Officials are hoping for help as they search for a Hudson Valley man who allegedly scammed at least five immigrants.

In June, 36-year-old Byron Castillo, 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.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Castillo defrauded five recent immigrants from Ecuador by promising them that their relatives could get United States visas and providing them with false visa documents and plane tickets.

Castillo is also accused of stealing over $3,000 from the victims and targeted the victims because they are from Ecuador.

"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,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said. “We are a nation of immigrants and all of our residents deserve to be free from being victimized by crime.”

Anyone with information about Castillo’s current location is urged to call Detective Evan Colon at the City of Middletown Police Department or the Orange County District Attorney’s Office at (845) 291-2050.

When grand larceny charges are designated as hate crimes the suspect's punishment is increased, officials say.

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