At least 20 immigrants scammed, authorities say
Adela Holzer, once described by the New York Times as “Broadway’s hottest producer” before she was twice jailed for defrauding investors, was indicted Friday on charges of stealing more than $50,000 in an immigration scam, prosecutors said.Holzer, 73, claimed to have influential friends in Congress who would pass private immigration relief bills for her so immigrants could receive permanent U.S. residence. Prosecutors said she bilked unsuspecting immigrants out of more than $50,000. The indictment alleged that in October 1995, shortly after her release from prison, Holzer (using the name Adela Rosian) began telling immigrants she could use her connections in Congress to get special bills passed granting them permanent residency. The service required a fee of $2,000- $2,700. At least 20 immigrants were scammed, according to the indictment. Authorities shut down her operation on April 25. The investigation revealed the victims obtained receipts from Holzer and were warned the procedure would take up to a year. Some were asked to produce medical reports, photographs and other personal information, and many were told they would be traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet members of Congress who would be sponsoring their private bills. Claimed Thurmond ties Holzer claimed South Carolina Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond was among her friends. A search of Holzer’s apartment turned up letters allegedly from Thurmond’s office. When contacted by police, Thurmond staffers claimed to have no knowledge of her. Holzer is charged with two counts of fraud and four counts of grand larceny and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. She was being held pending a hearing next week. Holzer was first arrested in 1977 in a so-called Ponzi scheme that lured investors into phony auto dealerships in Indonesia and bogus real estate in Spain with promises of big profits. She was convicted of grand larceny and imprisoned. Hits in her past Two years earlier, she was the toast of Broadway with a pair of hits, “The Ritz” and “All Over Town.” Previously, Holzer had invested in “Lenny” and the seminal 1960s musical “Hair” — which she claimed netted her $2 million. In 1989, she pleaded guilty to stealing more than $400,000 in a con promising investors 100% returns on their investments in 90 days in deals involving precious metals, oil and gold. Officials said she may have bilked 26 investors out of as much as $4 million.