Priests Charged with Fleecing Immigrants in Green Card Scam

New York Times:


Word of the deal spread swiftly among Ecuadorean immigrants, along a robust grapevine from New York City out to Long Island and into Westchester County. In Peekskill, N.Y., a gas station worker named Henry León heard about it through a friend of his wife’s: The pastors of a storefront Pentecostal church in Corona, Queens, had the inside track on a special allotment of green cards the government had earmarked for church congregations.

Mr. León and his wife made the two-hour trip by train and subway to Corona to meet with one of the two pastors, Gregorio Gonzalez. He told them that all they had to do was to fill out a form and provide $8,000 each in cash and some personal identification documents, Mr. León recalled. The green cards would be ready in a month.

It seemed too good to be true. And it was, according to prosecutors in the Queens district attorney’s office.

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