New York Woman Sentenced to Over Two Years in Prison for Orchestrating Extensive Visa Fraud and Immigrant Smuggling Scheme from Armenia

New York Woman Sentenced to Prison for Orchestrating Visa Fraud and Immigrant Smuggling Conspiracy

A New York woman, Stella Boyadjian, aged 53, from Rego Park, has been sentenced to two years and one month in prison for her pivotal role in a complex multi-year visa fraud, identity theft, and immigrant smuggling conspiracy.

The elaborate scheme focused on unlawfully bringing Armenian citizens into the United States under the guise of performance groups, exploiting the P-3 “Culturally Unique Artist” visa classification.

Elaborate Visa Fraud Scheme: Exploiting P-3 “Culturally Unique Artist” Visas

Stella Boyadjian led a transnational network involved in a widespread visa fraud operation targeting the P-3 nonimmigrant visa classification.

The scheme aimed to bring Armenian citizens into the United States by falsely claiming their affiliation with performance groups, making them eligible for P-3 visas.

This visa category allows foreign nationals to temporarily travel to the US for cultural and artistic performances.

Non-Profit Organization Used as a Facade: Big Apple Music Awards (BAMA) Foundation’s Role

To perpetuate the fraudulent operation, Boyadjian utilized the Big Apple Music Awards (BAMA) Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Rego Park.

Leveraging both formal and informal contacts in the music industry spanning the United States and Armenia, Boyadjian and her associates solicited Armenians seeking entry to the US, charging them substantial fees ranging from $3,000 to $15,000 for fraudulent P-3 visas.

Forgery and Deception: Staged Photo Sessions and Fraudulent Documents

The conspirators, including Boyadjian, engaged in forgery and deception by acquiring fraudulent performer certificates.

Staged photo sessions were organized where individuals wore traditional Armenian folk outfits to create the appearance of genuine performers.

Armed with fraudulent documentation, the individuals, trained by Boyadjian, presented themselves during visa interviews at U.S. consular offices.

Extension of Fraudulent Scheme: Additional Fees for Visa Extensions and Overstays

Upon entry into the United States, some Armenians paid additional fees to Boyadjian and her associates to be included in further fraudulent petitions, seeking P-3 visa extensions.

Some individuals overstayed their visas, remaining in the US unlawfully.

Legal Consequences: Stella Boyadjian’s Guilty Plea and Sentencing

Stella Boyadjian previously pleaded guilty in March 2019 to charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States, commit visa fraud, and unlawfully bring aliens into the country.

The sentencing reflects her involvement in visa fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracies against the United States.

Government Response and Investigation: Collaborative Effort to Unravel the Conspiracy

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, and Director of the Diplomatic Security Service Carlos F.

Matus announced the sentencing. The case was diligently investigated by the Diplomatic Security Service’s Criminal Fraud Investigations and Overseas Criminal Investigations Divisions, with support from the USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security Center Fraud Detection Operations in Vermont.

Prosecution Details: Handling of the Case and Legal Proceedings

Deputy Chief Rami S. Badawy and Assistant U.S. Attorney John O. Enright played crucial roles in prosecuting the case, with Boyadjian facing the legal consequences of her orchestrated visa fraud and immigrant smuggling conspiracy.

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