A New York assemblywoman in her first term became the latest state lawmaker to be forced out of office as she pleaded guilty on Friday to two felonies in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
The assemblywoman, Gabriela Rosa of Manhattan, unlike some of her convicted colleagues, was not accused of bribery; she was undone by making false statements, including one concerning a fraudulent marriage that she admitted was part of an immigration scheme.
Ms. Rosa told Judge Denise Cote that she had gotten married some years ago to “regularize my immigration status.”
“I married this person and it was not a real marriage,” she said.
Prosecutors said that around 1996, Ms. Rosa, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, paid a United States citizen about $8,000 to enter into “a sham marriage” while she was in a relationship with a man she would later marry; she ended the sham marriage a few years later. In subsequent submissions to the immigration authorities, she falsely represented that her marriage had been bona fide, the government said.
Ms. Rosa pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements, to immigration authorities and in a bankruptcy proceeding. As part of her plea, Ms. Rosa agreed to resign from the Assembly, where she had represented the 72nd Assembly District, which includes Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill.
Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said that Ms. Rosa’s crimes “cut to the heart of her legal qualification to serve the people of the State of New York as a New York State assemblywoman.”
“She gained the ability to run for that office only as a result of a yearslong immigration fraud, and then she compounded her lack of fitness to serve by defrauding a federal bankruptcy court,” Mr. Bharara said.
Ms. Rosa also admitted that she had received $1,000 from a representative of a foreign government in connection with her election to the Assembly, a violation of the campaign finance laws, and she agreed to return the money, her plea agreement says.
Although she faces a maximum of 10 years in prison when sentenced on Oct. 3, the plea agreement says that both sides have agreed that the recommended guideline range is 12 to 18 months.