Registry worker charged with swindling immigrants
Adrianna Ferreira of Brighton had a pretty sweet deal, prosecutors say: She'd take money from immigrants seeking help with Immigration or driver's licenses and when they complained when she did nothing for the money, would either threaten them with deportation or actually turn them into ICE.
Ferreira, 48, a worker at the Watertown RMV, was arraigned today on 27-count indictment after a three-year investigation by the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, State Police and Homeland Security.
A Suffolk Superior Court clerk magistrate agreed with a request by prosecutors to set bail at $50,000 and to require Ferreira to wear a GPS device and give up her passport should she make bail.
According to the DA's office, Ferreira may have swindled some 30 people. Prosecutors say the investigation began in 2009, when the wife of a woman who'd been arrested approached State Police and told them Ferreira had offered to use her contacts at ICE to help her husband, who faced deportation if convicted:
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.
The DA's office cited another case last year:
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 HIS 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.
Prosecutors say Ferreira represented herself as a notario to would-be victims, although she had no legal training. Nor did she have any connections, prosecutors say. When the investigation began, authorities at first though Ferreira really was bribing somebody at ICE, but she was simply talking a good game, they say.