Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of JENETTA FERGUSON, 59, a teacher of English as a Second Language, for stealing more than $40,000 from student visa holders by falsely promising to provide them with Green Cards in exchange for cash payments. The defendant pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to Grand Larceny in the Third and Fourth Degrees and is expected to be sentenced on March 7, 2017.
“All New Yorkers—regardless of national origin or immigration status—deserve protection from those who prey upon their unfamiliarity with a new language and a complex legal system,” said District Attorney Vance. “In this case, the defendant took advantage of her position as a teacher of English as a Second Language to mislead her foreign students into believing that she could provide them with Green Cards—for a fee. If you believe you may have been the victim of a similar crime, please call my Office’s Immigrant Affairs Hotline at 212-335-3600.”
As admitted in the defendant’s guilty plea, between March and September 2014, FERGUSON approached several students at a school in Manhattan where she taught English as a Second Language and falsely informed them that she would provide them with United States lawful permanent resident identification cards, known as “Green Cards,” in exchange for cash payments of $8,500 to $10,500 per person. FERGUSON never supplied the promised documents, and no applications for Green Cards were ever filed on behalf of her victims.
In total, the defendant stole approximately $42,000 from at least six victims who were staying in the U.S. on student visas and had come originally from Italy, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. In some instances, FERGUSON discouraged her victims from renewing their student visas, leaving many without adequate documentation once their visas expired.
Assistant District Attorney Aaron Ginandes handled the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Lanita Hobbs, Chief of Trial Bureau 80, and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division.
District Attorney Vance also thanked the NYPD Manhattan South Grand Larceny Squad, and in particular, Detective Brian Little, as well as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate for their assistance with the investigation.
JENETTA FERGUSON, D.O.B. 4/2/1957
- Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 4 counts
- Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 2 counts