DA Vance Announces Indictment in Scam Targeting Immigrant Job Seekers

December 9, 2014

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of JOSE PANCHANA, 37, for stealing thousands of dollars from individuals seeking jobs through the collection of fake employment fees. PANCHANA is charged in New York State Supreme Court with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a felony, and five counts of Petit Larceny.[1] 

“At a time when the President and Mayor are discussing immigration reform, we all need to take a closer look at the ways in which we can help protect immigrants,” said District Attorney Vance. “Jose Panchana is accused of taking advantage of immigrants at places where they felt safe and protected, including at their churches. Time and again, we unfortunately see scam artists preying on immigrant communities, who are especially vulnerable to falling prey to a variety of schemes. I encourage anyone who believes they may have been the victim of this type of fraud to call my Office’s Immigrant Affairs Hotline at 212-335-3600, regardless of immigration status.”

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, PANCHANA orchestrated a scam in which he claimed to be a hiring manager for JetBlue looking to fill numerous positions, often recruiting victims at their church or current workplace. When the victims contacted the defendant, he instructed them to send him money via wire transfers to pay for uniforms, drug testing, and background checks. Once PANCHANA received the money, he disappeared and cut off all communications with the victims. The defendant, who was never employed by JetBlue, generally asked victims to pay him between $150 and $600 apiece.

Assistant District Attorney Mayerling Rivera is handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Archana Rao, Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

JOSE PANCHANA, D.O.B. 2/4/1977
Queens, NY

  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
  • Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, 5 counts