New Jersey Man Admits to Scamming Nuns
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 22, 2013|
PHILADELPHIA—Adriano Sotomayor, 54, of Margate, New Jersey, pleaded guilty late today to 17 counts of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud members of the Dominican Sisters of the Rosary of Fatima (“Sisters of Fatima”) and others between May 2009 and February 2012. Sotomayor was captured by the FBI Fugitive Squad in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 27, 2012. He went on the run November 16, 2011, one day after he was indicted.
The defendant launched his scheme by causing an elderly nun to believe that she had been named in a will as the beneficiary of an estate estimated at approximately $2.1 million. In order to lure the elderly nun into this scheme, the defendant caused his victim to believe that the man who notified her about the will was a Catholic priest from New Jersey, and the testator was one of his parishioners. Sotomayor fraudulently induced the elderly nun to begin sending money to him in Atlantic City, New Jersey, by telling her that she needed to pay taxes, processing fees, and various legal fees associated with the fictitious will. He went on to target other victims in Levittown and Philadelphia who initially sent money to him on the elderly nun’s behalf. Sotomayor caused at least 50 victims to send a total of at least $1.3 million from Pennsylvania and elsewhere to him in New Jersey over a two-year period. The defendant received wire transfers at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, the Showboat Hotel and Casino, and Bally’s Park Place, among other places.
U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo C. Robreno scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 12, 2013. Sotomayor faces a possible advisory sentencing guideline range of 70 to 188 months in prison.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen M. Klotz.