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DLCA Officer Convicted Of Sextortion Scam Involving Illegal Alien On St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A DLCA enforcement officer was convicted by a St. Thomas federal jury of blackmailing a woman for sexual favors in exchange for not reporting a Virgin Islands Code violation and other bribery-related charges, authorities said.

Robert Defreitas, 32, an officer with the Virgin Islands Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA), was convicted at trial of travel act bribery and solicitation of a bribe by a public employee, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said. He faces six years in prison and fines based on the convictions.

According to the evidence presented at trial, in August 2018 Defreitas assisted with a DLCA inspection of a St. Thomas business, during which time he discovered that one of the company’s workers had entered the country illegally.

Defrietas attempted to use this information against the victim. The victim later recorded a phone call in which Defreitas sought sexual favors in return for not reporting the victim’s immigration status.

A recording of the phone call was played for the jury during the prosecution’s case-in-chief.

Evidence at trial also showed numerous calls by Defreitas to the victim’s phone number and efforts by Defrietas to disguise the purpose for his phone calls.

Defreitas was remanded to custody following trial,= and the court scheduled his sentencing for April 15, 2020.

A grand jury indictment was filed against the DLCA officer in February.

This case was investigated by the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Brooks

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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