A Brooklyn couple is facing charges after prosecutors say they scammed Asian immigrants out of thousands of dollars in tuition money.
Patrick and Joanne Panettieri were arrested in Syracuse Friday.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office says the couple collected money from around 100 immigrant families for the upcoming semester.
The families thought they were signing their children up for English as a second language classes at one of three Sunset Park schools, but prosecutors say when kids showed up for class on August 13, they found all the doors locked and the schools empty.
"A week or two before, the schools shut down so abruptly, and mysteriously, flyers were distributed to the students and their parents offering discounts on tuition if it was paid in advance for the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014 terms," said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
"Some of the parents lost $100. Some parents lost $1,000, $2,000, depending on how many terms they paid for and how many children they enrolled," said Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Oh.
Investigators say the couple ran a similar scam back in 2002.
They have been charged with scheme to defraud, as well as multiple counts of grand and petty larceny.