New Yorker pleads guilty in NRI burglaries case

Dagoberto Soto-Ramirez, 27, of New York, who was indicted on July 15, by a federal grand jury for conspiracy, now faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced on December 3.

According to court records, from January to November 2009, Soto-Ramirez and at least two others—his wife, Melinda Marie Soto, 34, and Francisco Gray, 40, both from New York—agreed to travel to Northern Virginia to burglarise residences belonging to Indian-Americans, whom they believed kept large amounts of gold in their homes.

In his guilty plea before a Virginia court, Soto-Ramirez admitted that he helped locate names and residences of potential victims, posed as a service man when approaching target residences, and would break into the home if no one answered to search the residence for gold, jewelry, computers, and other property.

Soto-Ramirez admitted in court today that he and his conspirators burglarised 37 residences in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties during 2009, stealing property worth more than USD 500,000.

They then transported that property to New York, where they sold it. Soto pleaded guilty to conspiracy on September 17.

Gray remains a fugitive at large. The Indian-American community of the area has expressed satisfaction over the progress of the court case.

"I was very happy," Raman Kumar, whose house was burglarised and who attended many of the court hearings, told 'The Washington Post'.

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