Md. man pleads not guilty to posing as diplomat

AP News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2011 8:24 PM
Md. man pleads not guilty to posing as diplomat

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.