Many immigrants to the United States seek assistance with legal citizenship through family connections or through jobs. If eligibility requirements are met, immigrants have to obtain an approved visa petition from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filed by a sponsor, such as a family member, who is already a U.S. citizen or an employer. In job-related situations, employers usually complete a labor certification request, which gets filed with the Department of Labor. In some cases, immigrants request assistance with legal immigration from “Immigration Consultants.” Unfortunately, the Inquirer Global Nation profiles a so-called “immigration consultant” from San Jose, who reportedly duped many foreign nationals by charging thousands of dollars to file labor certification applications, while knowing her clients did not qualify for lawful permanent residence.
The story states that the 66-year-old Filipina ran her consulting business in San Jose over an 18-year period. During that time, she coached foreigners, many of whom were Filipinos, on how to apply for labor certification from the Department of Labor to become legal permanent residents. The charge for this service was nearly $6,000 per client. But, she neglected to inform her clients that they were ineligible for permanent residence under existing immigration regulations. She also encouraged her victims to overstay the time allotted under their tourist visas to work illegally in residential healthcare facilities. (A fraudster and a bad influence.) Trial evidence showed that for approximately three years, the fraudster pocketed more than $3 million in payments from her consulting services. (Not a bad business – until she was caught.)
Following a 13-day trial, the woman was convicted of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration fraud for private financial gain and mail fraud. She faces up to 90 years in prison, fines of $500,000 and restitution.
These victims trusted this fraudster to help them live out the “American Dream.” They were trying to follow the rules for legal residence, yet they were victimized by someone who knew she could profit off of their lack of knowledge and experience. America is a nation of immigrants and is strong because of its diverse heritage. This case proves that anyone who tries to corrupt our country’s legal immigration system will have to pay the consequences for their actions.