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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 18, 2019

New York Man Who Victimized Immigrants in Kidnapping and Extortion Scheme Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that CARLOS ANTONIO HERNANDEZ, 57, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 96 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a kidnapping and extortion scheme. 

According to court documents and statements made in court, on several occasions, Hernandez and his co-conspirators targeted individuals after they exited buses at the Port Authority in New York.  The victims included women, men and children from Central American countries who did not speak English and were seeking asylum in the U.S.  Some of the victims planned to travel from New York to Connecticut.  After the victims were told that their connecting bus was not available and that they would provide transportation, Hernandez and others coerced the victims into vehicles.  Hernandez and others would then drive the victims around, sometimes for hours, and refused to release them until they or their families agreed to pay the co-conspirators an exorbitant amount of money, on average more than a $1000.

At times, co-conspirators posed as an immigration officer to intimidate the victims further.

Hernandez has been detained since his arrest on December 14, 2016.  On March 9, 2018, a federal jury in Bridgeport found Hernandez and two co-conspirators, Francisco Betancourt and Lucilo Cabrera, guilty of kidnapping, extortion and conspiracy offenses.  On November 14, 2019, Betancourt was sentenced to 168 months of imprisonment.  Cabrera awaits sentencing.

On October 12, 2018, a fourth defendant, Pascual Rodriguez, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping.  On July 2, 2019, he was sentenced to 135 months of imprisonment.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Richards.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Immigration
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated November 18, 2019