A Rego Park woman admitted to her role in a running a visa fraud scheme out of a purported performing arts organization, prosecutors announced on Monday.
Stella Boyadjian, 48, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bring aliens unlawfully into the United States, visa fraud, and aggravated identity theft. At sentencing, Boyadjian faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, and an additional mandatory consecutive sentence of two years’ imprisonment for aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, Boyadjian operated a nonprofit organization called Big Apple Music Awards Foundation Inc. (BAMA), based in Rego Park. Charges say that between January 2013 and December 2014, Boyadjian and her co-conspirators ran the visa fraud scheme out of the nonprofit to bring in foreign nationals to the United States illegally, soliciting them for fees up to $10,000 and prepared and filed fraudulent P-3 visa applications.
The conspirators would fraudulently claim to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the foreign nationals were members of traditional Armenian performance groups, which would qualify them for P-3 visas as “culturally unique” artists or entertainers.
Boyadjian and the conspirators purchased fraudulent documentation to support the P-3 applications, including fake dance certificates and staged photo sessions where the foreign nationals wore Armenian dance costumes to make it appear as though they were traditional Armenian musicians, singers and performers.
Once they were in the United States, those who fraudulently obtained P-3 visas paid additional fees to the conspirators to obtain extensions of their stays in the country.