BOSTON, Nov. 16, 2012—A Brighton woman used her knowledge of the American legal system and position at the Registry of Motor Vehicles to scam illegal immigrants out of thousands of dollars, then threatened to have them deported when they demanded their money back, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said today.
ADRIANA FERREIRA (D.O.B. 6/28/64) of Brighton was arraigned today on a 27-count indictment charging five counts of larceny by false pretense, four counts of attempted larceny by false pretense, four counts of conspiracy to falsely make or obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license, and 14 counts of bribery under two separate statutes. The indictments, returned on Nov. 13, are the result of a long-term investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations agents, Massachusetts State Police, and Suffolk County fraud prosecutors.
Assistant District Attorney Michele Granda of Conley’s Special Prosecutions Unit recommended that Ferreira be held on $50,000 cash bail and, if she posts that amount, that she surrender her passport, remain within Massachusetts, have no contact with victims or witnesses in the case, and wear a GPS monitoring device during the pendency of the case. Suffolk Superior Court Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson imposed all of those requests.
Granda told the court that Ferreira was indicted for offenses related to five victims between 2009 and 2012, but that she admitted to investigators after her arrest this morning that she had swindled as many as 30 individuals.
“There’s no room for this type of corruption at any level of government,” Conley said. “This is a case of greed and exploitation that we will pursue aggressively. I’d like to thank State Police and Homeland Security Investigations for their careful work as we built this case over an extended period of time.”
Ferreira allegedly held herself out as a “notario,” a Spanish-language term for certain trained legal advisors, but was neither a lawyer nor a notary public. She allegedly used her knowledge of the American legal system to obtain bribes, ostensibly to delay or end deportation proceedings or obtain Massachusetts drivers’ licenses for her victims. She never actually provided those services, however.
In July 2009, Ferreira was approached by a woman whose husband was arrested and held on an immigration detainer. Ferreira allegedly represented that she could get the man out of jail by paying off an immigration official. When the victim became suspicious, she went to Massachusetts State Police and agreed to wear a wire to record their meetings surreptitiously. Over time, she paid $4,100 – including $2,000 provided by Conley’s office – in meetings that were recorded by the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit. Troopers also conducted surveillance of Ferreira herself, who never met with any official or anyone else. Eventually, the woman’s husband accepted voluntary departure from the US in December 2009.
In February 2011, Ferreira allegedly promised to bribe an immigrations official to stall or end deportation proceedings against another victim and obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license for him. She ultimately took $1,180 from that man and an additional $800 that HSI agents provided to him when he, too, became frustrated with the increasing demands for money. He also wore a wire and recorded their meetings. When he contacted her in October 2011 to demand his money back, Ferreira allegedly turned him in to immigrations officials for deportation.
Ferreira allegedly executed similar schemes against three other victims between June 2011 and earlier this year. In each, she accepted cash payments ranging from $500 to $1100 to deliver driver’s licenses and immigrations services but delivered neither. When those victims demanded what they’d paid for or their money back, Ferreira allegedly threatened them or ignored them.
Ferreira was represented today by attorney Craig Collins. She will return to court on Dec. 6.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.