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Press Release

Bronx Man And Staten Island Man Arrested For Stealing Over $900,000 In Produce And Services

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Bethanne M. Dinkins, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (“USDA-OIG”), and Daniel D. Brownell, the Commissioner of the New York City Business Integrity Commission (“BIC”), announced today the unsealing of a complaint charging ROBERT GUILIANO and RODIN DIAZ with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to steal more than $900,000 from produce growers, shipping services providers, and others.  GUILIANO and DIAZ were arrested this morning and were presented this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Barbara C. Moses in federal court in Manhattan.  

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Robert Guiliano and Rodin Diaz engaged in a long-term fraud, stealing nearly $1 million in sweet potatoes, peppers, and other goods and services from small farms and businesses located across the United States.  Thanks to the hard work of the BIC, NYPD, and USDA, their scheme has come to an end.”  

USDA-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Dinkins said:  “The USDA strives to ensure integrity within the produce industry through its administration of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, which protects businesses dealing in fruits and vegetables by establishing and enforcing a code of fair business practices and helping to resolve disputes.  When presented with evidence of extensive fraud being committed against hardworking produce growers by entities not licensed under PACA, we were glad to assist our investigative partners in identifying and holding accountable those responsible.”

Business Integrity Commission Commissioner Daniel D. Brownell said:  “The defendants’ alleged actions undermine the integrity of New York City’s wholesale markets.  The NYC Business Integrity Commission, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to protect the markets and their participants from those who seek to prey on them through fraudulent schemes such as the one the defendants have been charged with today.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[[1]]

GUILIANO and DIAZ used multiple corporate entities and fictitious names in order to obtain produce and shipping services on credit, for which the defendants did not pay.  To further their scheme, GUILIANO and DIAZ represented that they were independent businessmen operating within the produce industry when, in fact, they were co-conspirators working together to defraud victims of goods and services worth over $900,000. 

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GUILIANO, 40, of the Bronx, New York, and DIAZ, 53, of Staten Island, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

The charges in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Business Integrity Commission, the New York City Police Department, and the United States Department of Agriculture. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Timothy V. Capozzi is in charge of the prosecution.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the texts of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated March 28, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-095