information and submit to the Federal government for standard processing. CEDILLO falsely indicated that the applicant(s) were a victim of crime (a requirement for a successful U-Visa application), and he failed to include necessary supporting documents. None of CEDILLO’s U-Visa applications for Yonkers families have been approved or led to a change of immigration status.
CEDILLO’s application process often spanned the course of years, with multiple victims sending money to CEDILLO multiple times. CEDILLO met with Yonkers families in their homes, local hotels, and even community rooms, traveling back and forth between Washington and New York. As families became suspicious of CEDILLO, they contacted local community based organizations who notified local law enforcement. Working together, City officials and these groups have identified multiple families who have been victimized by CEDILLO, and the investigation is continuing.
“Yonkers stands strong in supporting our most vulnerable communities,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “This individual preyed on our residents, selling them hope and promise for a better life, and instead delivered deceit and disappointment. Thank you to the Yonkers Police Department for their diligent work and for continually serving and protecting all our residents and the lives they establish here.”
Police Commissioner Charles Gardner stated, “The Yonkers Police Department is committed to protecting all our residents. Our strong relationship with all our community members benefits both law enforcement and the people of Yonkers, creating that essential cooperation necessary to make sure that those who would target our residents are arrested and delivered into the Criminal Justice System.”
CEDILLO was arrested on February 25th, 2019, and charged with one count of Grand Larceny 3’, a Class D Felony in the New York State Penal Law. The case is being prosecuted by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. Charges may be added and or upgraded as the investigation continues. CEDILLO is currently in-custody at the Westchester County Jail; his next court date is scheduled for April 1st, 2019. CEDILLO’s criminal history includes numerous arrests for check fraud dating back to the 1970’s.
The Yonkers Police Department is working closely with our State and Federal law enforcement partners to identify additional victims who may have been defrauded by CEDILLO and his organization. Any individuals or families who have been affected by this scam are encouraged to contact the Yonkers Police Intelligence Unit at (914) 377-7340. The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office maintains an Office of Immigrant Affairs that assists with the U-Visa process – they may be contacted at (914) 995-1616.
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NOTE: Booking charges are merely accusations and the defendant(s) are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
SOURCE: Yonkers Police Department Det. Sgt. Dean Politopoulos