Local May 29, 2014 | 7:20 am

U.S. charges 21 Dominicans in US$3.5M extortion scheme

New York.- 21 Dominicans were charged in absentia for conspiring to pose as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other federal agents for extortion and fraud of US$3.5 million in New York, 17 of which await extradition from their country to face the charges, while four are on the run, Efe reports.

In a statement, the Manhattan Office of the District Attorney on Wednesday said the 17 Dominicans were arrested in their country two weeks ago at the U.S. Government’s request.

It said the accused had a scheme to extort money from people in the U.S. by demanding money posing as federal agents. The victims of were people who bought drugs through calls to centers in the Dominican Republic.

The now defendants bought or obtained the list of names and contacts of the people they would call claiming they were being investigated for buying controlled drugs and that the only way to avoid an arrest or jail was to pay a fine or other penalty, said the statement.

The list of buyers, in addition to their names also had their address, credit card number and other information to carry out the extortion, demanding as much as US$3.5 million from the victims, and managed to collect at least 880,000 dollars.

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