Kearny, new jersey woman sentenced to more than seven years in prison for defrauding dozens of immigrants by posing as a federal official
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2011
Rosa Blake Previously Pleaded Guilty to All 23 Counts of the Federal Indictment
NEWARK, N.J. – A Kearny, N.J., woman who posed as a government official was sentenced today to 87 months in prison for orchestrating a scheme to defraud dozens of immigrants out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by pretending she could help them become United States citizens, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Rosa Blake, a/k/a “Mafalda,” a/k/a ‘Rosa Vareiro,” 56, pleaded guilty on June 28, 2011, to a 23-count superseding Indictment charging her with six counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of impersonation of a government official, and seven counts of money laundering. Blake entered her guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From at least May 2004 to April 2009, Blake targeted dozens of victims who required official government action to obtain permanent legal status in the United States. Blake falsely represented to her victims that she worked for federal immigration authorities and promised to provide or expedite approval of their immigration paperwork, including permanent residency documents, or “green cards,” and employment authorization documents.
Blake would often instruct her victims to meet her at her home, where she would take their identification papers and payment for her “services.” Occasionally, Blake would meet her victims wearing what appeared to be official government credentials around her neck. She would sometimes show them official-looking papers with what appeared to be letterhead and insignias of federal immigration authorities, which she would have them sign. Blake would never permit her victims to retain or make copies of the papers. She would then tell her victims that in a matter of several months, they would receive employment authorization documents in the mail, followed by green cards.
Blake did not take any of the promised actions on behalf of her victims, but kept their money for her personal use. She spent thousands of dollars from her scheme on luxury clothing, including multiple fur coats; designer clothing and shoes; and a BMW. She also gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars at Atlantic City casinos.
When victims realized they had not received any documents from Blake, they would often attempt to contact her to check on the status of their applications. Blake threatened them, saying among other things that she had the power to have the victims deported at any time, even in the middle of the night, and that she was a dangerous person. She also said that she knew her victims’ personal information, where they lived and who their relatives were; and that they would never see their children again once they were deported. She told victims that because they were illegal immigrants, they could not stop Blake from having them deported, nor report her to any other government authority.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Walls sentenced Blake to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay $773,800 in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Professional Responsibility, Northeast, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola; ICE Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees; and IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: John C. Whipple Esq, Chatham, N.J.