CUBAN ARRESTED FOR PREYING ON OTHER HISPANICS;
CURRENTLY ON PROBATION, CHARGED WITH SCHEME TO DEFRAUD
A 40-year-old Cuban man was
arrested and charged with Scheming to Defraud others after he
cheated a number of Clearwater residents out of more than $51,000,
having promised them counterfeit immigration papers and other
exchanges of property and services for money, none of which he
provided, Deputy Chief of Police Dewey Williams announced today.
The suspect, PEDRO ROLANDO
FIGUEROA (06-29-61) of 1817 Driftwood Circle in Oldsmar, was booked
into the Pinellas County Jail on felony charges. The investigation
into his actions continues, and additional charges are possible.
According to Case Agent Detective
Ramon Cosme, Figueroa targeted the Clearwater Mexican community
in his papers-for-money scheme, specifically reaching out to those
who lack the proper paperwork to be in the United States.
"He figured that foreign
nationals who haven't proper documentation would be reluctant
to approach authorities once they realized they had been cheated"
Detective Cosme explained. "He preyed on those most vulnerable,
believing that The System would work in his favor."
Figueroa, Detective Cosme discovered,
is presently on five years probation for a similar scheme for
which he was convicted in Tampa in 2000 (TPD Grand Theft Case
In Clearwater, a number of
victims told Detective Cosme a man known to them only as "Jaime"
had cheated them out of more than $50,000 over a period of about
30 days last year. The money was given to "Jaime" for
documents that were never delivered.
On another occasion in 2000,
"Jaime" agreed to sell a person a pickup truck for $13,000.
Once the money exchanged hands, "Jaime" promised, the
truck and attendant paperwork would be delivered within 10 days.
"Jaime" dropped from sight, and the truck was never
Earlier this month, one of
the victims discovered "Jaime" was back in the area,
again trying to sell counterfeit immigration documents in Clearwater's
burgeoning Mexican community. The victim learned where "Jamie"
was staying, and made contact with Clearwater Police.
Detective Cosme learned the
man's true identity, and found a number of victims who identified
Figueroa as "Jaime." Figueroa was located, interviewed
and was jailed Tuesday. "This is another example of how people
should be particularly wary of conducting commerce in parking
lots, especially if there's no delivery upon payment," Detective
For additional details regarding
this investigation, please contact Public Information Officer
Wayne Shelor at (727) 562-4333.
Deputy Chief of Police - Operations