In another instance of immigration fraud unearthed in the US, a woman has been found guilty of scamming immigrants seeking US citizenship.
A 56-year old woman from New Jersey – Ana Molina – has pleaded guilty to various counts involving immigration fraud.
Posing as a lawyer and a paralegal, Molina would scam money out of unsuspecting immigrants trying to acquire US citizenship or looking to stay longer.
Molina ran an immigration services company located on Castor Avenue in Philadelphia. The company was registered as Ana Molina & Associates.
Molina would ask clients to pay her USD 1,500 towards registration for permanent residency. She would also charge around USD 500 for providing a ‘sponsor’ for the applicants requiring one.
A sponsor for US citizenship is a US citizen with enough money for ensuring that the applicant would not be collecting benefits from the federal government.
As per the court papers and prosecutors, Molina would use the bank statements and tax returns of former clients and put them down as sponsors. This was done without the knowledge of the person whose bank statements and tax returns were misused in this way.
With the details of the sponsors provided for, Molina would then prepare and mail the application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Chicago office.
In a News Release, the First Assistant US Attorney for Pennsylvania, Jennifer Arbitter Williams, said that the defendant, Molina, would take “advantage of people trying to do the right thing” by seeking a lawful status in the US.
The victims of this immigration fraud were either pursuing US permanent residency or trying to become US citizens by naturalization. The fraudulent applications were filed in the period between February 2015 and November 2018.
Molina pleaded guilty to 7 counts of mail fraud and 7 counts of aggravated identity theft. She agreed to pay USD 11,000 as compensation to her victims.
Molina faces a minimum of 2 years’ term in a federal prison when the sentence is scheduled to be awarded on April 30.
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