ESL teacher pleads guilty to stealing $42K from students with promise of green cards

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NEW YORK — A Manhattan teacher has pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from her students with the false promise of getting them green cards.

Jenetta Ferguson, 59, who taught English as a second language, approached several students saying she could get them Green Cards.

Ferguson had the students give her cash payments of $8,500 to $10,500 per person between March and Sept. 2014.

She admitted to stealing more than $42,000 from at least six victims who were staying in the United States on student visas. The students had come from Italy, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines. No applications were ever filed on behalf of the victims.

In some instances, Ferguson discouraged the students from renewing their visas.

“All New Yorkers—regardless of national origin or immigration status—deserve protection from those who prey upon their unfamiliarity with a new language and a complex legal system,” said District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance. “In this case, the defendant took advantage of her position as a teacher of English as a Second Language to mislead her foreign students into believing that she could provide them with Green Cards—for a fee.”

Ferguson was convicted of four counts of grand larceny in the third degree and two counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree.

She will be sentenced on March 7.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a similar crime is urged to call the office’s Immigration Affairs Hotline at 212-335-3600.