NY Lawmaker Is Illegal Immigrant, Pleads Guilty

NEW YORK (AP) -

A state lawmaker pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges in a deal that requires her to resign from office, admitting that she obtained legal residency and ultimately citizenship through a sham marriage and then lied to bankruptcy authorities to erase $30,000 of debt.

Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, 47, told U.S. District Judge Denise Cote that she “falsely got married” to a U.S. citizen and referred to it as a real marriage when she became a citizen in 2005.

The Democrat, who was elected in 2012 to represent Upper Manhattan, also pleaded guilty to making false statements in a bankruptcy petition in 2009 by hiding assets including her second husband’s earnings and an apartment the couple owned.

Although the two false statements charges carry a combined potential penalty of 10 years in prison, Rosa agreed not to contest any sentence between a year and 18 months. She will be sentenced on Oct. 3.

According to Rosa’s legislative biography, she was born in Santo Domingo, came to New York in 1994 and worked in the Dominican consulate in 1998. The biography says that “In 2005, Gabriela became a proud United States Citizen, allowing her to deepen her involvement in government and civics by running for office.”

The case is the latest in a series involving criminal allegations that have dogged dozens of state lawmakers in recent years. Several legislators have been convicted of corruption-related offenses including embezzlement, bribery or tax evasion.

Outside court, Rosa announced she was stepping down from her office. The deal also required her not to again run for elected office for any position that requires citizenship.