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Trial For Immigrants Scam Artist Begins

From Hoy
May 17, 2002

By Mauricio Ojeda

The trial for Adela Holzer, a Spanish citizen accused of committing fraud against several immigrants, began yesterday. The immigrants accuse Holzer of promising to expedite residency and citizenship paperwork with the help of a supposed senator in Washington.

More than 20 people, the majority Latinos, paid Holzer to obtain legitimate legal residence and citizenship status. Holzer charged up to $3,000 which she claimed was to cover the expenses for the paperwork. On a few occasions, she had even asked for additional funds to cover travel expenses to visit with her supposed friend in Washington. "She always said that this was the senator who was going to grant us residency", said Pascual Diez, a victim who paid the Spaniard for more than $5,000 to obtain resident status for his family.

Izabela Dechnik, a Polish cleaning woman, gave Holzer $2,600, so too did her boyfriend and three other acquaintances. Years later, she would gain residency through her boyfriend's company, with a fast track process and a penalty for having remained illegally in the country which did not go beyond $1,000.

Holzer is accused of first degree fraud, third degree theft, criminal possession of forged documents, and charges for transferring the stolen money via Western Union to accounts in Spain.

The 73-year-old woman, has a previous criminal record for cheating theatre producers out of $4 million. She served her sentence and was released in 1993. Holzer, accused of stealing more than $50,000 from the immigrants, plead not guilty in a Manhattan court yesterday.

Translated from Spanish by Armando Reyes

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