Ortt and elected officials want scammers who stole thousands to be jailed

Posted 11 February 2023 at 5:16 pm

Provided photo: Niagara County Sheriff Michael J. Filicetti, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Angelo Morinello and Assemblyman Michael Norris.

Press Release, State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

LOCKPORT – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, Assembly Members Angelo Morinello and Mike Norris, and Niagara County Sheriff Michael J. Filicetti today called for changes to the state’s bail laws after two alleged scammers – who are in the country illegally – were released back into the community yesterday, and also reiterated their calls for changes to the disastrous criminal justice “reforms” pushed by Democrats that have led to increased crime in communities.

In this case for example, judges were unable to set bail under the new law. However, since the culprits were in the country illegally, they were held temporarily under a federal detainer.

Last week, the North Tonawanda Police Department received a call from a resident about a potential scammer pretending to be a law enforcement official who was attempting to get her to pay $40,000. Thanks to the quick work of the NT Police Department, they were able to set up surveillance and arrest the scammers, who were charged with a class D felony.

Unfortunately, due to New York’s bail laws, these individuals were only eligible to be given appearance tickets under state law. Thanks to the quick thinking of the presiding judge, a federal detainer was able to be implemented, allowing law enforcement to hold these individuals while federal paperwork was processed. After the processing of the paperwork, the two individuals, who reside outside of Philadelphia, were released on their own recognizance.

“This incident is a perfect example of how our state’s bail laws have failed the residents of New York State,” Ortt said. “The presiding judge being able to hold these individuals on a federal detainer for a short while, but now these two men that are here illegally to begin with, have been released back into the community to potentially do more harm.”

“For quite some time I have been calling for change to bail reform along with other criminal justice reforms in New York State,” Filicetti said. “Law enforcement needs to have a seat at the table and have input when criminal justice reforms are being considered. Thus far, drastic changes have been made without considering the impacts on public safety. The time is now to put our victims first and have serious discussions on reforms that work for all of us.”

The officials also issued a word of caution to help residents from being victimized by potential scammers. They advised the community to never give out personal or financial information over the phone, and to contact the local authorities if they are suspicious that they may be the target of a scam.

“The governor and state legislature must repeal these ‘so-called’ bail reform laws and implement the dangerous standard now so judges and law enforcement are given the tools again to protect our communities,” Norris said.