Rego Park Non-Profit Chief Pleads Guilty To Visa Fraud Scheme

Federal court for the Eastern District of New York.  Eagle  file photo by Rob Abruzzese.

Federal court for the Eastern District of New York. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese.

By Jonathan Sperling

Show’s over.

A Rego Park woman who conspired to bring foreign nationals unlawfully into the country under the guise of an entertainment visa plead guilty in federal court, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said Monday.

Stella Boyadjian, 48, who headed the Rego Park-based non-profit Big Apple Music Awards Foundation Inc. (BAMA) also pled guilty to visa fraud and aggravated identity theft after prosecutors accused her of fraudulently claiming to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that a group of Armenian immigrants were members of traditional Armenian performance groups.

Between January 2013 and December 2014, Boyadjian and a group of co-conspirators used the false claims as reasoning for the immigrants to qualify for P-3 visas, which are issued to “culturally unique” artists or entertainers.

In exchange for fees up to $10,000, Boyadjian and her co-conspirators prepared and filed the fraudulent P-3 visa applications. They also purchased fraudulent documents to support the applications, such as fake dance certificates.

The defendants went as far as to stage photo sessions where the immigrants wore Armenian dance costumes to make it appear as though they were traditional Armenian musicians, singers and performers.

Once they made it into the United States, some recipients of the P-3 visas paid additional money to Boyadjian and her conspirators in order to obtain extensions of their stays in the country.

At her sentencing, Boyadjian faces a maximum of 10 years’ in prison for the visa

Fraud charge, as well as an additional mandatory consecutive sentence of two years’ imprisonment for aggravated identity theft, according to prosecutors.