Investigations

The return of the Green Card Scammer

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Eyewitness News Investigation has revealed the sale of phony government identification cards to immigrants for thousands of dollars. The scammer has been in trouble for doing the same thing before.

The exact same thing.

We've learned she scammed a number of immigrants previously in Queens and the Bronx, ripping people off for tens of thousands of dollars. She spent two years in jail on federal fraud charges and is now on probation, and, we caught her red-handed, doing it again.

Wallace: "You're selling them and you know they're illegal? You got into trouble doing this before."
Parbattie Maraj: "Yep."

We caught up with Parbattie Maraj outside of her Richmond Hill, Queens home after she'd ducked us for weeks.

Wallace: "I think you should come out and talk to me."

Miraj, currently on probation on federal fraud charges, is apparently back to her old tricks. She sold these very real looking fake government ID's, including a green card, and a social security card, to this illegal immigrant for $18,000 cash.

Victim: "I was told she was an immigration lawyer."
Wallace: "An immigration lawyer?"
Victim: "Yeah."

The victim is married to a U.S. citizen and they have a daughter who was born here, but he was told the process for him to get legal status could take more than a year. Miraj offered to speed it up.

Victim: "She told me it was gonna be fast and I'm gonna get everything in 3 weeks, 2 weeks."
Wallace:"And it would be legitimate."
Victim: "Yeah."
Wallace: "You weren't trying to do something illegal?"
Victim: "No."

She delivered the ID cards, even took him to Federal Plaza for what she claimed was a citizenship appointment. He used his new green card-to get thru security. It turns out, there was no appointment.

"I ask her, 'Can I work with this? Is this good?' She said yes, everything is good. You could go to work," the victim said.

He finally found out the truth when he went to open a bank account.

Wallace: "They were both fake?"
Victim: "Yeah."
Wallace: "Both fake."

Both fake, but very good. Only a trained observer might notice the difference. The real one says United States of America, Dept. of Homeland Security. The fake green card says, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization service.

Wallace: "And then she promised to pay you back?"
Victim: "She promised to pay me back."

But then Miraj disappeared and started stalling, paying back a little, and then bouncing checks or stopping payment on them.

He says she had days of excuses for him, and then for us when we finally got her on the phone.

Finally, she agreed to meet and tell me where she was getting the phony ID's.

"I got locked up for two years. I suffered a great deal," Miraj said.

She claimed she did it as part of a sting to set up the person behind the scheme, but bolted when we tried to get more details.

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