A Maryland man is being held in New York on $500,000 bail after being charged with impersonating a diplomat from the Dominican Republic in a fund-raising scam.

Francisco Alberto Gautreaux Calcano pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges including grand larceny. Calcano’s lawyer said the 42-year-old had recently been hospitalized after a heart operation.

Manhattan prosecutors say Calcano bolstered his phony philanthropy by posing as a Dominican embassy staffer and even as Ambassador Roberto B. Saladin to solicit donations. Prosecutors say Calcano, who is from Frederick, Md., got more than $15,000 by falsely claiming he was raising money to ship fire trucks and other needed vehicles to the Dominican Republic.

Prosecutors say New York state Sen. Adriano Espaillat became suspicious and called authorities after Calcano contacted his office.