Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today that an Upper West Side woman, ADELA HOLZER, has been indicted for stealing more than $50,000 in an immigration scam. HOLZER claimed to have influential friends in Congress who would pass private immigration relief bills for her so that immigrants could receive permanent residence.
The indictment stems from complaints made to the New York City Police Department, the District Attorney’s Community Affairs Unit and the Special Prosecutions Bureau about HOLZER taking money from immigrants without producing any results. Between October 1995 and April 25, 2001, HOLZER, using the name ADELA ROSIAN, offered to use her connections in Congress to get private bills passed on behalf of twenty people named in the indictment. They were told that for fees of $2000 to $2700, plus processing, the Congress of the United States would pass bills granting them permanent residence in the United States. The investigation is continuing as to other victims.
Mr. Morgenthau said, “Private immigration relief bills can be proposed by members of the Congress to provide specific relief for extraordinary problems. In the last six years, only 29 were enacted. HOLZER had promised far more than 29 to her victims who have been identified. We have established a hotline for people who have been victimized to call: 212 335-8980.”
The investigation revealed that the victims received receipts for their fees and were warned that the procedure would take between two months and a year. Some were asked to produce medical reports, photographs and other personal information. Many were told that they would be travelling to Washington, DC to meet the Member of Congress who had sponsored their private bill. Some were charged for tickets for their trip and given instructions on how to dress for the occasion. None of the victims ever received anything for their money and are now pursuing changes in their immigration status through other channels.
HOLZER was charged with two counts of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, four counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and fifteen counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree. She will be arraigned today in New York State Supreme Court.
Mr. Morgenthau would like to thank: Det. Rafael Nieves, Lt. Gerold Frank and Sgt. Kevin Rosengrant of the 26th Precinct; Det. Sandra Rubino of the Special Victims Squad; P.O. Nicholas Biancoviso of NYPD/HIDTA; and Freddy Sanchez Leon, Defensoria Del Pueblo Del Equador .
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tracy Cole who is assigned to the District Attorney’s Major Offense Career Criminal Program, under the supervision of Allen J. Frazer, Bureau Chief and Connie Fernandez, Deputy Bureau Chief. Deputy Chief Investigator Thomas Jackson of the District Attorney’s Investigation Unit under the supervision of Chief Investigator Joe Pennisi participated in the investigation.
Grand Larceny in the Third Degree is a D Felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree are E Felonies punishable by up to four years in prison.