Victims of money-wiring fraud say they were targeted

Police say a Providence man stole tens of thousands of dollars from more than 30 Hispanic families. Jose Francisco Silverio, 51, ran a money wiring service at 1080 Chalkstone Avenue where mainly Hispanics came to send money to family members overseas.

The store closed when the owner was arrested in December, many neighbors say being Hispanic made them a target. "He really seemed like a trustworthy person and I had sent money through this service before," victim Gladis Orellana said. She used Silverio's services to send money to her son in Guatemala to pay for his school. She says she never expected betrayal from within the Hispanic community.

Orellana stood outside District court with other victims Tuesday, demanding their money back. "The community is not going to stand for this kind of injustice or this kind of abuse, people are ready to fight back" Susan Beaty of the Olneyville Neighborhood Association said. "All of the victims were Hispanic, were immigrants, no white people, white citizens were affected by this case" Orellana said.

Silverio faces 21 counts of fraud and theft in excess of 20,000 dollars. Police say he tried to target undocumented immigrants, counting on the fact that going to the police would put them at risk of deportation.

Silverio's arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday morning; it's been pushed to May 1, 2013.