A Maryland man is being held in New York on $500,000 bail after being charged with impersonating a diplomat from the Dominican Republic in a fund-raising scam.
Francisco Alberto Gautreaux (GOW'-troh) Calcano pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges including grand larceny. Calcano's lawyer said the 42-year-old had recently been hospitalized after a heart operation.
Manhattan prosecutors say Calcano bolstered his phony philanthropy by posing as a Dominican embassy staffer and even as Ambassador Roberto B. Saladin to solicit donations. Prosecutors say the Frederick, Md., man got more than $15,000 by falsely claiming he was raising money to ship fire trucks and other needed vehicles to the Dominican Republic.
Prosecutors say New York state Sen. Adriano (ah-dree-AH'-noh) Espaillat (ehs-PEYE'-aht) became suspicious and called authorities after Calcano contacted his office.