June 27, 2014 / 10:35 PM / 5 years ago

N.Y. lawmaker pleads guilty to immigration, bankruptcy fraud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York state assemblywoman pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court to entering into a sham marriage to secure U.S. citizenship and lying about her assets when filing for bankruptcy.

Gabriela Rosa, 47, who represents a district in northern Manhattan, also agreed to resign from the state legislature, the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

After her plea, Rosa, who was in her first term after her election in 2012, emphasized that the misconduct in question occurred years before her service as a lawmaker.

“I am proud of my role as an assemblywoman,” Rosa told reporters outside federal court in Manhattan.

Rosa is the latest state legislator to lose her position as a result of criminal prosecution, though most of the other cases stemmed from bribery allegations.

Prosecutors said Rosa paid a U.S. citizen $8,000 to marry her in the 1990s in order to secure legal status and lied to immigration authorities about the true nature of the relationship.

A Dominican Republic native, Rosa became a citizen in 2005. Only U.S. citizens can serve as New York state legislators.

In 2009, prosecutors said, Rosa filed for bankruptcy but failed to disclose an apartment she owned, as well as outside income she received as a political consultant and income earned by her second husband.

“Gabriela 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,” Bharara said in a statement.

Rosa is scheduled to be sentenced in October and faces up to 10 years in prison.

In January, a jury found former Democratic Assemblyman Eric Stevenson guilty of bribery and other charges. He was sentenced in May to three years in prison. In March, former Democratic Assemblyman William Boyland was convicted of bribery.

Earlier this month, a federal judge declared a mistrial in the case against Democratic State Sen. Malcolm Smith, who is accused of trying to bribe his way onto the Republican ticket in 2013 for mayor of New York City. His retrial is set for January.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Dan Grebler

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