Local authorities are hoping for help in finding two wanted people who allegedly conned at least nine immigrants.

On Monday, an Orange County grand jury charged two people with felonies for defrauding immigrants with false promises of being able to expedite changes to their immigration status in exchange for money.

“We are a nation of immigrants and all of our residents deserve to be free from being victimized by crime,” District Attorney David Hoovler said. “Those who think that they can escape arrest or prosecution in Orange County by preying on undocumented immigrants, who may be reluctant to come forward because of their immigration status, are sadly mistaken.”

Byron Castillo, 36, formerly of Middletown, was charged with five-counts of grand larceny, as a hate crime, scheme to defraud, and five-counts of immigrant assistance services fraud in the first degree.

Castillo allegedly defrauded five immigrants from Ecuador, by promising them that their relatives could get United States visas and providing them with false visa documents and plane tickets.

The indictment accuses Castillo of stealing over $3,000 from the victims and that he selected his victims because of their national origin.

Maria Medina, 67, formerly of Wallkill, was charged with four-counts of grand larceny, scheme to defraud, and four-counts of immigrant assistance services fraud.

It is alleged that Medina defrauded at least four different immigrants from Mexico and Columbia, by making false promises concerning her ability to expedite changes to their legal immigration status by providing them with United States residency cards.

The unrelated cases marks the first time that an Orange County grand jury has charged the felony of immigrant assistance services fraud.

Both are currently wanted by police. Anyone with information concerning Castillo’s current location is urged to call Detective Evan Colon at the City of Middletown Police Department. Anyone with information on Medina’s current location should to call the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, at Troop F Headquarters in Middletown.

Anyone who believes that they have also been defrauded may contact the Orange County District Attorney’s Office at (845) 291-2050.

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