‘Pastors' Charged in Immigrant Visa Scam

Most of the victims are of Ecuadorian descent

Two Queens men who operated a storefront church in Corona were charged Thursday with defrauding at least 70 immigrants of more than $500,000 by promising to expedite their visa and permanent status requests.

Most of the victims are of Ecuadorian descent, Queens officials said.

"The defendants are accused of being con men who preyed upon the faithful of their church to unscrupulously exploit individuals new to this country – and who were in need of assistance – to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
The defendants were identified as Gregorio Gonzalez, 56, his sister, Maria Gonzalez, 52, and Gerardo Bello, 21. 

They were charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property for pledging to help the immigrants gain legal status in the United States.

Contact Us