Inwood Assemblywoman Pleads Guilty to Marriage and Bankruptcy Fraud
INWOOD — Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa resigned from her seat in Albany Friday after pleading guilty to charges of federal marriage and bankruptcy fraud from before she was elected to office.
Rosa admitted to marrying purely for immigration reasons and submitting false documents in order to obtain legal alien status in 1996 during a hearing before Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan district court.
"I married this person and it was not a real marriage," a solemn Rosa said to the judge.
In 2009, Rosa filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and did not report her current husband's income and their joint ownership of a co-op apartment.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, but a plea deal agreed to by Rosa and government prosecutors could limit her sentence to 12 to 18 months. She will also resign from the state Assembly.
Rosa, who born in the Dominican Republic and was elected to the Assembly in 2012, is a former Community Board 12 member who spent a dozen years working as a constituent liaison for Assemblyman Denny Farrell. She replaced Guillermo Linares representing upper Manhattan and Marble Hill.
Appearing outside of the courthouse afterward, Rosa apologized, saying she made mistakes.
"I regret that almost 20 years ago I regularized my immigration status through an improper way," Rosa said. She then took the opportunity to highlight the difficulties that immigrants face in gaining legal status in the country.
"It's very hard for immigrants that come for all over the world," she said. "I'm not the first one, I think certainly I'm not going to be the last one."
Rosa also said that her decision to resign was influenced by personal health and family issues, saying "my family needs my immediate attention."
The judge agreed to release the assemblywoman on $100,000 bail and restricted her travel to the lower New York state.
She will be sentenced on Oct. 3.