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Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that former New York State Assemblywoman GABRIELA ROSA was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to a year and a day in prison, after having pled guilty to two federal felony charges arising out of her efforts to obtain United States citizenship through fraud and fraudulently concealing assets and income from a federal bankruptcy court. ROSA was sentenced today before United States District Judge Denise L. Cote. ROSA previously pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office that required, among other things, that ROSA resign from the Assembly upon entry of her plea.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Gabriela Rosa only became eligible to run for the New York State Assembly as a result of a years-long immigration fraud. She also defrauded a federal bankruptcy court and her creditors for her own financial gain. Now yet another state elected official will have to answer for her crimes with time in a federal prison.”
According to the Information, prior court filings, and statements made in Court:
The Marriage and Naturalization Fraud Scheme
The New York State Constitution states that only United States citizens may serve as members of the New York State Legislature. In November 2012, ROSA was elected to the New York State Legislature as an Assemblywoman for Assembly District 72 in Manhattan.
ROSA is a citizen of the Dominican Republic and had no citizenship status in the United States until 2005. In December 2005, ROSA was naturalized as a United States citizen as a result of a scheme to obtain legal residency and ultimately citizenship through a sham marriage. ROSA paid a United States citizen (“Spouse-1”) approximately $8,000 to enter into a sham marriage with her while she maintained a relationship with another individual who had been convicted of federal narcotics trafficking charges, and who later became her husband (“Spouse-2”). In numerous submissions and statements to immigration authorities made under penalty of perjury between 1996 and 2005, ROSA falsely represented to immigration authorities that she had entered into a bona fide marriage with Spouse-1, and that she had never given false or misleading information to a U.S. immigration official while applying for immigration benefits.
The Bankruptcy Fraud Scheme
In September 2009 ROSA filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy, under Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (the “Petition”). Through the Petition, ROSA sought to liquidate over $30,000 in debt that she had accumulated on, among other things, credit card charges and personal loans. In the Petition, which ROSA signed under penalty of perjury, and in subsequent documents submitted in support of the Petition, which were also signed under penalty of perjury, ROSA knowingly and willfully made several false declarations and statements. Among other things, ROSA fraudulently omitted her ownership of a cooperative apartment in Manhattan (the “Apartment”) from the Petition, which required her to list all real or personal property in which she had any ownership interest. ROSA, who worked at the time as a legislative assistant in the New York State Legislature, also failed to list outside income she earned as a political consultant, income earned by Spouse-2 in the Petition and supporting documents, and $25,000 in cash that she had deposited into her bank account months before filing the Petition.
In addition to the prison term of a year and a day, Judge Cote sentenced ROSA to three years’ supervised release, and ordered her to forfeit the proceeds of her bankruptcy fraud and repay creditors whom she defrauded.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Criminal Investigators of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Howard S. Master and Jason Masimore are in charge of the investigation.