Korean speaker charging immigrants for language interpreting arrested
Hospitals in the United States are mandated to provide interpretation services free of charge to non-English speaking patients
According to the New York Daily News, a Korean-speaking man was busted at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens after he was caught trying to fleece non-English speaking immigrants.
The swindler had been seen on several occasions offering to translate between hospital staff and Korean speakers for a fee of $240, said hospital spokesman Dario Centorcelli.
Hospitals are mandated to provide interpreter service at no cost and freely advertise that fact, Centorcelli emphasized.
"Apparently, this had been going on for a while. Somebody charged $240 for a service that we would provide for free," he said. "You could see it happening to any immigrant."
Centorcelli noted that the public hospital spends $800,000 a year on language translation services, which it provides in 130 different languages.
Sadly, immigrants who have spent a few years in America do sometimes target their own, according to Antonio Meloni, Executive Director of Immigration Advocacy Services in Astoria.
"Each time you see fraud being committed against an immigrant, it is usually someone from their own ethnic group," he said. "People try to take advantage of their own countrymen. We see that a lot."
Elmhurst Hospital Center (NYC), Photo: www.nydailynews.com