QUEENS WOMAN SENTENCED IN MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT TO 121 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING IMMIGRANTS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday January 27, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CLOVER A. PEREZ was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 121 months in prison for defrauding clients of thousands of dollars by filing false immigration benefit applications and for using clients’ names to obtain lines of credit that she then used for her own expenses. PEREZ was convicted after a one-week jury trial. U.S. District Judge Marvin E. Aspen presided over the trial and imposed today’s sentence.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Clover Perez was a beacon of hope for her immigrant clients who believed she could help them secure legal status in the United States. But instead, she exploited their vulnerability for her own personal gain. She will now be punished for her crimes.”
According to the trial evidence and other documents filed in the case:
From April 2005 through November 2008, PEREZ, who operated Reliable Clerical Services, Inc., d/b/a Reliable Immigration Services, in Queens, swindled immigrants out of thousands of dollars by claiming that she could get them green cards and other immigration benefits, when she knew she could not.
Perez’s legal conduct included charging phony fees that were not actually required by immigration authorities, and continuing to take money from clients long after their applications had been rejected. She also submitted multiple applications under the L.U.L.A.C. program, a limited immigration amnesty and legalization program that allowed certain illegal immigrants to apply for legal residence. Despite knowing that her clients had entered the U.S. after January 1, 1982 – too late to be eligible for the L.U.L.A.C. amnesty program – she nevertheless told clients she could get them green cards. She then prepared and submitted applications to United States Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") that contained false statements about her clients’ entry dates, and charged the clients thousands of dollars per application. Perez made more than $500,000 in illicit proceeds from these schemes.
In addition, in 2006, PEREZ used a client’s personal identifying information to obtain a fraudulent credit card account in that client’s name. She then used that account to make multiple purchases of luxury items, including plane tickets for herself and members of her family.
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In addition to the prison term, Judge Aspen sentenced PEREZ, 45, of Elmont, New York, to five years of supervised release. PEREZ was also ordered to forfeit more than $500,000 and make full restitution to the victims of her crimes.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative efforts of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the New York City Field Office of the USCIS Office of Fraud Detection & National Security.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Niketh Velamoor and James J. Pastore, Jr.