More than 55 people were victimized by what authorities describe as an elaborate telephone extortion scheme that operated from Syracuse in Cortland and several other counties.
New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood identifies the ringleaders as Giovani Ayala-Rodriguez, a.k.a. “George Peters,” 27, of Puerto Rico, and co-conspirators Eligio Jimenez-Correa, 40, of Syracuse, and Orlando Gonzalez-Rivera, 26, of Syracuse.
The indictment, unsealed in Onondaga County Court, charges the defendants with multiple counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a Class “C” felony), attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a Class “D” felony), Coercion in the First Degree (a Class “D” felony), and Conspiracy in Fourth Degree (a Class “E” felony).
The investigation identified victims not only in Onondaga County, but also in Kings, Nassau, Oneida, Madison, Oswego, Cayuga, Niagara, Cortland, and Genesee Counties.
This case was the result of a joint investigation by the New York State Police (“NYSP”) and the New York State Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau.
After multiple complaints from victims who received telephone calls from an individual claiming to have kidnapped or otherwise detained their family members, the NYSP and the Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation into an ongoing larceny by extortion scheme occurring in Onondaga County and elsewhere in New York State; in March 2018, the agencies issued a consumer alert warning New Yorkers of this scheme.