States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|May 25, 2010||
NORWALK RESIDENT WHO PARTICIPATED IN IMMIGRATION ASSISTANCE SCHEME SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that KATARZYNA MIECZNIKOWSKA, also known as “Kasha,” 35, a citizen of Poland residing in Norwalk, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to four months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in a scheme to defraud individuals seeking immigration assistance. Judge Chatigny also ordered MIECZNIKOWSKA to serve the first six months of her supervised release in home confinement with electronic monitoring, and to pay restitution in the amount of $6000.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately March 2004 to September 2005, MIECZNIKOWSKA worked for The Spartan Group, which purported to be an immigration services company that was paid by individuals who were not legally in the country in exchange for making applications on their behalf in order to obtain immigration benefits. The Company’s owner and president was Jose Santos, and MIECZNIKOWSKA held herself out to be the vice president of the Company’s Stamford office. The Company had offices in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Connecticut.
As part of the conspiracy, The Spartan Group would assist individuals in filling out and filing fraudulent I-140 applications (“Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker”), in which an alien is sponsored by a business to work in the United States. The applications contained the names of businesses in the United States that had no connection with the individual seeking the employment visa. The applications, which contained materially false information provided by the Company, were then mailed to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.
MIECZNIKOWSKA met with individuals who came to the Company’s Stamford Office, would explain the immigration process to them and discuss the fees the Company charged for their services, which were generally between $18,000 and $21,000. On occasion, MIECZNIKOWSKA provided individuals with mostly blank applications and asked them to sign the applications. On many occasions, individuals would pay by check made out to cash or the Company, and MIECZNIKOWSKA would, in turn, deposit this money into her personal bank account.
On December 16, 2009, MIECZNIKOWSKA pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
On October 15, 2006, a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport returned a 12-count Superseding Indictment charging Joseph Santos, also known as Jose Santos and Joe Santos, with various offenses related to this scheme, which is alleged to have defrauded hundreds of illegal aliens of several million dollars.
Santos, a citizen of Portugal who came to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident in 1971, is a fugitive from justice.
As to Santos, U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the Norwalk Police Department. The Attorney General’s Offices in Connecticut and New York, and Attorney Michael DiRaimondo have provided valuable assistance to the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna R. Patel.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods