By Ron Leir
She offered them the dream of a lifetime, only to turn it into a cruel nightmare.
Now she’s doing the time for her crime.
Kearny’s Rosa Blake, also known as Rosa Vareiro, 56, will be spending more than seven years behind bars for bilking immigrants out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by claiming she could guarantee them U.S. citizenship.
Blake, who pleaded guilty on June 28 to a federal indictment charging her with six counts of wire fraud, ten counts of impersonation of a government official and seven counts of money laundering, was sentenced Nov. 15 to 87 months in prison.
Additionally, U.S. District Court Judge William H. Walls, sitting in Newark, ordered Blake to pay $773,800 in restitution.
She was represented by Chatham attorney John C. Whipple.
According to the government and court testimony, between May 2004 and April 2009, Blake falsely told dozens of victims that she worked for federal immigration officials and that she’d provide or expedite approval of their immigration records to help them obtain permanent residency documents (“green cards”) and job authorization papers.
Blake accepted payment for her “services” from her victims at her home where she sometimes wore fake government credentials around her neck. Then she’d have them sign official-looking papers with what appeared to be the letterhead and insignias of U.S. immigration authorities.
Blake never provided her victims with the documents or copies of these documents.
She’d then promise them that in matter of months, they’d get employment authorization documents in the mail, followed by green cards.
Instead, Blake spent the money collected from the victims on designer clothing (including numerous fur coats) and shoes, and a BMW automobile. She also squandered the ill-gotten proceeds at Atlantic City casinos.
When victims tried to contact her to check on the status of their documents, Blake threatened to have them deported. She reminded them that she knew where they lived, who their relatives were, and that they’d never see their children again after they were deported.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Professional Responsibility Investigations East; ICE Homeland Security Investigations, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigations for their work in the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark represented the government in the case.