Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement New York Special Agent-in-Charge, James T. Hayes Jr., on Thursday announced that a Brooklyn woman who allegedly promised green cards and work permits to undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants has been charged with stealing about US$12,850 from them.
Thompson and Hayes also said that Nickya Wittington, also known as Nicky John, 27, of 280 Grafton St., Brownsville, Brooklyn, falsely promised to help an undercover detective obtain the same documents.
“This defendant is accused of preying on some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” Thompson said. “I created an Immigrant Fraud Unit – which is prosecuting this case – to stop such opportunists from targeting undocumented individuals.”
Hayes said: “This defendant’s alleged actions served not only to victimize immigrants attempting to comply with federal laws, they also threatened to undermine confidence in the federal government.”
Thompson said Wittington has been arraigned by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which she is charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, third-degree grand larceny, third-degree attempted grand larceny, fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny.
She was ordered held on US$5,000 bail and to return to court on Feb 4, 2015. If convicted of the top count, she faces up to seven years in prison, Thompson said.
He said that, according to the indictment, from June 10, 2014 to Dec. 9, 2014, Wittington falsely claimed she could obtain green cards and work permits for the alleged victims in exchange for about US$7,000 to US$10,000, and allegedly took down payments ranging from US$1,000 to US$6,000 cash to get the process started.
The victims – who were originally from Ghana, Liberia, Guyana and Jamaica – met the defendant through mutual acquaintances, Thompson said.
He said that about a month after the victims made the down payments, “they repeatedly tried and failed to reach the defendant and ultimately contacted the District Attorney’s Action Center, which took their complaints and put them in touch with the District Attorney’s Immigrant Fraud Unit.”
The defendant was charged after allegedly taking US$3,250 from an undercover detective posing as an undocumented immigrant in exchange for a green card.
Thompson said Whittington allegedly never filed any paperwork with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or any agency for the victims.