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Stoughton police charge man with duping Brazilians

By Bob Sears And Jennifer Santos
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Sep 19, 2008 @ 10:01 AM

STOUGHTON -
Police have added to the list of allegations against a Stoughton man charged with swindling Brazilian immigrants.
Stoughton police say Joseph Edwards, 53, posed as an immigration official and took thousands of dollars from people looking to get green cards.
Edwards, a native of Portugal, was scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 1 in Stoughton District Court.
One man told police that he went to Edwards' house at 295 Sumner St. in Stoughton to see about getting a green card, and had to wait four hours because so many other people were in line ahead of him.
The man said Edwards wore a badge around his neck, indicating that he was an immigration official, police said.
A green card is a government document attesting that someone is eligible to live and work permanently in the United States.
Edwards also faces charges in Stoughton and Marlboro district courts stemming from an alleged scam his now defunct Stoughton export company ran on Brazilian immigrants. The company, Massachusetts Manhuacu Enterprise Corp., took money to mail packages to Brazil but never shipped them, investigators say.
Stoughton's acting police Chief Thomas Murphy credited his detectives with gaining the trust of immigrants - some of them here illegally - to crack the case. "This police department reached out and said, 'We understand what your fears may be, but you are victims of a crime and we are willing to work with you,'" Murphy said. "Our detectives developed a trust. The humane part of this story is that detectives worked with the population and exposed a scam," he said.
Stoughton Police Detective Arlindo Romeiro has been investigating Edwards and his company for months. He said that in several cases, Edwards promised to get people green cards for an $11,000 fee.
Romeiro said people began contacting police about the green card scheme after hearing of Edwards' arrest on the package-shipping scam.
Some boxes are stuck in ports in Brazil but have not been sent on to their destination because taxes are due, police said. Others never left Massachusetts.
In Stoughton, police found 113 boxes of undelivered goods in two different storage units rented by Edwards. Forty boxes have been returned to their owners, but many were opened and their owners could not be tracked down, Romeiro said. Stoughton Police still have about 70 boxes to be returned to their owners, he said.

http://www.patriotledger.com/news/c...on-cops-reach-out-to-immigrants-to-crack-case
 
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