A previously convicted felon is back behind bars, accused of scamming inmates and their families out of thousands of dollars. Officials with the Department of Consumer Protection say they’ve identified more than two dozen victims over the years, and, they believe many more exist.
The agency says the complaints started back in 2011.
Myrna Capasso-Rubio of Hartford tells Troubleshooter Jill Konopka, “He didn't have no heart." Capasso-Rubio says her family is one of dozens victimized by Christopher Shuckra.
Capasso-Rubio stated, “He made me lose all my hope. Everything I had. It was my last hope. So my son could come home and be with us."
Capasso-Rubio told the Troubleshooters she paid Innovative Sentencing Solutions $1,000.00 in 2011, in exchange for a promise to get her son out of prison.
Shuckra, according to state officials sent an employee to close the deal.
Verbally guaranteeing her son's release within 60 days, or her money back!
"They promised they were going to take him out, and they were going to try and lower his sentence, and I believed,” added Capasso-Rubio
Myrna's story, officials say is almost identical to at least two dozen other cases uncovered by the Department of Consumer Protection.
DCP ordered Shuckra to shut down his business in 2013. They also went after him on the civil side, to re-pay his victims. So far, those funds have not been returned.
Nicole Ayala is a staff attorney at the Department of Consumer Protection, "And what makes this case so bad, so harmful is the people being defrauded out of money is the wives, the girlfriends, the brothers, uncles, aunts, people who are really using what little money they had."
In late November, Shuckra was charged criminally. Police say it took a while to track him down, but finally arrested Shuckra after he was spotted at a post office a few weeks ago.
Shuckra is charged with one count of larceny and one count of racketeering. He has pleaded not guilty. The court documents state there are at least 16 victims.
Court papers also indicate in one case, Shuckra scammed an inmate's wife who was looking for a reduced prison sentence for her husband, before the Board of Pardons and Parole.
Ayala added, “Anytime someone says to you, ‘Oh, I know the decision maker; I have a personal relationship with them. I have some influence or sway that should be an immediate red flag.’”
Shuckra, according to the warrant guaranteed results or a full refund.
“Which I think goes to him praying on particular types of individuals. Looking for people who maybe don't have a lot of money at their disposal, but a money back guarantee kind of makes it seem like a risk free opportunity, “ Ayala added.
Capasso-Rubio reminded, “I kind of don't pay my bills, and what I did was pay her first, because I was really worried about my son, especially when he was in jail.”
DCP says it also received complaints from people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Michigan and Texas.
“The money went directly to him," Ayala added.
One of Shuckra's former employees had a hunch his ex-boss was doing bad business. After three weeks on the job, he reported Shuckra to state officials...
“Here I am thinking I'm working for a legitimate company that's helping people get out of prison, and come home to their families, and taking funds for them and nothing is being done and no work is being performed at all, it was really heartbreaking."
Konopka asked Ayala, "Will any of these people ever get their money back?" Ayala responded, “It's a great question; unfortunately I don't know they will. “
We asked the Chief State's Attorney’s office if any of Shuckra's employees could face charges, including the one Myrna Capasso-Rubio says was sent to get her money. They would only tell the Troubleshooters say their investigation continues.